Fleet’s first ever trip to Dorking ended in defeat as the home side’s first-half clinical finishing did the damage.
A second goal on the stroke of half-time gave the visitors a mountain to climb after the break and though Fleet had the bulk of the game in the second half, they couldn’t register on the scoresheet.
There were three changes for the Fleet, two of those enforced with Charlie Rowan and Reece Grant replacing the injured Jake Goodman and Lee Martin, while Adam Mekki came in for Michael West.
Dorking were without leading scorer Jason Prior but Luke Moore and Kane Wills, once of the Fleet, started. The home side began brightly, earning three corners quickly and then seeing Matthew Briggs’ break and shot fly just wide.
Down the left, Niall McManus cut inside to deliver a shot blocked for a fourth corner by Tobi Adebayo-Rowling. But it was Fleet who had the best chance of breaking the deadlock on 13 minutes when Barry Fuller allowed a ball to slip through into the path of Rakish Bingham. He squared it to the incoming Grant but his shot was at Sam Howes in the Dorking goal.
Ben Chapman then sent a shot over the bar after Mekki had done well to keep possession around the edge of the home box but it was Dorking who took the lead on 22 minutes. Alfie Rutherford got room to attack down the left flank. He was into the box before cutting a delivery back across goal. It escaped the attentions of the Fleet back line and ran clear to Briggs who was able to strike it home.
Fleet’s attempts to respond saw a great cross from Adebayo-Rowling slam into the Dorking area but there was no white shirt able to capitalise. Mekki had a couple of efforts off target before Bobby-Joe Taylor’s pass found Bingham who turned and found the goal but with Howes in the way.
James McShane and Moore fired ambitious efforts over the bar for Dorking while substitute Will Wood, on for Josh Payne, concluded a powerful run with a shot at Howes.
Howes thwarted Grant after the Fleet striker had done well to dig the ball out from two defenders and although his shot was only parried, Dorking cleared it.
It was a chance Fleet were to rue on the stroke of half-time. They got away with Holmes’ throw out to McShane who slid an effort just past the post. But as Dorking came forward once more seconds later, a high delivery from the right was met by Rowan in an attempt to clear but his header succeeded only in looping the ball over Holmes and in.
Fleet tried to up the tempo at the beginning of the second half and Taylor’s strong run in the opening minute saw him slide a pass wide to the right wing. Adebayo-Rowling sent a good curling effort across goal but past the upright.
Mekki fired another high on 50 minutes from a central position after Fleet had played some one-touch stuff in the build-up. The former Bromley man set up Fleet’s best chance six minutes later, however, driving in from the left and finding Wood lurking on the penalty spot. But there was no luck for the Fleet with the substitute’s shot crashing back off the bar.
Fleet enjoyed the bulk of possession but nothing quite fell for the front men and James Dobson replaced Rowan with 25 minutes left, Chapman slotting in at centre-back for the second game in succession.
Dorking didn’t hit forward gear much in the second-half though Briggs was on the end of a 78th minute counterattack that had the Fleet defence back-pedalling.
Fleet’s final efforts amounted to a Dobson header over and a Mekki effort caught by Howes and though they continued to plug away at the Dorking back line, it was to no avail as the home side held on to their clean sheet and three points.
EUFC: Holmes, Adebayo-Rowling, Taylor, Kahraman, Rowan (Dobson 64), Payne (Wood 36), Chapman, Paxman, Mekki, Grant (Egan 79), Bingham. Subs not used: West, Hadler
DWFC: Howes, Harris (El-Abd 54), McManus, Briggs, Kennedy (Beard 82), Fuller, Wills, Fogden, Moore, McShane, Rutherford (Gallagher 54). Subs: Muitt, Dyett.