Hawks spectacularly collapse to record-breaking 8-0 National League South defeat at Dorking

Hawks spectacularly collapsed to the heaviest defeat in the club’s 23-year history - and two of their former strikers played a major role on an afternoon of almost non-stop agony for boss Paul Doswell.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 26th December 2021, 8:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 26th December 2021, 8:07 pm
Dorking's Alfie Rutherford celebrates in front of the Hawks fans after scoring his third goal in Dorking's sensational 8-0 victory. Picture: Dave Haines
Dorking's Alfie Rutherford celebrates in front of the Hawks fans after scoring his third goal in Dorking's sensational 8-0 victory. Picture: Dave Haines

Alfie Rutherford fired a first half hat-trick as Dorking Wanderers romped to a spectacular 8-0 victory in front of a record Meadowbank Stadium crowd of around 1,500.

Jason Prior also netted twice - his first league goals of the season - as Hawks’ fine away National League South record took a sensational pounding in Surrey.

Since Hawks were formed in 1998, never had they conceded more than six goals in a league fixture. They crashed 6-2 at Fylde in a National League game in February 2019 and, prior to today, their highest margin of league defeat had been a 6-0 NL South thumping at St Albans in April 2016.

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Joe Oastler and Jamie Collins after Hawks concede again in the second half at Dorking. Picture: Dave Haines

The heaviest defeat in the club’s competitive history, before today, had been a 7-0 FA Cup thrashing at Ebbsfleet in October 2016. Even in friendlies, the highest defeat suffered had been 7-0 – by Spaniards Real Betis in 2011.

Prior had started the Ebbsfleet FA Cup tie for Hawks while Rutherford came off the bench on 62 minutes.

Hawks had been reduced to 10 men just before half-time when Lee Molyneaux was red carded for a foul which allowed Danny Kedwell to make it 3-0.

It was a similar tale at Dorking, but this time the sending off came even earlier - after just five minutes.

Will Mannion and Josh Passley can't stop Niall MacManus from making it 3-0. Picture: Dave Haines

Paul Rooney was dismissed by referee Aji Ajibola for a shove on Rutherford as he prepared to shoot.

Rooney had been attempting to atone for his mistake in allowing the former Westleigh Park favourite to get goalside of him and run clear.

Had Rooney committed a foul by sliding in, he would still have given away a penalty. But, by having attempted to play the ball, almost certainly he would have escaped a red.

As it was, he made no attempt to play the ball and can have no complaints about being dismissed for the second time in a few weeks - having seen red in similar circumstances in the FA Trophy loss at Slough.

Dorking's Alfie Rutherford gets pushed by Hawks defender Paul Rooney, who will be sent off for the foul. Picture: Dave Haines

Prior converted the resultant penalty and Dorking were 2-0 up inside six minutes against 10 men. Game, effectively, over.

Rutherford had entered the game as the most in-form striker in the division with 10 goals in his last nine league and cup outings.

That purple patch included a hat-trick in Dorking’s previous league game, a 4-2 win at joint-leaders Oxford City.

Rutherford had required less than three minutes to embark on a second successive NL South triple - being left unmarked in the area to head over keeper Will Mannion, who was off his line.

Dorking's Alfie Rutherford (centre) heads the first of his three goals. Picture: Dave Haines

Though midfielder Jake McCarthy was quickly moved back into central defence alongside skipper Joe Oastler following Rooney’s departure, Hawks brought player-coach Jamie Collins on after just 10 minutes.

James Roberts, who had been recalled to the starting XI in a front three with Tommy Wright and Scott Rendell, was the man sacrificed with Collins partnering Oastler.

It quickly became obvious, though, that this would have to be an afternoon of damage limitation for Hawks, who had entered the game boasting the best away record in the division – six wins (including the last four in a row).

The question was this: Could Hawks keep the score down to a respectable figure? The answer was clear by 36 minutes - not in the slightest.

By then, Rutherford had taken advantage of some woeful defending to help Wanderers into a barely believable 5-0 advantage. Though the visitors were a man down, that was only partial mitigation for the stunning scoreline.

On 20 minutes Rutherford got away down the right side, advanced into the 18-yard box and unselfishly set up Niall MacManus to stroke home from close range.

Dorking celebrate one of their five first half goals. Picture: Dave Haines

Right winger Matt Briggs - linked with Pompey a few years ago - produced the cross from which Rutherford, on the edge of the six-yard box in the centre of the goal, was unmarked to head in his second to make it 4-0 on 24 minutes.

There was no let-up in the misery that was being piled on Hawks and Rutherford completed his hat-trick after outmuscling Oastler to win possession, when the defender had looked favourite to get the ball, and drilling a low shot under Mannion.

It was Rutherford’s 12th league goal of the season - only two players have scored more - and he now has 17 in all competitions.

At the other end, Hawks - no doubt stunned by events in their own penalty area - had offered very little apart from a 30-yard Jake Andrews free-kick that Dan Lincoln dived to push away for a corner.

The only thing missing for Dorking in the first half was a goal for their third ex-Hawk, midfielder Josh Taylor. He twice went close, though, with efforts that were deflected for corners as the half-time whistle - mercifully from Hawks’ point of view - approached.

Dorking could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the pedal in the second 45 minutes with the three points already safely pouched. But no. They continued on the front foot, happy to spray the ball around at the back before trying to find the gaps that still existed in Hawks’ overworked defence. Credit to Marc White’s men, therefore, for a true demolition job

Mannion produced a fine near post save to deny Prior after a low cross from overlapping right-back Barry Fuller.

But Prior - like Rutherford, a former Moneyfields striker - wasn’t to be denied for long and grabbed his second just before the hour mark after being left a tap in after more unselfish work from Rutherford.

The latter departed to an unsurprisingly loud ovation on 61 minutes, to be replaced by Jimmy Muitt. Prior went off as well 12 minutes later, with Luke Moore coming on. But if Hawks thought that was the end of Dorking’s goal spree, they were wrong. Very wrong.

Nick Wheeler warmed Mannion’s hands with a fierce shot and Taylor finished off a 20-yard run with a shot from the edge of the penalty box that was just wide.

Muitt should have made it 7-0 on 79 minutes, but after finding himself one on one with Mannion sidefooted a low shot against the outside of a post.

No matter. Shortly after that let off, Dorking did manage a seventh when Wright was guilty of losing possession and Moore advanced into the penalty area to set up Briggs for a close range finish.

Hawks’ humiliation was completed in the 82nd minute when Muitt was left unmarked to head a left wing cross past Mannion from close range.

As mist drifted over the ground, McCarthy fired wide and sub Abdulai Baggie saw a shot deflected for a corner.

But there was to be no consolation on a record-breaking afternoon of total embarrassment for the visitors.

Hawks now host Hemel on Tuesday (3pm) before another Westleigh Park outing next Sunday … against none other than Dorking Wanderers!

Dorking: Lincoln, Fuller, Cheadle, Gallagher (El-Abd, 38), Oldaker, Briggs, Taylor, MacManus, Wheeler, Prior (Moore, 73), Rutherford (Muitt, 61)

Hawks: Mannion, Passley, Newton, Oastler, Rooney, Gobern, McCarthy, Andrews (Baggie, 54), Roberts (Collins, 10), Wright, Rendell (Wall, 60).

Hawks' Oscar Gobern on the ball. Picture: Dave Haines