Football / Non-League Notebook: Dorking making plans for Shilton

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The Independent Online
THERE WERE scenes of great celebration at Meadowbank, Dorking, on Tuesday night after the Diadora League club had completed a surprise 2-0 victory over Farnborough Town to reach the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history. Now the team from the smart Surrey town - not normally a focus of football fever - are preparing to entertain Peter Shilton's Plymouth Argyle next month, if they can secure approval to stage the tie at their compact little ground.

Dorking may be the leaders of the Diadora First Division, with only one League defeat all season, but few expected them to overcome Farnborough, a talented GM Vauxhall Conference side who put up two tremendous performances at Upton Park before losing to West Ham in last season's third round.

A third-minute goal from Simon Read seemed to put the Hampshire club in charge of the fourth qualifying round tie at their John Roberts Ground last weekend. However, a headed equaliser on the hour from Graham Marriner earned Dorking a replay, which attracted an enthusiastic crowd of 1,207 to Meadowbank on Tuesday. Goals in each half from Carey Anderson and Steve Lunn sent most of them home happy.

Dorking fully deserved their success on a sodden, muddy pitch to which they adapted far better than the ball players of Farnborough. A wider victory margin would not have flattered the Surrey side, who have several players with experience of FA Cup shocks. Four seasons ago Matt Hanlan and Tony Rains scored the goals which sent Coventry City crashing out of the Cup at Sutton United. Both men now play for Dorking, although Rains (whose brother, John, is the team manager) was absent injured on Tuesday. Marriner, a fine defender, was in the Bognor Regis side that beat Plymouth's Devon rivals, Exeter, in the same season.

Although Tuesday's gate appeared to stretch the facilities at Meadowbank to their limit, Dorking are hoping to be able to entertain Argyle there. 'We owe it to our fans to play the game in Dorking,' Derek Plumridge, Dorking's secretary, said. 'However, we know we have a lot to do, like arrange crowd segregation and provide things like portable toilets and extra food outlets.

'At present the police are raising no objections to the game taking place here. A lot depends on the crowd limit they set - if it's too low we won't be able to cover the costs of the extra work without over- charging our fans. We are considering playing the tie on the Sunday, when the town-centre car parks should be empty.'

Wherever and whenever the game is played, Dorking, known as the Chicks, are in a chirpy mood. 'We've got to be confident, especially if we can get them at Dorking,' Plumridge said. 'Our lads are looking forward to putting a couple past Shilton - if he has the courage to play]'

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