Notts County vs Dorking: National League title challengers look to close the gap at the top

Notts County host Dorking on Saturday afternoon looking to follow the pace of Wrexham at the top of the National League.

The Magpies are four points behind the leaders, who won 4-0 at Dagenham and Redbridge in midweek, but that gap could be extended to seven points if Wrexham beat Southend tomorrow.

With County kicking off at 5:20pm live on BT Sport, the pressure will be on them to take all three points.

Can the county bounce back after losing points?

It was a sickening day for Notts County fans last time out at Meadow Lane as Dagenham produced an upset strike to win 2-1 in front of the BT Sport cameras.

After that disappointment, the Magpies were only able to equalize at Bromley, although Macaulay Langstaff avoided back-to-back defeats with a stoppage-time equalizer.

Still, wins are essential given the pace at the top of the division and County need an answer this weekend.

Nothing short of a convincing win will be in expectation against a Dorking side battling on the wrong side of the division and leaking goals at an alarming rate.

If Wrexham’s game against Southend doesn’t survive the weather, County can close the gap at the top to one point. That should be motivation enough for title contenders.

Coach Luke Williams has a high level and will undoubtedly demand a performance and result to match.

Dorking will do double?

Strangely, Dorking are one of only two teams to have beaten Notts County in the National League this season.

In September, two late goals from James McShane handed the Surrey team a 3–1 victory, despite a back-to-the-wall performance against their far more fancied opponents.

The artificial pitch could have contributed to that surprising result and Dorking will not have that advantage this time.

Their away form isn’t too promising reading either: Marc White’s side have lost their last six away games, scoring just twice and conceding 15 goals.

But the eccentric manager and owner will tackle the trip to Meadow Lane fearlessly.

“We know we shouldn’t disrespect things that they do well, but we know what we’re going to try to upset,” White said. “We’re going to try to mess with them defensively, that’s right.

“They don’t have to defend a lot. If we win 7-0, people can say ‘Marc, that didn’t work’, but we’ll see.”

Can the worst defense in the league keep out the most powerful forward in the league?

Dorking’s cocky approach is admirable, but a goals-against record of 78 in 35 games is a concern.

Notts County will gloat over the prospect of breaking through a back line that has been violated far too often throughout the season.

White will point to some improvements of late: Dorking beat playoff hopefuls Barnet 2-1 last time out and kept a clean sheet against Halifax last weekend. Prior to that, a 1-0 defeat to Boreham Wood and a 3-1 defeat at Wrexham turned out to be closer games than many expected.

However, keeping things in order at Meadow Lane is a much more difficult task, and the visitors will have to work hard to avoid a heavy defeat.

Langstaff made 33 goals in 35 appearances with his strike at Bromley last weekend and will be on the hunt for more on Saturday.

With Paul Mullin scoring 29 goals and games to go, the County striker will see this as an opportunity to move closer to the Golden Boot while increasing his team’s chances of automatic promotion.


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