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Notts County vs Dorking Wanderers: National League title challengers look to close gap to leaders Wrexham at the top
The National League title race continues as second-placed Notts County take on lowly Dorking in the late kick-off.
Notts County host Dorking on Saturday afternoon looking to keep pace with 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 County bounce back after dropping points?
It was a sickening day for Notts County fans last time out at Meadow Lane as Dagenham produced an unlikely smash and grab to win 2-1 in front of the BT Sport cameras.
After that disappointment, the Magpies could only draw at Bromley, though Macaulay Langstaff did prevent back-to-back defeats with an injury-time equaliser.
Still, wins are essential given the pace at the top of the division and County are in need of a response this weekend.
Nothing but a convincing win will be the expectation against a Dorking side struggling at the wrong end 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 the title hopefuls.
Manager Luke Williams has high standards and he will undoubtedly be demanding a performance and a result to match it.
Will Dorking do the double?
Strangely, Dorking are one of only two teams to have beaten Notts County in the National League this season.
Back in September, two late goals from James McShane gave the Surrey side a 3-1 win, despite a backs-to-the-wall performance against their far more fancied opponents.
The artificial pitch might have contributed to that shock result and Dorking will have no such advantage this time.
Their away form doesn’t make for overly promising reading either: Marc White’s team have lost their last six games on the road, scoring just twice and conceding 15 goals.
But the eccentric manager and owner will approach the trip to Meadow Lane without fear.
“We know not to disrespect the things they do well, but we know what we’re going to try and pick on,” White said. “We’re going to try and pick on them defensively, that’s how it is.
“They don’t have to defend a lot. If we get beat 7-0, people can say ‘Marc, that didn’t work’, but we’ll see.”
Can the league’s worst defence keep out the league’s most potent striker?
Dorking’s cavalier approach is admirable but a goals against record of 78 from 35 games is a concern.
Notts County will be licking their lips at the possibility of cutting through a backline that has been breached far too often throughout the season.
White will point to some improvement of late: Dorking beat playoff hopefuls Barnet 2-1 last time out and kept a clean sheet against Halifax last weekend. Before that, a 1-0 defeat to Boreham Wood and 3-1 loss at Wrexham proved closer games than many expected.
Keeping things tight at Meadow Lane is an altogether more difficult task, though, and the visitors will have their work cut out to avoid a heavy defeat.
Langstaff made it 33 goals from 35 appearances with his goal at Bromley last weekend and he’ll be on the hunt for more on Saturday.
With Paul Mullin on 29 goals and games running out, the County striker will see this as an opportunity to move closer towards the Golden Boot, and simultaneously boost his side’s chances of automatic promotion.