Dorking Wanderers 0 FC Halifax Town 0
Vanarama National League
March 4th 2023
Dorking kept a clean sheet for the first time in the league since late November after contesting a goalless draw with FC Halifax Town at Meadowbank.
A man of the match display from Dan Lincoln kept Wanderers in the game, particularly during a first half where the visiting side were on top, but the introduction of Luke Moore and Harry Ottaway after half-time and a more direct approach enabled Wanderers to come back into the game through the course of the second forty-five, but ultimately neither side could find a way to break the deadlock.
Marc White made one change to the team which started Tuesday's game against Boreham Wood; Bobby-Joe Taylor coming in for Seb Bowerman, who picked up a hamstring injury during the second half of the game at Meadow Park. For Jason Prior, today's game would be a second home debut for the striker after re-signing with the club last month.
Dan Gallagher spurned a golden chance to open the scoring on two minutes, heading over the bar from six yards out after a Josh Taylor long throw was not initially cleared by the Halifax back-line. Taylor's long throw's would continue to be Wanderers main attacking weapon throughout the first half, in open play the pressing in central midfield and direct running of Angelo Cappello and Millenic Alli gradually pushed Wanderers back, and the home side would force Lincoln into a series of top class saves around the midway point of the half.
Wanderers had been let off the hook earlier on after a loose pass in midfield was gathered by Fidel O'Rourke and he released Harvey Gilmour through on goal, but the midfielder's low effort was diverted beyond the far post well by Lincoln. A persistent spell of pressure around the Wanderers box would conclude in Alli's low effort being turned round the post with a one-armed save by the stopper, before the goalkeeper produced an outstanding reaction save to deny Adam Senior at point blank range, swinging an arm and clawing the defender's deft effort away from the top left corner of goal.
Shortly before the break Craig would go close for Wanderers, catching a volley sweetly from the edge of the box and forcing Sam Johnson into a low save, his opposite number Lincoln again called into action immediately afterwards, tipping Cappello's fierce strike from the right over the bar.
Marc White made a double substitution at the break to try and change the dynamics of his side; Luke Moore and Harry Ottaway both coming off the bench to replace James McShane and Ryan Seager.
It was The Shaymen who started brighter after the restart however, the lively Alli firing straight down Lincoln before he turned provider moments later, capitalising on Philpot's heavy touch inside and sliding O'Rourke through on goal, the Liverpool loanee denied by a superb tip round the post from Lincoln. On the hour mark the striker would go very close again, catching a volley as the ball bounced on the far side of the box and scraping the top of the crossbar.
Wanderers had seen more of the ball despite Chris Millington's side continuing to carve out decent chances in the final third, but into the last quarter of the game the hustling from Gallagher and Moore in the middle of the park and hold up play of Prior and Ottaway started to really give Wanderers a foothold and start pushing in the top end of the field; Bobby-Joe Taylor's strike from the edge of the box closed down to a chorus of appeals for handball, referee Jason Richardson not interested, before Moore would attempt a couple of volley's from the edge of the box after the ball could only be half cleared, one of the attempts just skimming the roof of goal. Josh Taylor's long throw in's continued to pose a threat, Moore again trying his luck from distance before Ottaway trapped the ball, turned and tried to dig out a strike from range, the shot was rising though and drifted over the bar.
Through five minutes of stoppage time, neither side could make a breakthrough and the spoils were shared, Wanderers first draw in the league since late December moving them up a place to 19th in the table on 34 points, 2 clear of the drop having played a game more, Halifax meanwhile consolidate 16th spot with 41 points.
It's a swift return to league action for Wanderers as Barnet make the trip down from North London to Meadowbank this Tuesday in a 19:45pm kick off.
Dorking Wanderers (3-5-2): 1 Dan Lincoln, 2 Isaac Philpot, 27 Tony Craig, 12 Calum Kennedy (22 Barry Fuller 88'); 7 Jimmy Muitt, 20 Dan Gallagher, 17 Josh Taylor, 11 James McShane (c) (18 Luke Moore 46'), 3 Bobby-Joe Taylor; 19 Jason Prior, 9 Ryan Seager (24 Harry Ottaway 46')
Unused Subs: 29 Alfie Egan, 33 Joe Cook
Yellow Cards: M. White 38', Gallagher 62', Moore 63', Fuller 90+1'
FC Halifax Town (3-5-2): 1 Sam Johnson, 27 Adam Senior, 5 Jesse Debrah, 6 Jamie Stott; 2 Taylor Golden, 14 Jack Hunter (4 Luke Summerfield 66'), 20 Harvey Gilmour, 21 Millenic Alli, 18 Angelo Cappello (9 Emmanuel Dieseruvwe 80'); 19 Jamie Cooke (10 Matty Warburton 71'), 29 Fidel O'Rourke
Unused Subs: 17 Rob Harker, 22 Festus Arthur
Yellow Cards: Hunter 42', Gilmour 60', Warburton 89'
Referee: Jason Richardson
Sponsor Man Of The Match: Dan Lincoln