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Match Reports

Notts 0-0 Dover

Tight affair ends goalless

18 January 2020

We extended our unbeaten run in all competitions to nine matches with a goalless draw against Dover.

Chances were hard to come by throughout the afternoon but we did create the best of them, with visiting keeper Lee Worgan making fine saves to foil Wes Thomas and Kyle Wootton, and Enzio Boldewijn hit the post with a last-gasp free-kick. 

Conversely, Sam Slocombe had a quiet afternoon in our goal as we took a point from one of the division's best away sides. 

After ringing the changes for the victory against Dagenham in the Buildbase FA Trophy seven days ago, Neal Ardley reverted to the side that beat Bromley in our last league game a week earlier.

That meant a back four of Richard Brindley, Connell Rawlinson, Alex Lacey and Damien McCrory shielded Slocombe's goal.

Skipper Michael Doyle was joined in the heart of midfield by Mitch Rose, with Sam Osborne and Boldewijn on the wings and looking to provide for striking duo Thomas and Wootton, who made his first start since signing permanently from Scunthorpe.

We made a bright start to proceedings, winning a pair of corners inside the opening 90 seconds and Boldewijn and Thomas both had half-chances but struggled to make clean connections with crosses into the Dover area.

The fast opening eased somewhat and there was little to report until the 19th minute, when Osborne battled for possession 30 yards from goal and shot right-footed, but his effort took a huge deflection and keeper Worgan was able to comfortably claim the ball. 

Doyle's quickly-taken free-kick sent Thomas in behind on 25 minutes but Will De Havilland recovered to block the striker's shot and got his body in the way of the subsequent cross, too.

Shortly after the half-hour, Dover showed their threat for the first time during the afternoon as they sustained an attack that kept us pinned back in our own box. The best they could muster was Inih Effiong having a shot well blocked by Doyle on the edge of the area, though.

After weathering the brief storm, we resumed our pursuit of the opener and Osborne showed neat feet to work space for a cross intended for Boldewijn. The Dutchman looked set to meet the delivery but Whites debutant Shadrach Ogie used his body well to stop the wide man connecting. 

The best opportunity of the first half came with just four minutes until the interval, when a lovely dinked ball from Osborne released Thomas in the area. He set it back for Boldewijn, who struck low at goal and Worgan managed to divert the ball to the relative safety of the six-yard box. Wootton was there, though, and snuffed out an attempted clearance to force the keeper into a fine diving save to keep us from breaking the deadlock.

One minute of stoppage time passed by without incident before Ardley had the chance to give fresh instructions to his charges, who, like Dover, returned to the field unchanged after the interval.

The visitors may not have altered their personnel but their mentality seemed to have changed, and they came out with more intensity - Ogie curling an effort wide from the edge of the box after a prolonged spell of pressure.

But on 51 minutes, we could - and perhaps should - have taken the lead. Doyle had been looking to get Thomas in behind all afternoon and this time the striker beat the offside trap to latch onto the Irishman's through ball. He bore down on goal and fired low across Worgan, but the keeper got a right hand to the shot and pushed it to safety.

As they sprung a counter after we committed men to a sustained attack, Dover had their best opening on 59 minutes, when Effiong burst forwards and had McCrory backpedalling. He looked to finish with his left foot from the edge of the area but blazed high and wide.

Rose was booked for a cynical challenge on Ogie on halfway before openings came and went at both ends with 66 played.

Doyle released Osborne to surge down the right wing and he had Thomas to pick out in the middle but his cross lacked power and was diverted clear. That allowed Dover to break and Effiong got the better of Lacey before crossing for Bobby-Joe Taylor, but he miscued his volley.

A free-kick was cleared as far as Oscar Gobern to volley narrowly wide of Slocombe's right-hand post and, before play resumed, Kristian Dennis replaced Thomas for the final 21 minutes. 

The forward was quickly thrust into the action as McCrory picked him out with a cross that he could only head wide. 

Doyle was booked for a challenge on Michael Woods as the game moved into the final quarter of an hour, and Slocombe had to be alert to push Taylor's resultant free-kick over the bar.

Osborne made way as Nathan Tyson was introduced with 10 to play and he combined well with Rose to create a crossing opportunity on 84 minutes. The ball was put behind for a corner, which was met by Lacey but the defender couldn't generate enough power to trouble Worgan.

The substitute then almost turned provider for Wootton, when his cross from the left picked out the big forward but he couldn't keep his header down.

Dover substitute Ade Yusuff was presented with a great opening on 88 minutes when Woods took the ball from Rose inside our half. It was played to the Whites forward, who looked set to apply the finish but Lacey made an excellent block.

An additional six minutes wre indicated by the fourth official, but half of that passed with Ricky Modeste receiving treatment before eventually being subsituted for Dover.

The visitors had been happy to take their time throughout the second period, seemingly content to leave Meadow Lane with a point.

But we almost nicked all three at the death.

Rose was fouled just outside the box and we were into the 100th minute as Boldewijn stood over the ball. He struck underneath the wall and Worgan was beaten, but his effort came back off the post in the last action of the afternoon. 


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