George sees red as Alty edge closer to the play-offs

Words John Edwards | Picture Jonathan Moore

Dorking Wanderers 0 Altrincham 0

ALTRINCHAM added a precious point to their push for a play-off place, but it came at a cost after George Wilson was controversially sent off in added time at the Meadowbank Stadium this afternoon.

Referee Alan Dale had already incurred the wrath of Alty players and officials with some debatable decisions, and they were up in arms again in the third minute of stoppage time when he delayed the taking of a Dorking free-kick 25 yards from goal and marched into the area to show Wilson a straight red card.

The nature of the alleged offence wasn't immediately clear, but if it was deemed to be violent conduct, Alty will be without their central midfielder for both their remaining games, a setback made all the more significant by Isaac Marriott's absence following ankle surgery.

Prior to being reduced to 10 men, Alty had looked the likelier side to break the deadlock, but not by much. Lewis Baines and Jake Cooper both brought the best out of keeper Harrison Male late on, but Dorking could argue with some justification that they were good value for a point.

With a blustery wind swirling round the stadium and clouds of black crumb rising from the artificial surface every time the ball made contact with it, the prospects for an entertaining spectacle were not looking too bright.

So it proved, though a hard-earned point was enough to make it four games unbeaten for the Robins and maintain their hold on fourth place in the Vanarama National League, with just Ebbsfleet United away and Oxford City at home still to come.

After a cagey opening, Alty so nearly went in front in the sixth minute after brilliant work on the left by Regan Linney.

Receiving the ball from Eddy Jones, Linney turned his marker Tony Craig and left him trailing as he set off for the bye-line before delivering a low cross towards Alex Newby and Bobby-Joe Taylor at the far post.

Discomfited by Newby's presence, Taylor sliced his attempted clearance and was relieved to see it bounce to safety after crashing against the bar.

There was little in the way of goalmouth action after that in what was proving a low-key first half, though Matty Kosylo could count himself unlucky to see a well-struck shot deflected over in the 31st minute after he played a one-two with Elliot Osborne inside the Dorking area.

Lewis Banks had a goalbound effort blocked in the 40th minute and Linney fired over after cutting in past two challenges on the left five minutes later, but generally Alty's approach play lacked its usual cutting edge as the first half finished scoreless.

Chances continued to be in short supply in the second half. There were one or two testing crosses for Alty's defence to deal with, which they did effectively, but clear-cut scoring opportunities were still nowhere to be seen as the 70-minute-mark came and went.

After working tirelessly and holding the ball up well, Linney gave way to Dior Angus as part of a double substitution in the 71st minute, Justin Donawa also replacing Dan Mooney.

Finally, Dorking keeper Male was called into action in the 76th minute after Kosylo swung the ball into the area from the left and Baines drilled a half-volley towards goal. Though it was struck cleanly enough, it was a fraction too close to Male, who flung himself to his left to turn it away.

As a last throw of the dice, Chris Conn-Clarke went on for Kosylo in the 78th minute in the hope of fashioning the sort of opening that could yet make the difference but had so far proved elusive.

One such opportunity looked to have materialised in the 86th minute, only for Male to excel himself with a save that denied the Robins the breakthrough they were striving for.

Cooper, again assured at the heart of defence alongside the equally-composed Baines, made what he thought was a goalscoring connection with a Donawa long throw from the right, but the Dorking keeper reacted in an instant to turn it round the post for a corner.

Thwarted at one end Alty may have been, but they looked secure at the other to ensure they headed home with something to show for their efforts, as an historic first-ever participation in the National League promotion play-offs moved a step closer.

Dorking Male; Philpot, B.Taylor, Craig (c), Muitt, Prior (Rutherford, 18’), Carter, J.Taylor, Hollis (Moore, 83’), Kuhl, Blair (Bowerman, 46’). Subs not used: Francomb, Kennedy.

Altrincham Ross; Banks, E.Jones, Baines (c), Osborne, Kosylo (Conn-Clarke, 78’), Linney (Angus, 72’), Cooper, Wilson, Newby, Mooney (Donawa, 72’). Subs not used: Roscoe, Hancox.

HT 0-0

Goals None | None

Yellows Kuhl 90’+4 | Cooper 90’+1

Reds None | Wilson 90’+2

Referee Alan Dale

 

Attendance 1,601

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