Dan Gallagher returned to the starting line up in place of the injured Luke Moore in the only confirmed change ahead of kick off from last weekend’s draw against Eastleigh, however, Niall McManus was forced into withdrawal from the starting line up after picking up a slight injury during the warm-up. Bobby-Joe Taylor came in as his replacement in the XI with Slav Huk taking the vacated seat on the bench.
With the sun bearing down and temperatures scorching, the game began in expectedly slow fashion, and Wanderers injury woes were compounded with less than ten minutes played as Barry Fuller had to be withdrawn after pulling up following a challenge for the ball, the captain substituted for Ryan Seager. The change meant that Bobby-Joe would drop into the back three whilst Seager took up an unfamiliar role on the right wing.
As the revised Wanderers line up was settling in, home and away supporters alike were taken aback just past the quarter hour as Marc White was given a straight red card by referee Richard Aspinall after booting the ball away when it flew towards him in the away dug-out.
Play continued to be largely fought out in the middle of the park as both sides struggled with precision in their final passing and getting forward at pace, but the home side did see more of the ball and carved out a few half-chances. Dan Ward attempted a lob after a couple of Latics efforts were well closed down by the Wanderers back-line, skipper Liam Hogan did head home from a corner ball but the goal was ruled out for a foul in the build up.
Shortly before half-time Ward brought Male into action with a long range drive, the Wanderers stopper could only parry though, Nathan Sheron fastest to the rebound but pinged his effort just over the top right corner of goal.
The tempo and quality on the ball from both sides dropped off further after the restart, James Norwood’s glancing header on the hour the first real chance of the half before Gallagher produced timely blocks to prevent a shot getting off from the edge of the six yard box and clear the resulting corner ball just in front of the Wanderers goalmouth.
Into the final twenty minutes Wanderers started to enjoy command of possession and began working some openings; Josh Taylor striding forward and sending an effort straight down Matthew Hudson before a moment of real controversy as Prior appeared to head Bowerman’s cross over the line from close range. The finish came at the end of a patient, prolonged passing spell but the ball was deemed to have been kept out by Hudson despite very strong protests from the Wanderers players.
Seager and Prior bent efforts just wide as Wanderers remained on top into the latter stages, the game looking all set to finish as a draw save for the closing minutes; Latics sub Kurt Willoughby spurning an excellent chance for the home side to clinch all 3 points lifting his shot at point blank range over the bar to the dismay of the lively home contingent in The Jimmy Frizzell stand behind the goal.
A second consecutive goalless draw for Wanderers, Marc White can reflect on a resolute display from his side on an afternoon of added challenges, with the manager’s dismissal following on from early injuries suffered to Niall McManus and Barry Fuller and a subsequent re-shaping of the side.
Next up, Wanderers are back on the road in the north of the country, travelling to FC Halifax Town for a 3pm kick off at The Shay Stadium.