Newark Town play out 0-0 draw with league leaders Dinnington Town
This clash between two of the three teams still boasting a 100% record in the North division ended in a frustrating stalemate with both sets of forwards showing little in terms of decisive finishing and each of the defences proving practically watertight.
Town gave a first start to Jawanza Grant with Sam Wilford going to right back, releasing Arron Martin to move forward. Tyler Martin, returning from a suspension carried over from last season, was included on the subs bench.
The first exchanges were even, Grant seeing a header comfortably saved while Nathan Burrows held a well-struck shot from Barlow as Dinnington counter-attacked.
Grant then fastened on to a long ball forward from Luke Parsons, forcing Branch into a diving save at the near post. Arron Martin put Kieran Job clear but the nippy forward put his shot across the keeper and the far upright.
Grant was then brought down on the edge of the area but Craig Bridge’s free kick went straight into the keeper’s midriff.
Layne then threatened for the visitors but although well placed his shot hit the side netting.
Though much of the approach work from both sides was promising, the quality of the finishing didn’t match it. As half time approached, Town pressed forward, Job turning and playing the ball in to Lewis Chambers, who delayed his shot too long giving Branch an easy save.
Arron Martin’s shot from distance then cleared the bar before Martin, Job and Ngoni Dongo combined, Dongo’s final effort bringing a sprawling save from Branch.
In the first action of the second half Chambers broke from midfield, playing the ball out wide to Job whose drive brought a smart response from the visitors’ keeper who did well to push the ball wide of the post.
The Blues had a good chance to take the lead as Grant and Job beat Dinnington’s appeals for offside but the opportunity went begging as Grant chose to shoot rather than pass.
Tyler Martin then replaced Grant and when Sam Wilford made a timely interception in midfield the sub made good progress towards the visitors’ goal, but once more the shot lacked power. Burrows was forced into a brave dive at the feet of Bedford and then palmed a shot from Ward over the bar as Dinnington at last found a way past Parsons and James Evans in the Town defence.
Newark’s best and final opportunity to reclaim top spot came five minutes from time as Tyler Martin’s shot beat the keeper but caught a defender’s foot and was deflected wide.
While Town’s defence again coped well with any threat from the visitors and made it three successive clean sheets, the return of just two goals in those three matches doesn’t reflect the amount of chances created.