By Ryan Batty:
After looking back at the 2017/18 season over the last few weeks, it’s time for the penultimate part of the series where we take a look at the happenings on-and-off the pitch for Nantwich Town in March.
The month started off frustratingly for Nantwich, as the Beast from the East blizzard hit Cheshire and saw their fixture with Warrington Town postponed.
The bad news continued the following Tuesday as two first-half goals saw Nantwich suffer defeat at the hands of Matlock Town at the Weaver Stadium, as goals from Michael Williams and Ricardo German was enough for the Gladiators to secure all three points.
Nantwich could have had the weekend’s scheduled fixture with Buxton to make up for the midweek’s blunder, though the match was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
The Dabbers rolled on to the next week’s fixture, where they travelled to Grantham. Dave Cooke’s men huffed and puffed all evening but couldn’t quite come out on top, settling for a scoreless draw.
The men in green returned to the Weaver Stadium at the weekend, but two goals from experienced talisman Lee Hughes condemned Nantwich to a 3-1 defeat, despite Matt Bell’s wonderful effort that curled into the far corner. The stadium was a picturesque scene that afternoon as snow fell throughout the afternoon. The fixture was also significant for club secretary Carl Thorpe – who celebrated his 500th Nantwich game on the day.
A stoppage-time winner from Matty Wolfenden saw Nantwich defeated 3-2 by Stalybridge Celtic at the Weaver Stadium despite the Dabbers putting up a great fight all evening – the result though saw Nantwich still searching for their first win of the month.
Away from first-team affairs saw the Dabbers’ youth side in the semi-final of the Sentinel Cup. Despite Niall Cope’s stunning free-kick, the side fell to a 2-1 defeat to Audley U18s.
Ahead of Nantwich’s trip to Shaw Lane that weekend, Matt Bell said that ‘a top-half finish was a minimum’ for the Dabbers, and they went the right way about it against the Ducks. Despite Bell’s early sending-off, goals from Sean Cooke and Joe Mwasile saw Dave Cooke’s men see of the promotion-seekers.
That week, the club confirmed that striker David Forbes had left to re-join City of Liverpool.
The following Tuesday saw a fine goalkeeping display from Marine stopper Martin Fearon as Nantwich left Merseyside with only a point against Marine. Harry Clayton gave the Dabbers the lead, before Josh Davies headed in the hosts’ equaliser to level proceedings.
First-team coach Jay Bateman was happy with a draw ahead of their final game of the month against Farsley Celtic. However, despite Clayton’s early goal and Nantwich’s solid defensive work throughout the game, the Dabbers conceded a last-minute equaliser to only come out with a point.
Tuesday 6th March | Evo-Stik Premier Division
Nantwich Town 0-2 Matlock Town
Tuesday 13th March | Evo-Stik Premier Division
Grantham Town 0-0 Nantwich Town
Saturday 17th March | Evo-Stik Premier Division
Nantwich Town 1-3 Halesowen (Bell 17)
Tuesday 20th March | Evo-Stik Premier Division
Nantwich Town 2-3 Stalybridge Celtic (Cooke 25, Bell 53)
Saturday 24th March | Evo-Stik Premier Division
Shaw Lane AFC 0-2 Nantwich Town (Cooke 13 , Mwasile 59)
Tuesday 27th March | Evo-Stik Premier Division
Marine 1-1 Nantwich Town (Clayton 20)
Saturday 31st March | Evo-Stik Premier Division
Nantwich Town 1-1 Farsley Celtic (Clayton 9)
Played 7, Won 1, Drawn 3, Lost 3
Scored 7, Conceded 10
Top Scorer: Harry Clayton, Matt Bell, Sean Cooke (2)