Match Report: Alsager Town 1-4 Nantwich Town


Jack Jones reports on the Dabbers 4-1 win over Alsager Town in their first game of the 2016/17 Pre-Season schedule

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Nantwich Town got their preparations under way for the 2016/17 season with a comfortable 4-1 win against Alsager Town at the Wood Park Stadium. Phil Parkinson named a mixed squad for the teams first friendly of the Pre-Season, with there being a blend of trialists and first team players in the starting XI.

Starting XI: Parton, Faulkner, Bergin, Harrison, Touray, Hall(C), Cooke, Jackson, Williams, Main, Kapend

The Dabbers got off to a fantastic start, racing into a 2-0 lead inside 6 minutes. The first came through persistent work by new signing Ryan Jackson. He won the ball back on the right hand side of the area and hit a stunning strike from 25 yards into the top corner leaving Alsager keeper Bradley Moorhead with no chance.

Barely a minute later and the Dabbers doubled their advantage. More good work on edge of the Alsager box from the Nantwich midfield allowed Sean Cooke to get a shot away on goal and it took a massive deflection, wrong footing Moorhead and rolling in to give the Dabbers a 2-0 lead. Alsager managed to get a foothold in the game after that, with Dave Parton forced into a comfortable save from a spectacular overhead kick from the edge of the penalty area in the 11th minute.

After 17 minutes, Alsager got a goal back, with former Dabbers’ legend Micky Lennon scoring from just inside the penalty area. He worked a quick corner well, managed to fashion some space and curled the ball into the far corner past a diving Parton.

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Nantwich continued to look threatening as they sought to control possession and the tempo of the game. They almost had a third when a cross from Ibou Touray was close to finding John Main, but the Alsager defence intercepted the ball before the ref blew for a foul. After 28 minutes, Alsager should have been level. More good football saw them get space on the edge of the Dabbers box, but Leigh Skellern could only shoot narrowly wide.

A few minutes later, Sean Cooke rattled the cross bar from outside the area with a thunderous strike as the Dabbers pressed for another goal. More impressive play from Touray down the left hand side won a free kick, but Cooke hit the resulting free kick well over. Cooke was at the centre of everything good the Dabbers were doing and he created another chance, having an opportunistic dipping shot from 30 yards out which almost caught Moorhead out.

With 10 minutes to go until half time, the Dabbers finally restored their 2 goal advantage. Ryan Jackson showed great persistence to get past his man on the right hand side and he whipped in a superb ball for trialist Jonny Kapend to bundle in from a yard out. The Dabbers had the final chance of the first half, with Cooke swinging in a great cross that eluded everyone in an Orange shirt, meaning the Dabbers had to settle with a 3-1 lead heading into half-time.

Phil Parkinson made 5 changes at half-time, with Dave Parton, Ryan Jackson and trialists John Main, Cory Williams and Jonny Kapend coming off for Ash Rawlins(GK), Shay Finney, Theo Stair, Josh Gordon and Steve Jones.

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Five minutes into the second half and the Dabbers were 4-1 up. Josh Gordon won a free kick on the edge of the box and from the resulting set piece, Cooke put the ball into the bottom corner under the diving Moorhead.

That was Cooke’s last action of the game, as he was taken off for former Crewe Alex striker Dom Smith. It was a strong performance from Cooke, who could have had a hat-trick on another day. Ryan Jackson also came back on in place of Ben Harrison as Phil Parkinson made a flurry of quick subs.

Just shy of the hour mark, Steve Jones waltzed through several Alsager players, channeling his inner Ryan Giggs! A minute later and Josh Gordon should have put the Dabbers 5-1 up. He broke through on goal but miscued his shot, sending it high over the bar. Dom Smith had the next chance  for the Dabbers as Theo Stair found him in space on the edge of the box. Smith was able to force a smart save from Moorhead in the Alsager goal.

From the resulting corner, Moorhead then had to scramble the ball away on the line after it eluded everyone and bounced awkwardly in front of him. Nathan Cottrell came on for Ryan Jackson a few minutes later as the subs continued to roll off and on. Cottrell immediately had a good chance from 20 yards out, sending the ball just wide of the goal with a curling effort. On 65 minutes, Gordon got in down the right and his cross almost found Smith, but the big striker failed to connect. Stair was next to test Moorhead, with Theo forcing the increasingly busy goalkeeper into a fine save.

Stair was then unlucky not to bag his first goal in a Dabbers shirt on 68 minutes as the woodwork was rattled for the 2nd time. Theo managed to beat the keeper but not the bar, with the ball bouncing down on the line and out. It was inches from going in and Theo can count himself unlucky not to have scored. With 20 minutes to go, Steve Jones wriggled free on the right hand side of the area and squared for Cottrell, but the trialist could only put it wide on the stretch. It was a difficult chance.

Cottrell again was found by Jonah, but he could only shoot straight at Moorhead under pressure from an Alsager defender. Sam Hall was taken off with just over 10 minutes to go, being replaced by Cory Williams who came back on. Three minutes later, Stair shot over after some nice football on the edge of the Alsager penalty area. Touray sent a free kick straight at Moorhead with a few minutes left in the game as both teams started to tire. Cottrell had the final chance of the game, sending the ball over the bar from a corner in the 90th minute as the game drew to a close.

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Full Squad:

1. Dave Parton, 2. Mackenzie Faulkner(trialist), 3. Ibou Touray, 4. Louis Bergin(trialist), 5. Ben Harrison, 6. Sam Hall(c), 7. Ryan Jackson, 8. Sean Cooke, 9. Cory Williams(trialist), 10. John Main(trialist), 11. Jonny Kapend(trialist), 12. Shay Finney(trialist), 13. Ash Rawlins(trialist), 14. Josh Gordon, 15. Theo Stair, 16. Dominic Smith(trialist), 17. Steve Jones, 18. Nathan Cottrell(trialist)

Goalscorers:

Alsager Town: Micky Lennon

Nantwich Town: Ryan Jackson, Sean Cooke(2), Jonny Kapend

Next Up

The Dabbers are next in action on Tuesday 12th July, when they return to the Weaver Stadium for their first home friendly of the Pre-Season schedule. They play Conference North side Curzon Ashton, kick off 7:30pm. Entry prices can be found in the ticket section on the clubs website.

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