FA CUP: Match Report: Stevenage FC 5-0 Nantwich Town

By Ryan Batty:

Nantwich Town’s fine run in the FA Cup was ended at the First Round stage by League Two Stevenage as the Dabbers put in a valiant display in a 5-0 defeat at The Lamex Stadium.

The scoreline was harsh on Dave Cooke’s men who went behind on 16 minutes to Matt Godden’s flicked header from Joe Martin’s free-kick.

However, the Dabbers remained in the game until sixty-eight minutes, when right-back Jonathan Smith stabbed home following a scramble from Martin’s corner. Just five minutes later, Smith got his second as he headed powerfully into the roof of the net.

Two minutes later, any hopes of a Nantwich comeback were extinguished by Godden’s second goal, as he received the ball behind the defence and fired a driven shot into the bottom-left hand corner of Will Jaaskelainen’s net, before the Stevenage forward netted his hat-trick flicking in Dale Gorman’s volley from close range.

Dave Cooke made three changes from the side that started at Rushall with Jamie Morgan, Courtney Wildin and Nathan Cotterell selected in place of the suspended Sam Hall, with Joe Mwasile and Alex Morris both cup-tied.

The Dabbers started brightly and had their first sight on goal after eight minutes, as Sean Cooke intercepted a loose pass from the hosts, before firing a left-footed effort past Joe Fryer’s right-post.

Just after the fifteen-minute mark, Stevenage took the lead. A foul on the left-hand side of the area resulted in Joe Martin’s delivery nodded in by Godden whose header took a slight deflection and nestled into the bottom corner.

The hosts went onto dominate the next ten minutes, but were unable to create any clear opportunities or test Jaaskelainen in the Dabbers’ goal.

But after twenty-seven minutes, Nantwich’s first clear-cut chance emerged as, finding a gap in the Stevenage defence, Cooke took a snap-shot from twenty-yards, but saw his effort fly narrowly wide of the post.

Two minutes later, Harry Clayton turned his man well, following a neat pass from Cooke, before firing in on goal but was denied by a fine close range save by Fryer in the home goal.

Stevenage’s first clear-cut chance since the goal came with five minutes left in the half as Chris Whelpdale fired low down the middle, but the effort was comfortable for Jaaskelainen.

The referee indicated a minimum of one minute of added time at the end of the half and Nantwich almost got lucky and equalised as Clayton took a right-footed shot twenty yards out, that Fryer easily saved.

Nantwich opened the second half much like they had closed the first, playing with confidence and knowing their chances of getting back in the game were looking likely if they continued to press the home side’s defence.

Two minutes into the second half, Courtney Wildin, who had a quality game at left-back, almost found Clayton in behind but Stevenage’s back line were able to break the attack down.

Five minutes after the break and the Dabbers had a decent shout for a penalty, as Joel Stair looked to have been hauled down following Matt Bell’s corner, however, the referee didn’t see enough contact to warrant a spot-kick and the scoreline remained in Stevenage’s favour.

Two minutes later, another poor Stevenage pass was intercepted by Jamie Morgan inside the hosts’ box, but the youngster was unable to take advantage as the ball was shepherded out for a goal kick.

Just before the hour mark, Wildin sent another cross into the box. Morgan went to meet it with a header, but Fryer was able to easily pluck the ball from above the former Sandbach defender’s head.

Both sides made their first changes after sixty-three minutes as Dale Gorman replaced Chris Whelpdale for the hosts, and Morgan was brought off for former Northern Ireland international Steve Jones.

Having been second best for the first 20 minutes of the second period, Stevenage doubled their lead after sixty-eight minutes, as Smith was on-hand to stab home after confusion in the Nantwich area following Martin’s corner.

Five minutes later, Stevenage grabbed that all-important third as Smith got his second, heading home Martin’s corner in off the crossbar, effectively nullifying any hopes of a comeback for Dave Cooke’s men.

Both sides then made their second changes Kyle Wooton replaced Danny Newton for the hosts, while David Forbes came on for Nathan Cotterell, who had had an excellent game on the wing for the Dabbers.

Stevenage’s fourth goal then came after seventy-five minutes as Godden found his way in behind a the Dabbers’ defence before driving it into the left-hand corner for his second goal of the day.

The scoreline was extremely harsh on Cooke’s men as they looked for a consolation but Steve Jones was denied by a last gasp challenge from Martin after the winger had been played in on goal.

Despite being four down, the travelling fans were in fine voice as they continued to support their side into the final five minutes of the game.

Godden then scored his hat-trick and Stevenage’s fifth two minutes from time as he flicked home Gorman’s volley from the edge of the box.

After two minutes of additional time, referee Michael Salisbury ended proceedings and Nantwich’s excellent run in the FA Cup, as the 265 travelling Dabbers applauded their side off the pitch following the whistle.

Next up for the Dabbers is a trip to Matlock Town in the league next Saturday with a 3pm KO.

Stevenage: Fryer, Smith, Martin, King (Wilmot 84’), Wilkinson, Whelpdale (Gorman 63’), Beautyman, Pett, Newton (Wooton 74’), Godden, Henry (c)

Unused subs: Day, Samuel, Conlon, Vancooten,

Nantwich Town: Jaaskelainen, Bourne (Webster 84’), Wildin, Stair, Mullarkey, Bell (c), Morgan (S. Jones 63’), Hughes, Clayton, Cooke, Cotterell (Forbes 74’)

Unused subs: Burzynski, McDonald, Rowntree, Brooke,

ATT: 1436 (265 away)

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Match Gallery: http://www.nantwichtownfc.co.uk/news/photo-gallery/fa-cup-nantwich-v-stevenage-action/

Fan Gallery: http://www.nantwichtownfc.co.uk/news/photo-gallery/fa-cup-nantwich-v-stevenage-fan-gallery/

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