Match Report: Ashton United 1-1 Nantwich Town

Dabbers secure first point of the season against promotion favourites.


Nantwich Town earned their first point of the 2016/17 season as they came from behind to battle out a well deserved 1-1 draw with promotion favourites Ashton United at Hurst Cross. The Dabbers bossed the majority of the game, but were unable to grab the first goal that their play deserved. They were then caught out by a Lee Gaskell free kick just after half time, but Steve Jones hit back for the Dabbers 10 minutes later, scoring a stunning equaliser. Despite plenty of chances after that, the Dabbers weren’t able to force in a 2nd goal and had to settle for the draw.

The Dabbers made three changes from the side against Mickleover, with Josh Gordon, Osebi Abadaki and Curtis Jones all making way. Godwin Abadaki, Matt Bell and Steve Jones came in, making their first starts of the season. In the opposition team, joint manager Paul Phillips was in goal and marquee centre forward signing Lee Gaskell started upfront, looking to build on his 2 goal debut against Frickley on Saturday.

The visitors enjoyed a strong start to the game, with Steve Jones forcing a corner inside the first minute. Matt Bell went close a few minutes later, as he saw a dipping effort from 25 yards go just wide of the goal. Godwin Abadaki was proving a handful, doing a lot of work with his back to goal against two tough centre backs in Jason Gorton and Joe Connor. He almost got in goal after Andy White sent a ball through to him, but Connor just cut the ball out before it reached him. Sean Cooke was next to have chances as he headed into the side netting and then could only hit a side footed effort straight at Phillips when a more powerful attempt seemed like the better option.

Phil Parkinson’s side continued to control possession and look the more likely team to score, but they were unable to find that killer ball or clinical finish which would have given them a deserved lead. As the game approached the half an hour mark, the home side grew into the game, forcing a corner after some good attacking work. But despite their better showing, the Dabbers were still getting all the chances, with Matt Bell shooting wide before a Stair cross just missed Abadaki in the box.

The Robins weren’t without threat though, as Lee Gaskell curled wide and Mat Bailey had to block an attempt shot just inside the box. Just before half time, the Dabbers had possibly the best chance of the game, as Godwin worked some space and struck a shot just wide of the post with Phillips beaten. It was a great chance, but it summed up the Dabbers half: Close, but not quite close enough.

Nantwich had dominated the first half, but hadn’t been able to find the goal their play deserved. They were left to rue those missed chances shortly after half time, as Ashton United went ahead with their first shot on target. The Dabbers conceded a free kick just outside the box barely a minute after the restart and Gaskell stepped up and bent the ball over Parton into the top corner. It was a cracking finish and gave Gaskell his third in two games. The goal rocked the Dabbers, with Adam Morning shooting straight at Parton whilst Touray had to be alert to deny Ashton a sight of goal.

The Dabbers weren’t knocked for long though. The lively Stair almost found Jones with a cross, but the ball was cut out for a corner. Bailey headed the resulting corner straight at Phillips. A minute later, barely 10 minutes after falling behind, the Dabbers were level through ageless wonder Jones. He beat his man on the right hand side, strode towards the penalty area and unleashed a wicked shot into the far corner, beating Phillips all ends up. The keeper didn’t even move! It was another belter from the veteran, who added to the three classy goals he scored in pre-season by getting off the mark this season.

That goal saw the Dabbers resume their dominance, as Coo was forced to drag back Stair and get a booking. Cooke then shot just wide as the Dabbers pressed for a second. Ashton manager Steve Halford had seen enough and made two changes just after the hour mark. At the same time, Parky made his first change, with Josh Gordon coming on for Godwin Abadaki. Stair and Bell had more chances blocked before the former was taken off, with Osebi Abadaki replacing him.

Shortly after coming on, Osebi was involved in a brief pushing match with Ashton sub Stephen Mason, but the referee quickly diffused the situation. Mark Lees then went into the book for the hosts as the Dabbers continued to press and get chances. Steve Jones almost hooked home a Sean Cooke cross and Josh Gordon was inches away from capitalising on a misplaced header from Jason Gorton back to his keeper. Jones was replaced by the returning Dave Walker with 10 minutes to go. Gordon then became the first Dabber to be booked this season as he clipped Coo. The Dabbers looked the more likely to win it towards the end of the game, but bar a Sean Cooke free kick which landed on the roof of the net with Phillips beaten, there were no more chances as both sides had to settle for a point.

Ashton United: Paul Phillips, Cavell Coo, Adam Mather, Jason Gorton(c), Joe Connor, Mark Lees, Jack Dorney, Gary Gee, Daniel Wilkins, Lee Gaskell, Adam Morning

Subs: Stephen Mason, Alex Frost, Richard Smith, Ryan Crowther, Chris Baguley

Nantwich Town: Dave Parton, Andy White, Ibou Touray, Ben Harrison, Mat Bailey, Sam Hall(c), Steve Jones(80, Walker), Matt Bell, Godwin Abadaki(63, Gordon), Sean Cooke, Theo Stair(67, O.Abadaki)

Subs: Osebi Abadaki, Dave Walker, Ryan Jackson, Josh Gordon, Jonny Kapend


Robins: Lee Gaskell(46)

Dabbers: Steve Jones(56)

Goal Cam

Attendance: 160

We will be back in action this Saturday as we once again head on our travels, this time making the trip to Derbyshire to play Matlock Town. The kick off is 3pm and we look forward to seeing you there.

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