By Steve Sharman:
A first half hat trick from Sean Cooke ensured Nantwich Town took all three points with a 4-0 victory in their league clash at Grantham Town.
Cooke netted a first half treble which began with a superb 25-yard free kick, with both other goals coming from crosses from the left.
The Dabbers began the game brightly and Cooke nearly found the net in the opening minute as his delicate lob landed on the top netting of the goal with Grantham keeper Jake Turner a helpless spectator.
Turner could do nothing again minutes later as Cooke’s superb free kick flew into the top corner as the midfielder scored his fourth goal of the season.
Phil Parkinson’s men looked comfortable against Grantham who mustered the next chance of the game as Grant Ryan headed straight at Dave Parton.
Ryan then went close again on 15 minutes as his shot flew over the bar after Curtis Jones had misjudged the ball allowing the forward time and space on the edge of the box.
With the hosts enjoying plenty of possession, the Dabber’s defence were untroubled in the final third as Grantham struggled to create any clear chances.
Parkinson’s men looked to add to the opening goalas Ryan Brooke was inches from converting a left wing cross from Cooke, after the midfielder had worked his way into the box.
Chances continued to be created by the Dabbers as Osebi Abadaki had a goal ruled out for offside, before Matt Bell’s curling shot went past the far post.
But it was two for Nantwich on 38 minutes as Cooke’s cross from the left evaded everyone and found the far corner of the net.
Six minutes later it was 3-0 to Nantwich as Cooke completed a first half hat trick. After Abadaki had been felled on the left wing, Cooke’s in-swinging free cross was missed by everyone and for the second time in the game, the ball found its way into the far corner.
Despite the scoreline, Grantham began the second half with more fight and went close to pulling a goal back as Luke Shaw saw his long range shot well saved by Parton, before the keeper blocked Shaw’s next effort with his legs.
Five minutes late Rhys Lewis somehow headed the ball away from the Dabbers’ goal, when it looked easier to score after the ball had rebounded to the Grantham midfielder.
The Dabbers were content at 3-0 and continued to defend the crosses and long balls the hosts were putting into the box.
It clearly wasn’t Grantham’s day as Jack Beckett volleyed wide from six yards with just Parton to beat after a cross had found the substitute unmarked in the Nantwich box.
Parkinson brought Cooke and Brooke off with Josh Gordon and Dave Walker replacing the pair as the game entered the final ten minutes.
The next opportunity for the Dabbers was created by the substitutes as good play down the left from Walker saw the experienced striker lay the ball to Gordon who fired the ball high and wide.
But in the final minute of the game it was 4-0, as a through ball from Wayne Riley found Theo Stair whose low effort was too much for Turner, who could only watch as the ball found the corner of the net.
Nantwich still had time to try and add another goal as Walker’s shot from a tight angle was saved by Turner’s legs before Stair nearly added another with a curling shot that hit the base of the post and rolled to safety.
The win means the Dabbers remain unbeaten on the road as they go into three home fixtures starting with the FA Cup second qualifying round tie against Marine next Saturday.
Nantwich Town: Parton, White, Touray, Harrison, Jones, Hall (c), Riley, Bell, Brooke (Walker 81), Cooke (Gordon 81), O. Abadaki (Stair 68)
Unused subs: G. Abadaki, Thornton.
Grantham Town: Turner, Meadows, Emmott, Carr, Galinski, Hollingsworth (Beckett 45) , Burrows (Saunders 59), Lewis, Ryan, Luke Shaw, Lee Shaw (Durkin 59).
Unused subs: Sinclair (GK)
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