By Ryan Batty:
An early strike from Joe Mwasile was enough to give Nantwich the victory on a chilly afternoon in Halesowen.
Mwasile gave the Dabbers the lead after fifteen minutes after a ball through the defence found the winger, who was able to confidently fire the ball into the top corner for his second goal of the season.
The Dabbers made one change from the side that started against Sandbach in midweek, as Clayton McDonald returned from injury to replace a suspended Joel Stair.
The first chance of the game was Nantwich’s goal, as a ball through the defence was going towards David Forbes, but Mwasile got there first and confidently smashed the ball into the top-right hand corner for his second goal of the season, his first in the league.
The Dabbers dominated the first half, but one of the few chance the hosts had was a free-kick on the right-hand side that new keeper Myles Boney expertly plucked from the air to prevent the equaliser.
After twenty-five minutes, the Dabbers almost doubled their lead as a lovely move on the left saw Caspar Hughes, Sean Cooke and Courtney Wildin link up, with the latter curling in a cross that almost found the head of Harry Clayton, but the forward was unable to get his header on target.
Jamie Morgan was down with a dead leg, and was substituted for Jake Phillips.
On the stroke of the half-hour mark, McDonald spotted the keeper off his line and attempted to lob him from fifty yards, with his effort drifting narrowly wide of the post.
Mwasile almost had his second after thirty-seven minutes as he fired one in the six-yard box, Platt made the save, but Forbes’ rebound was just over the bar.
The final chance of the half fell to Cooke who beat a man on the edge of the box before shooting low but Platt was on hand to make a fine once handed save.
Mwasile’s goal was all that separated the two sides at the interval.
The first chance of the game came for Nantwich as Cooke went down in the box, but the referee waved away any penalty protests for the visitors.
The second half was largely uneventful, with Nantwich controlling the tempo, yet the hosts looked fiercer after the break.
Halesowen made their first change on the hour, as Roland Agbor replaced Kyle Morrison.
A minute later, Matt Bell found room for a shot and cracked one towards Platt, which the keeper almost dropped to give Nantwich their second of the game. However, the Halesowen stopper was able to keep control.
With twenty minutes to go, both sides made a change, as Joe Mwasile was replaced by youngster David Neligwa. Bradley Lewis came on for eventual Man of the Match Enock Ekongo for the hosts.
Lewis was almost sent straight back off though, as he made a late challenge on Bell that looked pretty bad, but the referee only showed a yellow on this occasion.
A nice move from the Dabbers involving Caspar Hughes, Wildin and Clayton saw the latter fire narrowly over the bar as they searched for a second goal.
The two sides made their final changes with ten minutes to go, as Steve Jones replaced Forbes for the Dabbers, while Yasin Al-Massry came on for Matthew Barnes-Homer.
With five minutes to go, Nantwich almost allowed the hosts back into the game as they gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box, but luckily, Nantwich defended it well as the wall’s initial block went for a corner that was dealt with well.
That proved to be the last clear chance of the game, and Nantwich came away with three points, climbing up to 16th in the process.
Nantwich are back in action this week as they contest their re-arranged Cheshire Senior Cup fixture with Sandbach on Wednesday evening, at the Sandbach Community Football Centre for a 7.45pm KO.
Halesowen: Platt, Ekongo (Lewis 71′), Morrison (C) (Agbor 59′), Poscha, Geohaghon, Charlton, Goddard, Monteiro, Barnes-Homer (Al-Massry 80′), Weir-Daley, Kelly
Subs not used: Bragoli, Parsons
Nantwich: Boney, Morgan (Phillips 30′), Wildin, Bourne, McDonald, Bell, Mwasile (Neligwa 70′), Hughes (C), Clayton, Cooke, Forbes (Jones 80′)
Subs not used: Hall, Cotterell
Ref: Mr R Cattell
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