By Steve Sharman:
Nantwich Town made it to the FA Cup First Round for the second time in the club’s history thanks to Harry Clayton’s goal in the replay win over Kettering Town.
Clayton popped up in the 19th minute to head Sean Cooke’s cross home as the Dabbers put in a fantastic defensive performance which also saw a late penalty save from goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen.
Manager Dave Cooke made once change from Saturday’s game with Kettering as Jordan Davies came in for David Forbes.
It was Kettering who started the better as they looked to find the net early on as Jaaskelainen did well to palm away Ben Milnes’ powerful effort from the edge of the box.
The Finn on loan from Crewe was in the thick of the action early on as he stood firm to then punch away Lindon Meikle’s shot after the Kettering winger had broken in behind the Dabbers’ defence.
Five minutes later and once again Jaaskelainen kept the Dabbers level as be brilliantly tipped Meikle’s curling effort out for a corner.
Kettering looked to utilise the strength and height of former Peterborough striker Rene Howe but Dabbers’ skipper Sam Hall was on hand to head every long ball clear, a feat Hall carried throughout the game.
Having withstood the Kettering onslaught in the opening 20 minutes, it was the Dabbers who opened the scoring with what turned out to be their only shot on target of the game.
Cooke did brilliantly down the right channel before he looped a cross into the box with the outside of his foot allowing Clayton to ghost in at the back post to nod the visitors ahead.
Ten minutes later and Jaaskelainen made his fourth brilliant save of the night palming away Milnes’ close range free kick.
The hosts were throwing everything at Nantwich and Jaaskelainen was eventually beaten in the 35th minute as Ben Toseland’s long range shot struck the outside of the post before flying away to safety.
Five minutes before the break Meikle was offered time and space to fire in the equaliser but the Kettering man somehow dragged the shot wide.
The second half started as the first had ended as the hosts poured men forward but the Dabbers backline was standing firm.
On the hour mark Gary Mulligan’s header caused a mass scramble on the Dabbers’ goal line, but a combination of visiting players saw the ball cleared.
As time was ticking away, the home side continued to knock on the Dabbers’ door but Jaaskelainen made a fine low stop to prevent Milnes’ skidding shot from finding the bottom corner.
With the game entering the last ten minutes Meikle’s right wing cross looked set to find a Kettering head but Davies was in the right place to brilliantly head clear.
But as the game hit the 90 minute mark referee James Oldham awarded Kettering a soft penalty as Meikle fell under a Toby Mullarkey challenge giving substitute Aaron O’Connor the chance to take the game into extra time.
However the forward was denied by a fabulous low save from Jaaskelainen who guessed right to palm away the ball to safety.
Five minutes were added on, as the Poppies threw everything at the Dabbers defence but they couldn’t find an equaliser as Oldham blew for full time, much to the delight of the travelling support.
Victory sees the Dabbers enter the First Round of the competition for the second time in the club’s history as they travel to take on League Two side Stevenage on the weekend of the 4th and 5th of November.
Next up for Dave Cooke’s side though is Witton Albion in the league this coming Saturday at the Weaver Stadium with a 3pm KO.
Kettering Town: Wright, Berry, Toseland (Brighton 62′), Solkhon (c), Mulligan, Richens, Hoenes (Stohrer 82′), Stevens (O’Connor 73′), Howe, Milnes.
Subs not used: Baker, Maagbe, White, Sundire
Nantwich Town: Jaaskelainen, Bourne, Wildin, Stair, Mullarkey, Hall (c), Hughes, Bell, Clayton, Cooke, Davies (McDonald 86′)
Subs not used: Morgan, Quinn (GK), Forbes, Brooke, Cotterell, Griggs
Referee: James Oldham« Back to all news