Nantwich Town bounced back from their shock defeat to Whitby Town on Saturday by battling out a 0-0 draw at home to Matlock Town.
Both sides had chances in what was a fast paced game. The visitors had the better of the opportunities in the first half, with Michael Williams and Ed Cribley missing good openings. The Dabbers had the better chances in the 2nd, with Hancock having the best of them. First he saw an overhead kick saved before he hit the inside of the post as the game ticked down. A late Adam Yates chance came and went as neither side could find the breakthrough and both teams had to settle for a draw.
Phil Parkinson made 4 changes from the side that lost to Whitby Town on Saturday. Vinny Mukendi made his first start since returning to the club, replacing Tom Peers. Joe Mwasile, Wayne Riley and Ben Harrison all also came in, taking the spots of Josh Hancock, Sean Cooke and Joel Stair respectively.
Both teams started the game at a fast pace as they looked to control the tempo and get on the front foot early. On 3 minutes, John Johnston got down the right and swung a cross into the box. Mukendi met the ball, but his knock down was scooped up by Gladiators keeper Phil Barnes.
The first chance of the game came 2 minutes later, when Dinanga held off the Dabbers defence and fired well wide. The visitors were starting to get on top and Harrison had to be alert to clear the ball for a corner after Dinanga had gotten in behind the Dabbers defence.
The first set piece was cleared by Mukendi for another corner, but the 2nd almost resulted in a goal for Matlock. The ball dropped nicely for Michael Williams, but with the goal at his mercy, he couldn’t get a clean connection and the ball was eventually cleared.
From another good bit of football from the visitors, Ed Cribley fired wide when he should have hit the target. At the other end, Mwasile put a great cross into the box, but Mukendi couldn’t quite turn the ball home. Mwasile then put Mukendi in down the left, but the resulting cross was straight at Barnes.
Mwasile was causing problems and he saw a shot from distance was blocked after Touray had set him up. Then a Johnston cross was met by Mukendi, but his header back across goal couldn’t find a team mate in the 6 yard box. Mukendi had what was the best chance of the half for the Dabbers when he met a Johnston cross, but could only direct his free header wide of goal.
The Dabbers suffered a blow when Sam Hall went down clutching his ankle. After attempting to run it off, he was forced off, with Hancock coming on to replace him. Curtis Morrison threatened as the first half drew to a close, but Harrison was once again alert to clear the danger. Neither side could find the breakthrough in what had been an entertaining first half.
The Dabbers started the 2nd half brightly, with Hancock having the first sight of goal. He picked up the ball and ran towards goal before shooting straight at Barnes. Adam Yates went into the book for the visitors after barging over Mwasile as he looked to run into the box. From the resulting free kick, Bell beat the wall, but it went wide of the near post.
Hancock, off the back of his spectacular overhead kick goal against Blyth last Tuesday, almost had another. Mukendi knocked the ball down to him and he looped a shot on goal, but Barnes beat the ball away. Matlock were still looking dangerous, as Dwayne Wiley fired well over after a free kick was cleared to the edge of the Dabbers box.
Cribley had the visitors best chance of the 2nd half for the visitors as he cut inside and forced Gyollai into a smart save. The chances continued to come, with Bell putting a shot into the box which Hancock diverted over the bar after stretching for the ball.
With 20 minutes to go, Mukendi came off after a good shift, with Tom Peers coming on to replace him. Another ball into the Matlock box caused a scramble, but nobody in green could force the ball home and the chance was cleared.
The best chance of the game came with 12 minutes to go when Hancock found some space in the box. His shot beat Barnes all ends up, but it hit the inside of the post and bounced away. It was inches away from opening the scoring. At the other end, Morrison wriggled into some space, but his shot was blocked.
Parky made his final change, bringing off Mwasile for Steve Jones as the Dabbers looked for a winner. The final chance of the game came with minutes to go, as a corner into the Dabbers box fell to Yates, but he could only bundle over from close range.
Neither team could find a goal, as both teams had to settle for what could be a useful point come the end of the season.
Nantwich Town: Dan Gyollai, Andy White, Ibou Touray, Curtis Jones, Ben Harrison, Sam Hall(c)(Josh Hancock, 41), John Johnston, Wayne Riley, Vinny Mukendi(Tom Peers, 69), Matt Bell, Joe Mwasile(Steve Jones, 82)
Unused subs: Ryan Brooke, Joel Stair
Matlock Town: Phil Barnes, Liam Marsden, Jake Green, Cleveland Taylor, Adam Yates(c), Dwayne Wiley, Edward Cribley, Michael Williams(Joe Doyle-Charles, 70), Curtis Morrison, Marcus Dinanga, Rhys Sharpe(Jamie Yates, 79)
Unused subs: Marc Newsham, Nico DeGirolamo, Andrew Wright
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