Nantwich Town progressed to the final of the Cheshire Senior Cup and a date with Crewe Alexandra as they beat Warrington Town 5-3 on penalties at the Weaver Stadium. The game had finished 0-0 after extra time, with neither team able to grab a goal through 120 minutes of football.
The Dabbers struggled to get to grips with the fast energy and pace of the Yellows for large parts of the game, as the away side pushed them all the way. There were mostly half chances in the first half, with Josh Hancock having the Dabbers best effort, side footing straight at the keeper from close range.
In the 2nd half, neither team could muster a single clear chance and despite their best efforts, the sides went into extra time. The Dabbers shaded the first half of extra time and could have led, but Steve Jones shot straight at the keeper when clean through. In the 2nd half, more half chances came and went for both teams, with neither side managing a goal and having to settle for the lottery of the penalty shoot out.
Danny Ventre missed Warrington’s first spot kick and the Dabbers were perfect, scoring 5 out of 5 to progress to the final after a marathon night at the Weaver Stadium. It was harsh on Warrington, who had arguably been the better team in the game. But nevertheless, the Dabbers progressed and now wait their date for the final.
Phil Parkinson signalled his intent before the game, naming a side that contained just 2 changes from the team that started their last league game against Coalville Town. Hancock started his first game since his return from injury whilst Ryan Brooke returned upfront in place of Tom Peers. Warrington left recent goalscoring sensation Ruben Jerome out of the squad, with centre back James McCarten also missing out.
The game was a slow burner for most of the first half, with the chances being mostly pot shots from range. Warrington started the brighter of the 2 sides though, looking quick and energetic. Lewis Codling was the first to shoot on goal, but the effort went well wide.
Codling then had another go from distance and once again, it flew well wide. The Dabbers started the game under the cosh and were struggling to make any inroads going forward. Efforts from distance was a growing theme as both defence remained steadfast. Sean Williams and Scott Harries both had chances for the away side, but they didn’t test Gyollai. Johnston then had the first sight of goal for the Dabbers as he cut inside on the left and dragged an attempt well wide of the near post.
Hancock then found Andy White with a superb cross field pass. White cut inside and his drilled shot on goal was blocked by John Shaw. The Dabbers were showing sparks of life and after being under pressure for most of the half, they went close to going in front. Ibou Touray beat several opposition defenders before putting a low cross into the box. Hancock met the ball, but his side footed effort was superbly saved by McMillan.
There were more half chances to end the half. Williams forced a low save from Gyollai from distance whilst Touray also put a long range effort at McMillan at the other end. The final noteworthy effort of the half came when Harries got down the left and put in a superb ball for Danny Hattersley. Under pressure from Joel Stair, his header looped into the arms of Gyollai.
What had been a scrappy first half ended goalless, with the away side shading things. Parky made a change at half time, bringing off Sean Cooke for Wayne Riley.
The first chance of the 2nd half went to the Dabbers, as Bell picked up the ball in the box and shot on goal. McMillan did well to hold his fierce effort. There were more promising signs from the Dabbers and Johnston beat several men on the left wing. He cut into the box and shot on goal, but it was blocked for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Hancock flicked the header on goal, but it deflected over. Warrington soon found their feet after the break, with Josh Askew showing some serious speed down the left. The Dabbers were forced into some hasty defending, with both Ben Harrison and Joel Stair having to make blocks and clearances to deny the visitors.
On the hour mark, Parky made his 2nd change, bringing on Steve Jones for Hancock. The Dabbers started to get a bit of pressure as they linked some moves together. Johnston hit a dipping effort over the bar and was proving an outlet down the left. Mitch Duggan went into the book for the visitors after catching Stair late.
Ben Harrison went on one of his trademark mazy runs into the Yellows half and laid the ball off to Johnston. His cross into the box was met by Brooke, who headed over. Johnston then whipped a dangerous looking ball into the box, but nobody in green could turn the ball home. The Dabbers made their final change as Bell came off for Tom Peers.
Johnston was continuing to cause problems and see saw a goal bound shot blocked by Shaw. There were strong shouts for handball against Shaw, but the referee wasn’t interested. Steve Jones then almost pounced on a loose back pass from Shaw to McMillan, but he couldn’t get the ball round the keeper and the chance came and went. Johnston had the final chance of the 90 minutes when his low shot was well saved by McMillan.
The Dabbers had the first, and their best, chance of the game 4 minutes into extra time when Jones was played in behind by Brooke. He could only stab straight at McMillan. There was a moment of controversy minutes later when Peers looked to have broken clear of the Warrington defence. Evan Gumbs made what looked to be a great back track and tackle, but the referee blew for a foul on the edge of the area.
He showed Gumbs a yellow card, despite the fact the Warrington defender seemed to have won the ball cleanly. From the free kick, Peers drilled just wide. Hall then volleyed over from another bouncing ball and Shaw flicked a header wide from a corner at the other end.
In the 2nd half, the Dabbers best chance came when Brooke won the ball on the right hand side of the Warrington box. His pull back to a wide open Peers was off the mark though and the opportunity went begging. Warrington turned up the pressure in the final 10 minutes of the game, winning several corners and dominating the ball. The Dabbers defence held firm though as they denied the Yellows any clear sights of goal.
Johnston went into the book for knocking the ball away in frustration at a free kick award against him and Yellows sub Andy Lewis had the final chance of the game, shooting just wide of goal from distance. Neither team could find that elusive goal and it meant the game had to be decided by penalties.
Ben Harrison surprisingly stepped up and superbly scored the Dabbers first penalty, smashing it into the bottom corner. The Yellows first taker Danny Ventre skied his penalty and it gave the Dabbers the early advantage. 6 more successful penalties in succession put the Dabbers 4-3 after 4 each. Ryan Brooke, John Johnston and Andy White scored for the Dabbers whilst Michael Monaghan, Danny Hattersley and Dylan Vassallo netted for the visitors. Vassallo almost saw his penalty saved by Gyollai, but it just got past the Dabbers stopper.
Ibou Touray took the final Dabbers penalty and he sent McMillan to wrong way to make it 5 perfect penalties from 5 and it put Nantwich through to the final and a date with their local neighbours.
Nantwich Town: Dan Gyollai, Andy White, Ibou Touray, Joel Stair, Ben Harrison, Sam Hall(c), John Johnston, Matt Bell(Tom Peers, 82), Ryan Brooke, Sean Cooke(Wayne Riley, 45), Josh Hancock(Steve Jones, 60)
Unused subs: Joe Mwasile, Troy Bourne
Bookings: Riley, Johnston
Penalty Takers: Harrison, Brooke, Johnston, White, Touray
Warrington Town: Tony McMillan, Mitch Duggan(Andrew Lewis, 76), Josh Askew, Sean Williams(Danny Ventre, 105), John Shaw, Evan Gumbs, Dylan Vassallo, Billy Smart, Danny Hattersley, Lewis Codling(Michael Monaghan, 52), Scott Harries
Bookings: Duggan, Gumbs
Penalty Takers: Ventre(Missed), Monaghan, Hattersley, Vassallo
Highlights(Doesn’t contain the penalty shoot out):« Back to all news