By James Brown:
Nantwich Town started 2019 in disappointing fashion with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Witton Albion at The Weaver Stadium on New Year’s Day.
What turned out to be the winner came with 20 minutes to go when Witton substitute Will Jones took advantage of a Louis Barnes mistake and fired past Will Jaaskelainen courtesy of a slight deflection.
Despite the Dabbers best efforts, luck just wasn’t on their side along with the goalkeeping heroics of Witton keeper Greg Hall who somehow got a hand to James Lawrie’s close range shot with the midfielder inches away from equalising soon after falling behind.
A record season crowd of 956 inside the Weaver watched on as Nantwich struggled to break down a dogged Witton defence in the first half, with Joe Mwasile finding Sean Cooke whose shot went over from close range ten minutes in.
Witton’s main threat came from Rob Hopley and James Foley, with the latter having a free-kick comfortably saved by Jaaskelainen as the cagey opening continued. The Dabbers were getting themselves into good areas thanks to some good link-up play however weren’t finding the target with several shots from the likes of Caspar Hughes and Joe Malkin being deflected wide.
Barnes was denied by the impressive Hall before a Nathan Cotterell effort was drilled over as Nantwich ended the half the better side but not able to make a breakthrough.
The Dabbers continued to apply pressure as the second half began, with Hall making a great save to tip Malkin’s looping header over the bar. Heading towards the hour mark, Witton should have been down to ten men when Billy Smart committed an atrocious tackle, following through on Barnes over the ball with his studs up but somehow escaping with only a yellow.
Ten minutes after that event, Witton found themselves in front after the Dabbers were very sloppy in possession in their own half. Jaaskelainen’s weak pass out to Barnes put the full-back under pressure by Hopley, forcing a mistake which substitute Jones capitalised on, firing past the Nantwich keeper at his near post via the boot of Joel Stair.
The Dabbers response was positive with substitute Callum Saunders testing Hall with one of his first touches. That was followed by a guilt edged opportunity which was their best chance to pull level when Lawrie’s close-range shot was kept out by a fantastic Hall save.
Witton dealt with the Nantwich pressure, making important interceptions to prevent Lawrie and Joe Malkin attempts. Hall was on hand to secure the points for Witton, denying Malkin again in the final five minutes to sum up a frustrating afternoon for the Dabbers.
Nantwich Town: Will Jaaskelainen, Jamie Morgan, Louis Barnes, Joel Stair, Toby Mullarkey, Caspar Hughes (c), Joe Mwasile (Danny Glover 85’), James Lawrie, Joe Malkin, Sean Cooke, Nathan Cotterell (Callum Saunders 70’)
Subs not used: Troy Bourne, Declan O’Riordan, Luke Walsh
Witton Albion: Greg Hall, Anthony Gardner, Matty Devine, Josh Wardle, River Humphreys, Will Booth, Billy Smart (Danny McKenna 62’), Tom Owens, Rob Hopley (c), Jordan Cobley (Will Jones 54’), James Foley
Subs not used: James Yates, Cesaire Lingouba
Referee: Mr Daniel Hitchell
Photos courtesy of Mark Welton« Back to all news