Nantwich Town progressed to the last 4 of the Cheshire Senior Cup after they beat local neighbours 1874 Northwich 3-1 at the Weaver Stadium.
They had to be patient in a frustrating first half in which clear chances were at a premium. They eventually got their reward when a Sean Cooke corner was headed in 4 minutes from half time by Ben Harrison. But they were immediately pegged back, as a clearance hit the referee and fell to Tyler Edwards, who rifled a 25 yard shot into the bottom corner.
In the 2nd half though, the Dabbers stepped up the tempo and went back in front through Ryan Brooke, who celebrated the birth of his 2nd child with a well take finish on 51 minutes. The Dabbers put the game beyond their opponents with a 3rd on the hour mark, as Ben Harrison added his 2nd of the night from another Cooke set peice. They could have added to their lead, but in the end, 3 goals were enough to see off the tenacious 1874 and meant the Dabbers moved on to the Semi-Finals.
Phil Parkinson named an almost full strength starting XI to face 1874 Northwich, with only 3 changes from the side that started against Sutton Coldfield Town on Saturday. Brooke returned after missing Saturday to attend the birth of his child. He started upfront, whilst Ibou Touray replaced Curtis Jones in defence. Oscar Durnin was handed his full debut as he looked to impress the management and earn a longer stay with the club.
The Dabbers were the first to cause some trouble as a corner dropped into the box and a scramble ensued before the ball was cleared to safety. Cooke then put a free kick wide of the post with 1874 keeper Greg Hall watching it all the way.
The first good chance came on 10 minutes when Cooke released Brooke on the right of goal. He advanced on goal and shot from the edge of the area, but his shot lacked power and Hall gathered it comfortably. The Dabbers were starting to control possession and the territory, but 1874 were hitting them on the break every chance they got.
The game remained scrappy, with the final ball letting both sides down as they got near the penalty area. Sam Hall put a shot well over before Cooke tested Hall with a shot from 25 yards, which the keeper had to push past the post. Cooke was at the centre of the Dabbers best moves and he again let fly, but dragged a left footed shot wide of goal.
The game burst into life in the last 10 minutes of the half. First Durnin went made a late foul on the touchline and then Wayne Riley went into the book for a lunge on Joe Wooley. The yellow cards were evened up when one Joel fouled another, as Joel Douglas caught Joel Stair and saw yellow from the ref.
After a number of corners, the Dabbers finally got the breakthrough their possession had deserved when a well flighted delivery from Cooke was met by Ben Harrison and the towering defender put a perfectly placed header past Hall and in off the post. It gave the Dabbers the lead as half time approached.
However, after getting ahead, they were pegged back within 2 minutes. A free kick into the Dabbers box was cleared, but the ball hit the ref on the edge of the area and fell into the path of 1874 winger Tyler Edwards.
He turned and fired first time through a crowd of bodies, finding the bottom corner with an excellent finish. It drew 1874 level and stunned the Dabbers, who had not been tested defensively up until that point. Mwasile tried to respond shortly before half time, but he could only shoot wide.
After a regroup at the break, the Dabbers came out for the 2nd half clearly determined to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Mwasile again found some space, cutting inside before shooting low at the near post. Hall was down quickly to save his shot.
Hall had no chance with the Dabbers next effort, as quick interplay between Mwasile and Brooke saw the latter get the ball with room to shoot. He made no mistake, curling superbly into the far corner to put the home side back in front. Parky made his first sub immediately following the goal, as Durnin was replaced by Nathan Cottrell.
After a lull in play, the Dabbers grabbed a 3rd just before the hour mark. It was the same combination as the first goal. Another Cooke set piece, this time a free kick, was swung into the box and a glancing header from Ben Harrison beat Hall and went in off the post. That gave the Dabbers a 2 goal advantage that they never looked like relinquishing.
Parky again made a quick sub following the goal, as midfielder Joe Howell came on for his debut, replacing Wayne Riley. The final sub came shortly afterwards as Andy White got in a tangle going for a high ball and he landed awkwardly on his ankle. Troy Bourne came on to replace him.
The Dabbers looked for a 4th to truly kill the game off and Cooke again went close, curling wide of the post from the edge of the box. From another Nantwich break, 1874 captain Matt Woolley went into the book for a cynical trip on Mwasile as he looked to get down the left.
Cooke was in the thick of the action and from another Dabbers attack, he fed Cottrell, who cut inside and shot straight at Hall. Ibou Touray was next to test Hall, being fed by Mwasile down the left and bursting into the box. His shot was again straight at the keeper.
1874 weren’t going away to their credit, as they forced a bit of pressure with just over 10 minutes to go. The Dabbers defence held firm though and at the other end, Brooke forced an excellent save from Hall down low to his left. Cottrell was then played in after a deft lob from Cooke, but his own chipped effort bounced wide of the post.
1874 kept pushing, showing the determination that has seen them move to within a few points of top spot in the North West Counties Premier Division. They couldn’t fashion any chances though, as the Dabbers closed the game out with a minimal amount of fuss to progress into the next round.
Nantwich Town: Dan Gyollai, Andy White(Troy Bourne, 63), Ibou Touray, Joel Stair, Ben Harrison, Sam Hall(c), Oscar Durnin(Nathan Cottrell, 51), Wayne Riley(Joe Howell, 59), Ryan Brooke, Joe Mwasile
Unused subs: Krystian Burzynski, Danny Griggs
Goalscorers: Harrison(41, 59), Brooke(51)
1874 Northwich: Greg Hall, Paul Connor, Matt Russell, Ryan Mitchell, Craig Farnworth, Sam Hare, Joel Douglas, Matt Woolley(c), Scott McGowan, Tyler Edwards, Joe Woolley
Unused subs: Mark Jones, Thomas Bailey
Booking: Douglas, M.Woolley
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