Nantwich Town continued their push for the play offs as they beat a spiritied Ashton United, winning 3-2 at the Weaver Stadium. On a warm and sunny afternoon, the Dabbers knew only a win would do to keep the chasing pack at bay.
They made a bright start, but the Robins started to grow into the game. The Dabbers got the all important first goal as Joe Mwasile latched onto a ball over the top and calmly lobbed Ashton keeper Luke Pilling, scoring his 5th of the season. The Dabbers doubled their lead 7 minutes before half time when a corner was missed by Pilling and it hit the unfortunate Mark Lees and rolled in.
In the 2nd half, the Robins came out much brighter and started the turn up the pressure on the Dabbers. They had a goal back shortly before the hour mark as Dan Gyollai could only spill a tricky shot from Matty Chadwick into the path of Ryan Crowther, who turned home from close range. Both sides had chances after that, but it was Steve Jones who came off the bench to give the Dabbers breathing space. He picked up a through ball and calmly lifted the ball past Pilling with just minutes to go.
Within 60 seconds Ashton hit back. A spot of pin ball in the Dabbers box eventually saw Chadwick smash an effort on goal. It took several deflections and eventually hit Wayne Riley on the line before bouncing in. Despite a nervy last few minutes, the Dabbers held on for a vital 3 points.
Phil Parkinson made 2 changes from the side that pushing Crewe Alexandra all the way on Wednesday, with Josh Hancock and Joe Mwasile returning to the starting XI. Steve Jones and Osebi Abadaki dropped to the subs bench, with Vinny Mukendi replacing Tom Peers in the squad.
The Dabbers started the game on the front foot, controlling possession early on. Ashton had the first chance of the game though, as the ball fell to Lee Knight inside the box. He couldn’t keep his shot down and put the effort well over the bar.
The away side started growing into the game and getting more of the ball. From a long range free kick, top scorer Chadwick curled an effort on goal, but Gyollai punched the ball away for a corner. The Dabbers were threatening at the other end, as Brooke couldn’t quite turn home a Hancock cross. The home side couldn’t quite find the final ball, but on 17 minutes they did.
A ball over the top set Mwasile away on goal. He then calmly lifted the ball past Pilling to put the Dabbers in front. That got the home sides tails up and they searched for a 2nd. A Brooke cross was turned behind for a corner as the Dabbers turned up the pressure. Hancock had a good chance to extend the lead when he headed a Mwasile cross straight at the keeper, but the offside flag was up.
Mwasile dragged a shot wide whilst Touray got in down the left and forced Pilling into a smart save at his near post. The Dabbers pressure tolled and they doubled their lead from a corner. The ball was floated in and Pilling missed it whilst jumping with Ben Harrison. The ball hit the unfortunate Robins captain Mark Lees and rolled in from close range.
The chances continued to come from the Dabbers as half time approached. Pilling had to tip a corner over under pressure from Curtis Jones and Brooke couldn’t connect on an over head kick when the ball dropped to him in the box. The Dabbers did take a 2 goal advantage into the break.
Ashton started the 2nd half brightly and almost caught the Dabbers out early on, but Ben Harrison cleared for a corner after the Robins had numbers forward. Sub Richard Smith went into the book for persistent fouling barely 10 minutes after coming on. Chadwick then looked in some difficulty after going down injured. He was ok to continue and minutes later, he had a big part to play in Ashton getting a goal back.
He curled a shot on goal and Gyollai was unable to hold onto his effort at full stretch. The ball fell nicely for Ryan Crowther, who followed in and tapped in from close range. The Dabbers hit back after seeing their lead reduced. Hancock played in Brooke, but his bobbling shot went just wide. At the other end, Crowther hit a shot on goal which Gyollai got down quickly to save.
The Robins were pressing forward as they searched for an equaliser. Parky made 2 quick subs, as Steve Jones and Vinny Mukendi came on for Joe Mwasile and Brooke. White had the next chance as he got in down the right, cut inside and shot straight at Pilling. Hancock then curled a free kick wide of goal.
Mukendi had 2 good chances to extend the Dabbers lead as he first saw a close range shot saved by Pilling after good work from Bell set him up. He then put a free header from a corner wide of the post. From another corner, Harrison nodded back into the danger area and Curtis Jones tried an overhead kick which went wide.
The Dabbers looked to have put the game to bed late on when a through ball set Steve Jones away on goal. He showed the Robins defence a clean pair of heels and lifted the ball past Pilling for his 11th of the season. But just as the game looked safe, Ashton hit back and scored a 2nd. The ball bounced around the home sides box before eventually reaching Chadwick. He volleyed on goal and after several deflections, the ball rebounded in off the unfortunate Wayne Riley for an own goal.
That set up a nervy finish, but there were thankfully no more chances as the Dabbers ran down the clock and picked up another important 3 points in their push for promotion.
Nantwich Town: Dan Gyollai, Andy White, Ibou Touray, Curtis Jones, Ben Harrison, Sam Hall(c), Josh Hancock, Wayne Riley, Ryan Brooke(Vinny Mukendi, 71), Matt Bell, Joe Mwasile(Steve Jones, 73)
Unused subs: Sean Cooke, Joel Stair, Osebi Abadaki
Goalscorers: Mwasile(17), Smalley(38, OG), S.Jones(89)
Ashton United: Luke Pilling, Dominic Smalley, Josh Stachini(Cavell Coo, 88), Stephen Mason, Simon Woodford, Mark Lees(c), Charlie Duke(Domineco Maiese, 69), John Roberts(Richard Smith, 45)
Unused subs: Benito Lowe, Jody Banim
Goalscorers: Crowther(58), Riley(90, OG)
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