Nantwich Town were held to a frustrating 2-2 draw at home to Barwell as a clinical Canaries side came close to snatching the win. It was a close fought game in the opening 20 minutes, with neither side seeing much goal mouth action. The away side snatched the lead with their first sight of goal as Callum Ball tapped in a rebound on 21 minutes. The Dabbers pushed for a leveller, with Josh Hancock, Wayne Riley and Osebi Abadaki going close. They did manage to draw level on the stroke of half time thanks to a superb effort from Andy White.
In the 2nd half, the Dabbers missed 2 great chances through Joel Stair and Hancock. They were punished by another clinical finish from the side, with Brady Hickey firing in on 58 minutes. The Dabbers fought back though, with Sean Cooke and Hancock both having chances. The pressure once again told as Matt Bell fired home 6 mintues from time. Bell had a chance to win the game, but Castle denied him to ensure the points were shared.
Phil Parkinson made 2 changes from the side that started on Tuesday against Sutton Coldfield, as Ryan Brooke and Wayne Riley replaced Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls and Steve Jones respectively. There was a welcome return for top scorer Sean Cooke, who had missed the last 10 games with a broken bone in his foot. Parky himself was forced to sit in the stands as he served a 1 match touchline ban.
The game got off to a quiet start in chilly conditions at the Weaver Stadium. Neither side could fashion a clear sight of goal, but an Osebi Abadaki cross after 7 minutes the closest either side came to an opening. The first proper attempt came when Brady Hickey trickled a weak shot well wide of Dan Gyollai’s goal. Wayne Riley then had the Dabbers first shot as he worked some space on the right of the box and curled straight at Canaries keeper Liam Castle from a tight angle.
The game burst into life on 20 minutes when Barwell took the lead. Luke Barlone found some space on the left and he drilled a shot on goal, which Gyollai could only parry. The onrushing Callum Ball was waiting to tap home and give the away side the advantage. Barwell threatened a 2nd as Barlone almost got a clean connection on a cross from the left, but he was stretching and could only send the ball high and wide.
The Dabbers afternoon got tougher when Ben Harrison was forced off with an injury on 25 minutes. Joel Stair came on to replace him in a like for like change. To their credit, the Dabbers started to fight back and get a foothold in the game. From a corner, the ball fell to Abadaki on the edge of the box and he fired a shot on goal that deflected just over. A minute later, Bell worked some space on the left and crossed for the unmarked Hancock, but his header went over the bar.
Bell again went close from another corner 10 minutes from half time as he flicked a low ball just wide of Castle’s near post. Barwell’s Cleveland Taylor then went into the book for blocking off Hancock as he looked to get away down the left. The Dabbers were on top and creating chances, with Bell again getting a sight of goal. This time though, he shot on the volley went wide from an awkward height.
The Dabbers looked like their pressure wasn’t going to result in a goal before half time, but they finally made the breakthrough with the last kick of the half. Andy White, who had collected an award for recently playing his 200th game for the club, created some space on the right and bent a superb effort into the top corner past a helpless Castle. It was an excellent finish and deservedly drew the Dabbers level going in to the interval.
In the 2nd half, the Dabbers had an early chance to go infront when the ball fell to Joel Stair in the penalty area from a corner. He couldn’t keep his effort on target and the ball went wide. Abadaki then cleverly beat the offside trap and scampered down the right. His inviting centre for a wide open Hancock wasn’t converted though, with the midfielder shooting off target under pressure from Taylor.
After missing those chances, the Dabbers were punished when Barwell scored a 2nd. Hall clipped his man on the right touchline and from the resulting free kick, the ball dropped to Brady Hickey. He made no mistake from close range, firing into the bottom corner to put the Canaries back in front. Nantwich once again looked for a response, but the Barwell back line was keeping them at bay despite some increasing pressure.
With 20 minutes to go, Neil Sorvel turned to his top scorer, bringing on Cooke for Wayne Riley. His arrival almost had an instant impact, as he swiveled on the edge of the box and shot just wide. Hancock then went close as Abadaki played him the ball on the edge of the box. His curling attempt went a yard over the bar. That was Abadaki’s final contribution in the game as Steve Jones came on to replace him 12 minutes from the end. Hancock had the next sight of goal, he was played in on goal. He beat his man, but Castle was off his line to smother the shot for a corner.
From the resulting corner, a shot from distance was cleared from under their bar by the Canaries defenders as they defended their lead. The Dabbers perservance paid off though as they equalised 6 minutes from time. More good play on the edge of the box from Cooke fed Ryan Brooke. He forced a good save out of Castle, but the ball fell invitingly for Bell, who slammed home the rebound to draw the teams level at 2.
The Dabbers had their tails up and they pushed for a winner. They had one final chance to snatch all 3 points as the ball fell inside the box to goalscorer Bell. This time though he couldn’t beat Castle, shooting straight at him as the chance to win the game came and went. It meant both sides shared the spoils in what had been an entertaining game.
Nantwich Town: Dan Gyollai, Andy White, Ibou Touray, Curtis Jones, Ben Harrison(Joel Stair, 25), Sam Hall(c), Josh Hancock, Wayne Riley(Sean Cooke, 70), Ryan Brooke, Matt Bell, Osebi Abadaki(Steve Jones, 78)
Unused subs: Joe Mwasile, Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls
Goalscorers: White(45), Bell(84)
Barwell: Liam Castle, Cleveland Taylor, Edward Nisevic, Craig Stanley, Liam Kay, Lee Hildreth, Alex Tomkinson(Richard Lavery, 89), Owen Story, Luke Barlone, Brady Hickey(c), Callum Ball
Unused subs: Ryan Baldwin, Samuel Grouse, Declan Towers, Max Smith-Varnam
Goalscorers: Ball(20), Hickey(58)
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