By James Brown:
A Steve Jones header inside the final minute saw Nantwich Town earn a last-gasp 3-2 win over Marine AFC at the Weaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Following an early Craig Carney effort being saved by Will Jaaskelainen on his first appearance since returning to the club on loan from Crewe Alexandra, the Dabbers took the lead after three minutes of what was an electric start to the game, when Sean Cooke caught Marine keeper Patrick Wharton off his line with a sweetly struck half volley from 30-yards out.
Despite Marine looking for a swift reply, they were quickly 2-0 down on seven minutes when another blistering attack caught the visitors cold. Cooke’s ball out to Nathan Cotterell on the left was then crossed towards the back post and met with a bullet header from Joe Mwasile.
Both sides had chances to add to the scoreline before half-time, with Chris Sang testing Jaaskelainen before Mwasile and Danny Glover were denied by Wharton to keep the Dabbers lead at two.
After a relatively comfortable first half for Nantwich, the second was anything but. Marine came out firing and pulled a goal back after 66 minutes when substitute James Murray turned home a Sang cross after he looked to have fouled Joel Stair.
A matter of minutes later the visitors found themselves level, leaving the Dabbers shell-shocked. Some mis-communication at the back allowed Steven Irwin to get on the end of a cross and head past the outstretched arm of Jaaskelainen.
The final 20 minutes was very much end-to-end football with shots going in left, right and centre. Louis Barnes fizzed a well struck effort over the bar while Marine substitutes Murray and John Marsden were causing the Nantwich defence plenty of problems.
Heading into added time came the defining moment of the game. A lung busting run from Toby Mullarkey beat three Marine players before playing in Dabbers substitute Joe Malkin on the left by-line who delivered a pinpoint cross which found Steve Jones who headed past a helpless Wharton ten minutes after coming on himself to win it at the death.
An important win for Nantwich who go three unbeaten and with Scarborough’s defeat, closed the gap at the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division to just a single point with a trip to Whitby Town next up on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Nantwich Town: Will Jaaskelainen, Jamie Morgan, Louis Barnes, Joel Stair (c), Toby Mullarkey, Matt Bell, Joe Mwasile (Callum Saunders 87’), James Lawrie, Danny Glover (Joe Malkin 66’), Sean Cooke, Nathan Cotterell (Steve Jones 78’)
Subs not used: James Hawkins (GK), Troy Bourne
Marine AFC: Patrick Wharton, Sam Tattum, James Joyce, Danny Shaw, James Short, Craig Carney, Finlay Sinclair-Smith (John Marsden 62’), Steven Irwin, Danny Mitchley (c) (James Murray 56’), Chris Sang, Charley Edge
Subs not used: Dapo Kayode, Germano Mendes (GK)
Referee: Mr Scott Chalkley
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