By Ryan Batty:
A brace from James Lawrie helped Nantwich Town pull off one of their best performances in a long time as they put four past Whitby Town at the Weaver Stadium on an overcast afternoon in South Cheshire.
Lawrie grabbed one in each half, before Joel Stair made a foul in the box that awarded Whitby a penalty, that Junior Mondal converted. The Dabbers showed superb resilience from being pegged back as Joe Mwasile and Nathan Cotterell added one apiece to complete the scoring.
Manager Dave Cooke made one change from the side that beat Worksop last weekend, as Toby Mullarkey returned to the side, as Jamie Morgan was dropped to the bench.
The Dabbers could have taken the lead after three minutes, as Callum Saunders made a neat run down the right-hand side and was able to turn the corner of his full-back marker on the edge of the box. He cut inside and attempted to link up with Danny Glover, but a lack of communication between the pair saw a shooting opportunity cleared away.
A neat move down the left a moment later saw Cotterell glide past his opponent, before laying it off to Aaron Knight. Knight found Caspar Hughes in space, but the captain was unable to get a shot away.
Whitby made a run down the left with Mondal who put a shot in towards Jaaskelainen, who parried the shot initially before collecting it well.
Nantwich enjoyed a few good chances at goal after eight minutes as Jimmy Beadle was put in the book after a late challenge. Lawrie floated the free-kick, which had been set at around thirty yards from goal on the left, towards the back post; Adam McHugh spilled before conceding a corner that went to nothing.
Saunders had two chances soon after, but the Seasiders were able to prevent the Welshman from scoring, which was credit to the visitors as Saunders had hit a good effort goalwards, which was only stopped by McHugh’s great save.
Whitby’s first major chance came after eighteen minutes as a corner into the box found Matthew Tymon, whose header beat Jaaskelainen, but Joel Stair’s superb header on the line kept the game scoreless.
After twenty-three minutes, Nantwich took the lead. Saunders took a crack towards goal that was initially blocked, before Jimmy Lawrie picked it up on the edge of the box and curled it straight past the outstretched hand of McHugh and into the back of the net.
Just after the half-hour mark, Glover had it on his head and tried to bring the ball down, but there were two Whitby men on him to prevent the danger that the striker posed. However, a moment later, the ball dropped to Matt Bell who fired towards goal, but McHugh was able to save.
Ten minutes later, Whitby had perhaps their best chance of the game, as Lawson found Tymon, whose low effort had many believing it had beaten Jaaskelainen, but the young keeper somehow got down to get a hand to it before the men in green were able to clear away.
Despite two minutes of added time, the two sides went into the break with Nantwich ahead by a goal.
There was no changes by either side at the break, as Mondal went through on goal early in the second, but his ball into Tymon was cleared away.
After fifty-one minutes, Saunders’ cross into the box was deflected into the path of Lawrie, who powerfully slammed the ball home on the bounce to extend the Dabbers’ lead.
Seven minutes later, Whitby grabbed one back as Stair fouled Tymon in the area, which left referee Mr Darren Rodgers with no choice but to award the visitors a penalty. Mondal stepped up, and sent Jaaskelainen the wrong way to slot home.
Straight after the goal, manager Dave Cooke made his first substitution of the afternoon, replacing Danny Glover with Joe Mwasile.
Moments after the hour mark, Toby Mullarkey embarked on a driving run towards goal from defence, beating a defender or two, before hitting one towards goal – though it was deflected and cleared away.
With twenty-five minutes to go, Saunders was brought down from the stray arm of Andrew Monkhouse. The Whitby man was shown a yellow card after some throwing of handbags on the halfway line between the two sides.
Cotterell could have scored his goal earlier on as he made a lovely run down the left, cutting into the box, before beating the keeper. Whitby were only saved by the shot smacking off the post.
The Dabbers made their second change after seventy minutes, as Joe Malkin replaced Callum Saunders.
A moment later, Nantwich extended their lead as Joe Mwasile made a lovely run through the middle, weaving through oncoming defenders before hitting a left-footed effort towards goal that slotted straight under the legs of McHugh.
Both sides made changes soon after, as Sean Cooke replaced Aaron Knight for the Dabbers, while Jack Vaulks came on for Carl Lawson for the Blues.
With fifteen minutes to go, Nantwich could have had a fourth as a free-kick twenty-two yards from goal was curled over the wall, but McHugh’s outstretched arm tipped it over the bar, which was all that prevented James Lawrie from a hat-trick.
Kieran Parnaby replaced Josh Nearney after seventy-six minutes for the visitors.
With eight minutes to go, Nantwich turned on the style, with rabonas and flicks into the box as Cooke and Lawrie linked up, but Mwasile couldn’t get his effort away.
With five minutes to go, there were shouts for a Whitby penalty as Cotterell went to take a swing at the ball, but his foot ended up hitting a Whitby man in the area, but the referee waved away all protests.
Cotterell ended up scoring his goal a few minutes later, as the full-back went for a cross towards the back post that dipped over McHugh into the top corner, a truly spectacular goal.
Despite four minutes of added time, there was no further chances for either side as Nantwich took home all three points at the Weaver Stadium.
The Dabbers are back in action this Tuesday, as they host Chasetown in the League Cup for a 7.45pm kickoff. They are back in FA Cup action next weekend against Blyth Spartans in the Second Round Qualifying stage, for a 3.00pm kickoff at the Weaver Stadium
Nantwich: Jaaskelainen, Bourne, Cotterell, Stair, Mullarkey, Hughes (C), Lawrie, Bell, Glover (Mwasile 59′), Saunders (Malkin 69′), Knight (Cooke 71′)
Subs not used: Morgan, S. Jones
Whitby: McHugh, Nearney (Parnaby 76′), McWilliams, Weledji (C), Monkhouse, White, Gell, Beadle, Mondal, Tymon, Lawson (Vaulks 73′)
Subs not used: Rodham, Wilson, McTiernan
Ref: Mr Darren Rodgers
Barrel and Tap Man of the Match: James Lawrie
Photos courtesy of Mark Welton
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