By James Brown:
The Dabbers made it two wins from three games and remained unbeaten with a comprehensive 5-2 victory over Lancaster City at the Weaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A first-half brace from Callum Saunders that included an well-struck volley was followed up by a first Dabbers goal for Danny Glover who unleashed a rocket from thirty yards out to make it a comfortable 3-0 lead at the break.
Lancaster came out fighting in the second half and replied with two quick-fire goals from Robert Wilson and Sam Bailey, before Glover netted his second of the game to give Nantwich some breathing room once more with ten minutes to go.
The game wasn’t over as James Lawrie was shown a second yellow card for bringing down a Lancaster player in the box, however, Will Jaaskelainen made a superb save to keep the Dabbers two goals ahead.
Man of the Match Saunders rounded off his hat-trick in added time to complete a second win of the season and a five-star performance.
Manager Dave Cooke made one change from the side which drew 0-0 with Buxton on Tuesday, welcoming back Louis Barnes to the starting line-up with Nathan Cotterell dropping to the bench.
Lancaster began the game seeing more of the ball, however the opening attack from the Dabbers brought with it the opening goal on eight minutes as a Joe Mwasile cross was headed on by Danny Glover into the path of Callum Saunders, who thumped the ball home on the volley. A slight setback took place moments before the goal as Joel Stair pulled up with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Nathan Cotterell.
It was to be a double injury blow for Nantwich inside the opening ten minutes as Louis Barnes received a blow to his head and required lengthy treatment before Craig Lindfield came on in his place. That didn’t stop the flowing Dabbers attacks as a great strike from James Lawrie heading towards the top corner was well-saved by Lancaster ‘keeper Aiden Stone before Glover saw his header also kept out.
With nine minutes left of the opening half, Saunders scored his and Nantwich’s second of the afternoon after a superb ball from Cotterell completely took the Lancaster defence out of the game, finding the run of the striker who finished well under the keeper. The visitors had an opportunity to pull one back straight away, however Wilson struck the post. Almost immediately after at the other end, Glover was denied by another good save from Stone.
Moments before the half-time whistle, it was 3-0 to the men in green. A fantastic strike from Glover more than thirty yards from goal rocketed into the roof of the net for his first goal as a Dabber. It could, and perhaps should have been four at the break when Glover played in Saunders who beat the offside trap but couldn’t find the bottom corner, dragging his effort just wide.
A good chance came for Glover to score his second in the early stages of the second half from a corner which saw an audacious overhead volley kept out by the fingertips of Stone. That save proved pivotal as Lancaster got themselves on the scoresheet soon after, when the Dabbers switched off at the back, which allowed a ball to be played to the edge of the box for Wilson to fire past Jaaskelainen.
It was well and truly game on two minutes after the hour when the visitors grabbed their second, as a corner fell kindly for Sam Bailey who used the outrushing Dabbers defenders to curl into the bottom corner. Wes Fletcher went close to equalising as the poor start to the half for Nantwich continued, firing wide from a tight angle.
The Dabbers took time to settle in the second half, but once they did, Lancaster struggled to deal with the fast-paced counters as they committed more men forward. Following some good work from Mwasile, Glover was able to add another to his tally for the day, rising highest from a corner to head home and give Nantwich some much-needed breathing space. That joy was short-lived as the visitors were given a chance to respond moments later when Lawrie brought a man down in the box and was shown his second yellow card, which meant the Dabbers had to play with ten men for the final five minutes.
Ryan Wynder stepped up for Lancaster but was denied by a superb Jaaskelainen save down low to his left, making a brilliant two handed stop. Despite that save, the pressure was still being applied as the visitors desperately looked for a goal with Craig Stanley coming closest after heading against the bar.
However the points were safe in the fifth minute of added time as Saunders completed his well deserved hat-trick when a poor back-pass from Glenn Steel was pounced on and drilled into the bottom corner.
That proved to be the final action of the game as Nantwich move to the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division after their superb victory.
The games come thick and fast for the Dabbers as we make the short trip to face Witton Albion on Bank Holiday Monday, before Dave Cooke’s side make the long trip up north to face South Shields at Mariners Park on Saturday afternoon. Both fixtures will have a 3.00pm kickoff.
Nantwich Town: Jaaskelainen, Morgan, Barnes (Lindfield 10’), Stair (Cotterell 9’), Bourne, Mullarkey, Mwasile, Hughes (c), Glover (McDonald 88’), Saunders, Lawrie (off 85′)
Subs not used: Hawkins (GK), Malkin
Lancaster City: Stone, Hudson, Dugdale, Wills (c), Stanley, Steel, S. Bailey (C. Bailey 72’),Wilson, Fletcher (McLean 76’), Baker (Williams 88’), Wynder
Subs not used: Fensome, Russell
Referee: Mr D Croft