Match Report: Nantwich Town 3-3 A.F.C. Fylde


Jack Jones gives his match report from a breathless game at the Weaver Stadium

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Nantwich Town and Conference North side A.F.C. Fylde played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Weaver Stadium on a wet and soggy afternoon in South Cheshire. The Dabbers found themselves 2-0 up at half time thanks to a brace from Steve Jones. Jonny Kapend added a third just after half time before Fylde hit back with 3 goals of their own to earn a draw.

Dabbers boss Phil Parkinson once again named a mixed team containing both trialists and first team players. Curtis Jones made his first start since joining the Dabbers permanently, with Ben Harrison and Mat Bailey anchoring the defence alongside Ibou Touray. Matt Bell also made his first appearance of the pre-season and started alongside Sam Hall in midfield. Trialists Dom Smith, Niall Flint and Jonny Kapend featured as they sought to impress Parky as they started upfront alongside veteran forward Steve Jones. Youth team players Kieran Smith, Cal Jones and Sam Dodd were named on the bench, as was new signing Tim Sanders, who made his first appearance on a Dabbers team sheet.

The first half started with Fylde looking to control possession and dictate the tempo of the game. Ex-Crewe Alex winger Brendan Daniels was an early target for the away side, as they looked to get him on the ball. Curtis Jones had to be on his toes to keep Daniels under wraps as the Dabbers kept their defensive shape well. After 7 minutes, the Dabbers were ahead with the first chance of the game. A mistake in the Fylde defence put Steve Jones in on goal with just the keeper to beat. He was able to lift the ball past Paul White in the Fylde goal to give the Dabbers an early lead.

Fylde immediately looked to hit back, forcing the Dabbers into some hasty defending. Daniels continued to cause problems with his skill and crossing, linking up well with Stephen Crainey on the left wing for the away side. They were starting to control the territory as they dominated possession as the first half wore on. To their credit, the Nantwich defence were keeping Fylde at arms length and not allowing them any time or space to create chances.

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Midway through the 1st half, Jason Gilchrist went down under a challenge from Parton, but the half hearted Fylde appeals for a penalty went unanswered from the ref. After 30 minutes, Parky made an early change, with Dom Smith coming off for Josh Gordon. Gilchrist had the next chance of the game as he headed a cross from Daniels straight at Parton. With 6 minutes to go until half time, the Dabbers made another change, with Wayne Riley coming on for Niall Flint.

The Dabbers then doubled their advantage just before half time, as a through ball was deflected into the path of a wide open Steve Jones. He showed his composure to round White and slot into an empty net to give the Dabbers a 2-0 lead at half time. Nantwich had shown their clinical nature in the first 45 as they restricted Fylde to very few chances.

After an excellent first half, the Dabbers were unsurprisingly unchanged at half time. 4 minutes into the 2nd half and the home side extended their lead. The ball broke to Jonny Kapend on the right hand side of the penalty area and he smashed a superb strike into the roof of the net past a helpless White. It was an excellent finish from the trialist. Immediately after the goal, youth team players Cal Jones and Sam Dodd made their first pre-season appearances in place of Ben Harrison and Matt Bell as the Dabbers once again reshuffled their line up.

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A minute later and the Dabbers could have had a fourth. Steve Jones was denied his hat trick by White and Dodd was also foiled. On 56 minutes, Jones was again played through on goal and got to the ball ahead of the onrushing White, clipping the ball past him. White caught Jones, sending him sprawling. White received a yellow card and Gordon hit the subsequent free kick straight at him. Jones was then brought off for Theo Stair after an excellent display.

Fylde made a number of changes, bringing on former Crewe Alex and Dabbers player Caspar Hughes, along with key players Sam Finley and Danny Rowe. Meanwhile, Dabbers captain Sam Hall came off for Kieran Smith. 2 minutes after the changes, Fylde had a goal back. Quick footwork by Rowe created some space and he curled a superb finish into the top corner. 2 minutes later and Fylde scored again, as Finley dispossessed Josh Gordon and weaved his way through the Dabbers defence before slotting under Parton to cut the lead to just 1.

Fylde had their tails up and pushed hard for an equaliser as the Dabbers sought to hold onto their now slender lead. With 15 minutes to go though, Fylde drew level. A free kick from the edge of the penalty hit the wall and deflected right into the path of Matt Blinkhorn, who calmly put the ball under Parton to equalise for the Coasters. Fylde pressed for a winner, but the Dabbers back line kept them out until the final whistle to earn a creditable draw.

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Nantwich Town Starting XI: Parton, Curtis Jones, Bailey, Harrison, Touray, Bell, Hall(c), Smith, S.Jones, Flint, Kapend.

Subs: Riley, Gordon, Stair, Smith, Cal Jones, Dodd, Sanders

AFC Fylde Starting XI: White, Holmes, Crainey, Bond, Collins, Baker, Bell-Baggie, Harris, Gilchrist, Hardy, Daniels

Subs: Blinkhorn, Rowe, C.Hughes, Summer, Dixon, Dudley, Finley, M.Hughes, Howell, Wynee

Goalscorers:

Dabbers: Jones(7, 45), Kapend(49)

Coasters: Rowe(64), Finley(67), Blinkhorn(76)

Attendance: 160

Next Up

Up next for the Dabbers is our annual meeting Pre-Season meeting with Crewe Alexandra. The game is at the Weaver Stadium next Tuesday and the entry prices can be found on the ticket section of the clubs website. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Photos: Steve Sharman

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