Match Report: Nantwich Town 2-3 Stourbridge


Jack Jones reports on the Dabbers home defeat against Stourbridge FC.

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Nantwich Town fell to their 3rd straight defeat at home as they lost 3-2 to Stourbridge FC. It was another heartbreaking defeat for the Dabbers after Tuesday’s tough loss to Halesowen. They fell behind inside 12 minutes to a Curtis Jones own goal and a Luke Benbow effort from outside the box, but battled back in the first half though and eventually levelled the score at 2-2. Theo Stair bent in a superb free kick, his 2nd such goal in 5 games. Then 3 minutes before half time, Ben Harrison strode forward and unleashed a superb 25 yard effort into the top corner.

It became a battle of attrition in the 2nd half as both teams had chances in what was a scrappy 45 minutes. Dave Walker came closest, hitting an effort off the post. However, the game turned against the Dabbers in the final 5 minutes, as sub Josh Hancock was red carded for a 2 footed lunge. Stourbridge then pinched in it injury time, as Brandon Hague bundled in after a fortunate bounce put the ball in his path.

The Dabbers made just 1 change from the side that played against Halesowen in midweek, with Josh Gordon earning a recall. Godwin Abadaki made way. Youngster Cal Jones was on the bench alongside Josh Hancock. Stourbridge meanwhile were missing last seasons top scorer Justin Richards, but did start Luke Benbow, fresh off his 2 goals in midweek against Frickley Athletic.

The game started off scrappy, with both sides adapting to the muggy conditions. The Glassboys were the first to hit the front though after 6 minutes. Following a Stourbridge corner, the ball bounced into the box and a shot across goal was deflected in by the unfortunate Curtis Jones. There was little he could do about it as it hit him late.

The Dabbers were rattled and 5 minutes later, Stourbridge doubled their advantage. Benbow held the ball up well and managed to wriggle some space on the outside of the area. He then smashed in to give him his 3rd goal in 2 games. Stourbridge grew after that, pressing the Dabbers and forcing them into half chances. Sean Cooke was booked for a late challenge in the Nantwich half as the home side looked for a foothold in the game.

To their credit though, Nantwich began to improve as the half went on and started to create chances. Josh Gordon shot over on 19 minutes before Theo Stair saw a free kick deflect just wide. Sean Cooke went close, as he weaved his way through 2 Stourbridge defenders to go clear on goal. He shot just wide as the Dabbers started to close in on their first goal of the game. Gordon was next to have a sight of goal, shooting straight at Gould. Cooke was then fouled on the edge of the box and his free kick went just over.

The Dabbers weren’t to be denied though and they had a lifeline 5 minutes before half time. Steve Jones was fouled and Theo Stair stepped up to bend in a cracking free kick from 25 yards. It was his 2nd free kick goal in 5 games and put Nantwich right back in the game.

Andy White shot wide following the goal, but the game was well and truly lit up by a moment of magic from defender Ben Harrison. He got the ball just inside the Stourbridge half and ran unchallenged towards the Glassboys goal. When no tackle was forthcoming, he hit a stunning 25 yard strike into the top corner. It was some finish from the centre half and it deservedly drew the Dabbers level going into half time.

After a brief slow start to the game in the 2nd half, Nantwich went close to grabbing their 3rd, as Cooke shot just wide of goal from the left hand side of the penalty area. The game then became scrappy as both teams probed, but were unable to create any decent chances. The main talking point became the ref, as he seemed to ignore a number of suspect challenges. Gordon seemed to get barged over as he chased a through ball, but the ref wasn’t interested. Mat Bailey was caught late by Chris Lait, but no yellow was forthcoming for the Stourbridge player.

As the game ticked towards the final 20 minutes, both teams seemed to tire, no doubt a by product of the high tempo first half. Steve Jones was accidentally caught by Lait and he was forced to withdraw. Godwin Abadaki came on in his place. With just over 10 minutes to go, Josh Gordon was withdrawn for Dave Walker after putting in a fantastic shift. Benbow flashed a shot just wide as Stourbridge had a rare chance on goal. Josh Hancock then came on for Theo Stair, who received a warm applause from the home fans.

After what had been a scrappy 2nd half, the game burst into life in the final 5 minutes. First Dave Walker was played in on goal by Godwin Abadaki, but despite his shot beating Gould, it cannoned back off the post. 2 minutes later and the game took a massive swing. Josh Hancock lost the ball in the Stourbridge half. He then seemed to make a 2 footed lunge as he tried to recover possession. The ref gave himself some thinking time before showing Hancock a red card. It was a blow for Nantwich, as Hancock had only just completed a 3 match ban carried over from last season. It also reduced them down to 10 men for the final few minutes of the game.

The Dabbers looked to close the game out and get the point their performance had deserved, but as seems to be the case at the moment, they were caught out at the back. A Lait through ball hit Bailey, deflected past Harrison and fell kindly for Brandon Hague in the area. He managed to bundle past Parton, with the ball trickling over the line. The travelling team celebrated wildly, but it was yet more disappointment for the Dabbers. Nantwich tried to pick themselves up and find an equaliser, but time ran out as they once again emerged empty handed from a home game for the 3rd time this season.

Nantwich Town: Dave Parton, Andy White, Ben Harrison, Mat Bailey(c), Ibou Touray, Curtis Jones, Steve Jones(G.Abadaki 68), Wayne Riley, Josh Gordon(Walker 77), Sean Cooke, Theo Stair(Hancock 81)

Subs: Josh Hancock, Dave Walker, Godwin Abadaki, Osebi Abadaki, Cal Jones

Stourbridge: Matthew Gould, Kristian Green, Lewis Probert, Tom Tonks(c), Joe Hull, Dan Scarr, Drew Canavan, Leon Broadhurst, Luke Benbow, Chris Lait, Brian Smikle

Subs: Jake Heath, Brad Birch, Brandon Hague, Stuart Pierpoint, Liam Molesworth

Goalscorers:

Dabbers: Stair(40), Harrison(43)

Glassboys: Cu.Jones(6, OG), Benbow(11), Hague(90)

Attendance: 289

Man of the Match: Ben Harrison

Highlights:

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