Nantwich Town recorded a superb win over promotion rivals Rushall Olympic at Dales Lane, winning 3-1 to strengthen their push for the play offs. They came from a goal down to secure a vital 3 points and move up to 9th in the table, just 2 points off the play offs.
In rainy conditions on a sticky pitch, the Dabbers had early chances to go ahead, as Joe Mwasile and the returning Sean Cooke both had openings. They then fell behind to a sucker punch 10 minutes before half time, as Pics captain Aaron Forde scored a superb 25 yard strike.
After some settling words from the management at half time, the Dabbers looked much more fluid in the second half and equalised through Cooke after a blistering counter attack. After missing a number of chances to go ahead, the Dabbers did edge in front 10 minutes from time as Cooke grabbed his 2nd with a looping finish. Nantwich added gloss to the scoreline with a late 3rd through Matt Bell as they ran out worthy winners.
Manager Phil Parkinson missed the game through illness, so Neil Sorvel and Danny Griggs were left to manage the team. They made 2 changes from last Saturday’s game with Barwell, as Joe Mwasile earned a recall, replacing the now recuperating Josh Hancock. Cooke also made his first league start in almost 2 months after making his comeback last weekend.
The first half chance went to Rushall after less than a minute, as Forde flicked a header towards goal, but it was weak and easy for Gyollai. Cooke had the Dabbers first chance as he spun and fired over the bar. Ryan Brooke then had a great opening on 5 minutes, but he could only direct a free header wide of goal. Cooke shot from distance, but his shot was straight at Pics keeper Sam Arnold.
The Dabbers were fortunate to not fall behind on 16 minutes when they were caught out at the back. Mo Diop won the ball back and had a free run on goal. His cut back to Forde was blocked and eventually scrambled to safety though, as the Dabbers escaped without damage. At the other end, Mwasile nodded a Cooke cross wide whilst Ben Harrison almost latched onto a knock down, but it was cleared away.
Rushall’s Josh McKenzie and Aris Chrisophorou both went into the book for fouls as the teams struggled on the bobbly pitch, with players from both sides losing their footing in the driving rain. McKenzie had Rushall’s best chance to open the scoring, but his header from 6 yards out bounced narrowly wide.
Despite restricting Rushall to mostly half chances, the Dabbers fell behind 10 minutes before half time. Mo Diop held the ball up just inside the Dabbers half and laid it off to Forde. He strode forward before unleashing a stunning strike from fully 25 yards into the top corner past a diving Gyollai.
The Dabbers looked to respond as the weather slowly improved, with Abadaki cutting inside and curling 2 yards over the bar. Brooke had the final chance of the first half as he shot straight at Arnold.
Clearly rejuvenated by the half time team talk, the Dabbers wasted no time in getting back into the game 6 minutes after the restart. From a Rushall corner, the Dabbers broke at speed, with Curtis Jones finding Joe Mwasile on the half way line. He flicked the ball to Abadaki, who easily beat the Rushall defence for pace. He surged in on goal and drew the keeper. However, instead of shooting, he unselfishly squared for a wide open Cooke, who made no mistake, firing in the leveller.
Rushall looked to hit back and they put a bit of pressure on the Dabbers back line. The Nantwich defence held them at bay as the game remained open. On the hour mark, Ibou Touray went into the book for alledgely kicking the ball away. He picked up his 10th yellow card of the season. Danico Johnson became the 3rd Rushall player to see yellow as he clipped Mwasile.
The Dabbers could have gone ahead on 63 minutes when a cut back found Bell. However, his shot was blocked from close range. The rebound fell to Abadaki, but his shot went narrowly wide of the post. With 20 minutes to go, the Dabbers made a double change, as Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls and Matty Ashbrook came on for Brooke and Mwasile respectively.
Pics danger man Joe Hull headed wide from a corner as Rushall remained a threat. At the other end, the ball dropped to Curtis Jones from a free kick, but his shot was straight at Arnold. The Dabbers kept pressing and eventually got their reward with just over 10 minutes to go.
Ashbrook got in down the right and crossed the ball into the box. The ball reached Abadaki at the far post, but his shot was saved. He quickly recovered the ball and played it to Cooke just inside the penalty area. He shot on goal and the ball took a deflection off a Rushall defender, looping over the despairing Arnold and in.
The Dabbers well and truly had their tails up and looked for a third to kill the game off. Abadaki was played in on goal and he rounded Arnold. This time his shot was cleared off the line and away for a corner. Sam Hall then picked up a yellow card after a foul on the half way line. The game was delayed 2 minutes from time as Bailey-Nicholls fell awkwardly on his shoulder. He was forced off and was replaced by Steve Jones.
In the 92nd minute, the Dabbers made their 2nd half dominance count with a deserved third. Cooke was played in down the left and he squared to a wide open Steve Jones in the penalty area. He forced a great save from Arnold, but Matt Bell pounced on the loose ball, reacting quickest to fire into the wide open net. That wrapped up the win for the Dabbers, who had been impressive in their attacking play in the 2nd half.
Rushall Olympic: Sam Arnold, Aris Christoporou, Isaac Cooper, Aaron Force(c), Joe Hull, Henry Eze, Sam Whittall, Mickael Partodikromo(Marcus Jackson, 66), Josh McKenzie(Jazz Luckie, 76), Mo Diop(Stanley Mugisha, 64), Danico Johnson
Unused subs: Jose Veiga, Ryan Boothe
Bookings: Christophorou, McKenzie, Johnson
Nantwich Town: Dan Gyollai, Andy White, Ibou Touray, Ben Harrison, Curtis Jones, Sam Hall(c), Joe Mwasile(Matty Ashbrook, 70), Matt Bell, Ryan Brooke(Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls, 70(Steve Jones, 91)), Sean Cooke, Osebi Abadaki
Unused subs: Wayne Riley, Joel Stair
Booking: Touray, Hall
Goalscorers: Cooke(51, 79), Bell(90)
Highlights:« Back to all news