By Ryan Batty:
Fantastic determination from Dave Cooke’s side helped Nantwich to a 4-1 victory away from home at Rushall Olympic yesterday, despite going 1-0 down within five minutes, The Dabbers responded by scoring four unanswered goals to take all three points back to Cheshire.
Rushall skipper Joe Hull opened the scoring after five minutes, and it looked like it was going to be a long day at the office for Nantwich, but despite being an even first twenty-five minutes, Joel Stair headed home to equalise Matt Bell’s cross.
Just three minutes later, Nantwich had taken the lead, following tricky footwork from Sean Cooke, and the attacking midfielder guided the ball home powerfully one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Just thirty seconds after half-time, Kaiman Anderson slotted home after turning a defender, and ex-Northern Ireland international Steve Jones completed The Dabbers’ 4-1 drubbing after popping the ball through the ‘keeper’s legs four minutes before the end.
Rushall’s first chance came in the second minute, as a free-kick was cleared away by the Dabbers’ defence before the visitors started a quick counter-attack from this, but a driven cross from the left-hand side was cleared away.
There were shouts for a penalty after four minutes, as a Rushall attacker was brought down in the box, but no penalty was awarded. However, a cross came in a minute later, and found skipper Joe Hull whose header flew past Burzynski to give the hosts the lead.
It was quite an even twenty minutes, as both teams had decent chances, maybe the best of which was for Harry Clayton after twenty minutes. He found the ball, turned a defender, and a curling left-footed effort was only just saved by Dan Crane.
Nantwich had knocked on Rushall’s door ever since the goal, and their golden chance finally came. Matt Bell lined up to take a free-kick after twenty-seven minutes, as he whipped the ball into the box and found Joel Stair, whose diving header was straight past Dan Crane at the far post to level the scores.
Nantwich’s determination paid off again just three minutes later, as Sean Cooke’s tricky footwork took him past two defenders, and he side-footed the ball powerfully past Crane to give Nantwich the lead.
Three minutes after the second goal, it was almost a third for the Dabbers as a cross into the box from the left almost found the head of Casper Hughes as the game went into half-time with Nantwich leading 2-1.
After half-time, it was just thirty seconds before Anderson was played in and the young striker took the ball around Crane and fired a powerful shot into the back of the net to extend the Dabbers’ lead.
Nantwich really outmuscled the Pics in the second half, especially in the midfield as Sean Cooke found the ball thirty-five yards out and saw a gap in the defence. He took a long-range shot, which went narrowly past the far post.
Rushall were doing their best to get back in the game but Dave Cooke’s men were strong at the back as they nullified the Pics’ attacks. Harry Clayton then went close as he saw his shot cleared off the line by Charlie Duke following Troy Bourne’s pull back.
The hosts looked lost throughout most of the second half, as Nantwich’s attacks had acres of space to develop and it is no hyperbole to say that the men in green could have won by two or three more.
One of these attacks developed with four minutes to go as the ball looked to come over to Clayton McDonald, but the big man dummied the ball straight to Steve Jones, who was able to cheekily put the ball through the legs of Crane to put the final nail in the coffin of a disappointing Rushall side.
Next up for Nantwich is Marine on Tuesday night at the Weaver Stadium, before travelling to Shepshed Dynamo in the FA Cup second qualifying round next Saturday.
Nantwich: Burzynski, Bourne (Baxendale 76′), Morgan, Stair, Mullarkey, Bell (C), Hughes, Anderson (McDonald 82′), Clayton, Cooke (S. Jones 79′), Davies.
Subs not used: Hall, Forbes.
Rushall Olympic: Crane, Duke, Atkinson, Scott, Hull (C), Whittall, Mugisha, O’Neill-Martin, Landell (Adelekan 52′), Dell (Hancox 52′), McCalla.
Subs not used: Best, Murry, Brown.
Referee: D. Wilding
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