By Ryan Batty:
A super second half goal from sub Steve Jones sent Nantwich through to the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round as The Dabbers overcame a difficult Shepshed Dynamo side.
The first half offered little in terms of clear chances for either side, but Dave Cooke’s men turned it up a gear after the interval and came away with a 1-0 win.
Nantwich were under pressure from the get-go, as an attack for Shepshed developed on the left-hand side, but a powerful effort from Shay Brennan was saved by Krystian Burzynski. Nantwich’s young back-four faced a tough challenge in a fast-paced and strong Dynamo attack, but were able to hold firm.
The hosts almost took the lead early on as Shay Brennan had many fans shouting with joy, but a fantastic save from Burzynski denied them of an early goal. The Dabbers’ stopper then made a second great save in as many minutes as he tipped Liam Hurst’s shot from outside the box.
Nantwich’s first chance of the game came in the ninth minute, as Ryan Brooke was on the end of a quick break, but a good effort was saved by Shane Antcliffe in the Dynamo goal. Shepshed began an attack, and their resulting shot hit the side-netting.
Seventeen minutes in, Josh Hill spotted Burzynski off his line, and decided to attempt an ambitious effort from inside his own half – but to be fair to him, it was very close to dipping under the bar and in; fortunately it was over the bar.
Shepshed posed a very different challenge to what Nantwich were used to – a fast-paced side that were very reliant on high pressure football, but Dave Cooke’s men were well-trained and able to deal with the threat.
Harry Clayton had a fantastic solo effort after half an hour, and it looked like the ex-Kidsgrove forward had been brought down in the box, and could have been a penalty, but the referee’s assistant indicated the forward had handled the ball.
With ten minutes to go in the first half, there was still no opening goal. However, the home side were ever so close to taking the lead, as Burzynski rushed out to clear the ball but wasn’t quick enough, and a chip from Brennan dipped over the ‘keeper and bounced in front of the goal and over the bar.
Nantwich had another chance on the verge of half-time, as the ball was squared across goal to Ryan Brooke, but the forward was unlucky not to get the shot away.
The two sides went into the break with the score goalless.
Five minutes into the second half, Harry Clayton rolled the ball towards Caspar Hughes, whose shot was over the bar.
Ten minutes later, the Dabbers had a free-kick on the right-hand side of goal, and it was a move straight from the training ground as Hughes played it low and driven to Clayton on the edge of the box. His resulting shot was just off-target.
After an hour, the hosts were reduced to ten men as Hill hauled down Jordan Davies who was clean through with the referee left with little choice but to send the Dynamo off. Davies’ resulting free kick hit the wall and was cleared.
There was a chance for Nantwich with twenty minutes to go as Bell saw a gap in the defence on the edge of the Shepshed area but his resulting shot took a deflection and went straight into the arms of Dynamo keeper Antcliffe.
Dave Cooke made his first change of the game as Steve Jones replaced Jordan Davies with twenty to go.
Jones almost made an instant impact as a forceful shot was only just tipped over the bar by Antcliffe before the Dabbers’ man opened the scoring as he curled a strike into the top-right hand corner to give Nantwich the lead with fifteen minutes to go.
With five minutes to go, Nantwich launched into a counter-attack that found Harry Clayton. He sped away towards goal but his shot was turned round the post by Antcliffe.
The hosts piled on the pressure in the final moments of the game with long balls into the box but the Dabbers’ defence held firm clearing everything that came their way.
Hurst had Dynamo’s final chance of the game in stoppage time as he cut in from the right hand side but saw his low shot trickle wide of the post.
Nantwich progress to the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup for the second season in a row, and the draw is made at 1.00pm on Monday.
The Dabbers return to league action on Tuesday as they travel to Hednesford, before returning to the Weaver Stadium for a clash with Ashton.
Nantwich: Burzynski, Bourne, Morgan, Stair, Mullarkey, Hall (C), Hughes, Bell, Clayton, Brooke (McDonald 81′), Davies (S. Jones 70′)
Subs not used: Cadman (GK), Forbes, Webster, Rowntree, Cotterell
Shepshed: Antcliffe, Hohn, Read (Richards 69′), Hill, Betts (C), Prenderville, McNaught, Hurst, Brennan (Troke 76′), Reeve, Whymark (Harris 90+7′)
Subs not used: McLean, Laywood, Carrol
Referee: Chris Reeson
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