Nantwich Town picked up what could be a hugely important point in their bid for the play offs, as they recovered from from a losing position to draw 1-1 away at Spennymoor Town. In a feisty and physical game, the Dabbers had good chances in the first half, but fell behind to a superb early strike from Spennymoor’s Shane Henry.
In the 2nd half, they again searched for the equalised and grabbed one on the hour mark as Curtis Jones poked home a Ben Harrison knock down from a corner. The home side then threw everything forward as they looked for a winner, but the Dabbers defence stood firm to earn a share of the spoils and ensure they stayed 2nd in the table.
Phil Parkinson was forced into a number of changes for the game. Steve Jones and Sean Cooke were deemed not fit enough to travel and missed out. The Dabbers were also rocked by the news that influential winger John Johnston had been recalled parent club Salford City. Andy White was only fit enough for the bench, whilst Joel Stair and Josh Hancock earned recalls.
The Dabbers started the game brightly and could have led after 4 minutes. A corner into the box was met by Curtis Jones, but his header dropped just wide of the post. The Dabbers had started brightly, but despite being on top in the opening stages, they fell behind on 7 minutes.
Some neat football from Spennymoor down the right saw the ball find Shane Henry on the edge of the box. He rifled a thunderbolt of a shot past Dan Gyollai to put the home side 1-0 up somewhat against the run of play. The Dabbers looked to respond and Ben Harrison had their first effort on target when he went on one of his trademark mazy runs. It ended at the edge of the Spennymoor box with him curling a shot straight at Dan Lowson in the Moors goal.
Spennymoor were looking dangerous in attack, with a scramble in the Dabbers box claimed quickly by Gyollai. At the other end, Hancock won the ball, but his through ball to Peers found the striker in an offside position.
The Dabbers were then fortunate not to fall further behind when a loose pass set Graeme Armstrong through on goal. He smashed a first time effort well over the bar when he had more time to pick his spot. Moors centre back James Curtis was the first into the book for a late challenge on Hancock. From the resulting free kick, Hancock put the ball over the bar.
The chances were continuing to alternate, with Curtis heading a cross from the left straight at Gyollai. Tom Peers then had the Dabbers best chance as he beat Curtis and advanced clear on goal. His shot was quickly smothered by Lowson however.
Matt Bell was booked for a foul on Mark Anderson and Moors full back Kallum Griffiths was inches away from a spectacular second for the hosts, with a long range shot zipping just wide of the post. Spennymoor again went close when a loose ball was volleyed on goal and Ibou Touray had to make an excellent goal line header to stop the ball going in.
The final chance of the half came when Anderson skewed well wide of goal as what had been a frustrating 45 minutes for the Dabbers came to an end.
Spennymoor started the 2nd half brightly and they broke quickly after winning back possession. A cross from the right was well defended by Curtis Jones, as he denied Glen Taylor a look at goal. Parky made an early change, with Mwasile coming off after not recovering from a knock he received in the first half. Osebi Abadaki came on to replace him.
Just before the hour mark, Vinny Mukendi came on for Tom Peers. A few minutes later, some good football on the right saw Joel Stair get the ball on the edge of the box. He saw a shot deflected wide for a corner, which angered the Spennymoor fans and players, who felt there was no touch.
The Dabbers took full advantage though, as the corner was swung in and was flicked on to the far post. Harrison met the ball and nodded back into the 6 yard box. Curtis Jones was on hand to poke in, showing real poachers instincts to grab the equaliser. That caused more protests from the Spennymoor players, with at least one going into the book for his troubles.
Spennymoor responded strongly to losing their lead, as they turned up the pressure. Curtis should have put them back ahead when he rose highest from a corner, but could only flick a header wide. The home side were well on top, keeping the Dabbers camped deep in their own half. They were forced into their first change, as Chris Mason came off injured. Joe Tait came on to replace him.
Sam Hall had a half chance for the Dabbers when he fired over the bar from 25 yards. Abadaki then pounced on a mistake by Isaac Baldwin, but his cross was claimed by Lowson. As the game entered the last 10 minutes, Spennymoor threw everything at the Dabbers as they searched for a winner. Graeme Armstrong picked up a loose ball and shot on goal. The ball was deflected and went just wide of the post.
From 2 more dangerous crosses, Harrison and Mukendi had to head the ball away from danger with Spennymoor players lurking. The Dabbers had their backs to the wall, but were holding firm under intense pressure. Abadaki was forced to come off despite only being on 30 minutes, with Andy White replacing him.
There was a moment of controversey on 86 minutes when Mark Anderson went down in the box under a challenge from Jones. The officials were not interested, which angered the home fans. Jones and Anderson then came together, which drew a crowd of players. After some pushing and shoving, Jones and Anderson both went into the book.
Spennymoor then almost pinched a winner when a free kick on the edge of the box found Curtis at the far post. He could only direct his header back across goal and it was just behind Taylor, who couldn’t turn the ball home. Gyollai gratefully claimed the loose ball.
The home fans were once again angered when sub David Dowson went down on the edge of the box under the challenge of Jones. It seemed soft, but the linesman awarded a free kick. Despite appeals for a 2nd yellow and red for Jones from the Spennymoor players, the ref elected not to take any further action. Gyollai tipped the free kick over the bar and the resulting corner was cleared to safety.
There was no more action, as the Dabbers held on to claim a massive point in their bid for the play offs.
Spennymoor Town: Dan Lowson, Kallum Griffiths, Chris Mason(c)(Joe Tait, 73), Jamie Chandler, Isaac Baldwin, James Curtis, Rob Ramshaw, Shane Henry, Glen Taylor, Graeme Armstrong(David Dowson, 61), Mark Anderson
Unused subs: Adan Mitchell, Andrew Johnson, Nathan Fisher
Nantwich Town: Dan Gyollai, Joel Stair, Ibou Touray, Curtis Jones, Ben Harrison, Sam Hall(c), Josh Hancock, Wayne Riley, Tom Peers(Vinny Mukendi, 58), Matt Bell, Joe Mwasile(Osebi Abadaki, 48(Andy White, 85))
Unused subs: Krystian Burzynski, Ryan Brooke
Bookings: Bell, Jones
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