Match Report: Witton Albion 2-0 Nantwich Town

By James Brown:

Nantwich Town suffered their first defeat of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division season on Bank Holiday Monday, going down 2-0 away from home at near rivals Witton Albion.

In a first half which lacked many clear cut chances for the Dabbers, Danny Glover came closest meeting a Joe Mwasile cross with a well struck volley which went just wide however it was the home side who led at the break thanks to a Rob Hopley strike from a corner.

Nantwich needed to start the second half on the front foot but were struck a blow almost immediately as Hopley netted his and Witton’s second five minutes in and thanks to some good goalkeeping from Greg Hall, the Dabbers came away with nothing from Wincham Park.

Dabbers manager Dave Cooke made two enforced changes from the side which dispatched Lancaster City on Saturday, bringing in Clayton McDonald and Nathan Cotterell to replace the injured Joel Stair and Louis Barnes.

On an overcast day in Northwich, Witton Albion started the brighter of the two teams and forced Dabbers keeper Will Jaaskelainen into a superb double save as the home side found themselves in on goal. Some great work from Joe Mwasile on the right got Nantwich into the game as the winger beat three defenders before crossing into the box towards Callum Saunders however the frontman was just edged off the ball by Josh Wardle.

Saunders was to have another crack at it just before the 20 minute mark when he was played in on goal by Caspar Hughes however Witton keeper Greg Hall was quick off his line to make an important save which would come back to haunt the Dabbers. With 15 minutes of the half remaining the home side went in front when a corner from the left was turned in by captain Hopley who ghosted into the six yard box unmarked.

Nantwich had their chances to go into the break on level terms, once through Saunders again who latched onto a lofted Troy Bourne pass but was again denied by Hall before the best opportunity of the half fell to Glover who made himself some space in the box but fired a half volley just wide of the post.

Witton began the second half as they did the first and caught the Dabbers cold inside the opening five minutes as Hopley got his second of the game, turning in a knock down past Jaaskelainen. It may well have been 3-0 moments later when the Nantwich defence was slow to react to a cross into the box but luckily a Cesaire Lingouba volley was blasted wide.

Just before the hour mark the Dabbers had their best chance to get themselves back into the game when a loose ball fell kindly for Hughes inside the penalty area but he smashed his effort well over the bar. Witton keeper Hall almost gifted Nantwich a chance on goal with 20 minutes to go after taking a heavy touch on a through ball and losing possession to substitute Jordan Davies however a defensive recovery turned a cross behind for a corner which another substitute Joe Malkin then headed off target.

Inside the final ten minutes Hopley was denied his hat-trick thanks to a really well timed block from Toby Mullarkey who had dropped back into centre half having started the game in midfield before the final chance fell to substitute Craig Lindfield in added time as a corner fell to the new signing which was curled towards the top right hand corner however the impressive Hall was on hand once again to stifle the Dabbers.

Nantwich will look to bounce back from the Bank Holiday setback when they make the long trip up north to take on South Shields this Saturday 1st September (3pm kick-off).

Witton Albion: Greg Hall, James Yates, Matty Devine, Josh Wardle, River Humphreys, Danny McKenna, Cesaire Lingouba, Tom Owens, Rob Hopley (c), Will Jones (Anthony Gardner 80’), James Foley

Subs not used: Michael Wilson, Chris Noone, Paul Moore

Nantwich Town: Will Jaaskelainen, Jamie Morgan, Nathan Cotterell (Joe Malkin 66’), Troy Bourne, Clayton McDonald (Craig Lindfield 51’), Toby Mullarkey, Joe Mwasile (Jordan Davies 67’), Caspar Hughes (c), Danny Glover, Callum Saunders, James Lawrie

Subs not used: James Hawkins (GK), Declan O’Riordan

Attendance: 357

Referee: Daniel Hitchell

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