By Ryan Batty:
Nantwich Town fell to a 2-1 defeat to Workington on a cold and windy afternoon at Borough Park on Saturday despite being the better of the sides for most parts of the game.
The Dabbers had pulled the short straw in the fixture scheduling for the second consecutive season, making the 300-mile round trip to Workington – having travelled to Cumbria on Boxing Day last season.
Nantwich were without Toby Mullarkey or Harry Clayton, Mullarkey still recovering from injury and Clayton starting his three-match suspension after a sending off earlier in the month.
The Dabbers were bolstered through the return of Fabian Spiess who returned between the sticks. Jordan Cole entered the first-team fray in place of Clayton.
The game was preceded by a minute’s silence due to the passing of lifelong Workington supporter and volunteer Brian Dakers. Our thoughts go out to Brian’s family and friends at this sad time.
The first chance of the game came after just a minute as, finding room on the right, Joe Mwasile fired one towards goal which Taylor had to juggle before duly collecting.
Just a couple of minutes later, Cole had his first chance of the day as his shot troubled Taylor, but the Workington ‘keeper was able to save.
After six minutes, The Reds took the lead. Dave Symington received the ball on the left, took a touch, and slid one towards the bottom right that Spiess almost got a hand to, but it rolled past the German goalkeeper’s outstretched hand and nestled in the corner.
Nantwich were woken up immediately and had a great chance to equalise after thirteen minutes. Curtis Strong received a ball on the left and had options for the cross, but instead dragged the ball across goal. Cole almost got there, but Taylor went low and collected the ball from his feet.
Twenty-five minutes in, Nantwich worked up an excellent counter-attack. Cole found space on the right and weaved his way past two defenders, but unfortunately a defender stepped in and cleared away before the striker could get a shot away.
Just two minutes later, Sean Cooke was brought down on the edge of the Workington area and The Dabbers were awarded a free-kick. Cooke stepped up, but his set-piece was just a tad off as it curled around the wall and ricocheted off the post.
However, Nantwich wouldn’t have to wait long for their equaliser. A clearance from a Workington defender dropped to Matt Bell, and the midfielder hit one first time that screamed into the right-hand side of the net; the fourth goal of the campaign for Bell.
Workington started to get back into the game and had two corners that were almost converted, but equally impressive defending from The Dabbers prevented the hosts from extending their lead.
The two sides went into the interval with the scores level – Nantwich perhaps the better of the two sides, but a very equal game nonetheless.
Just two minutes after the interval, Nantwich had the chance to take the lead as they had another free-kick. Cooke’s effort dipped over the wall but was too low to trouble the ‘keeper and he saved with ease.
After fifty-three minutes, The Dabbers had yet another free-kick, this time on the left-hand side. The ball floated in towards Stair, whose header dipped over the bar.
Workington almost re-took the lead on the hour mark as Scott Allison was played onside, but his shot went far wide of Spiess’ far post; a poor effort for Workington’s leading goalscorer.
Nine minutes later, Nantwich almost took the lead for themselves as Cooke hit a ferocious shot that Taylor could only parry, but the keeper dived on top of the ball before Cole was able to follow up with the rebound.
The winning goal was scored shortly after as, after some poor defending allowed The Reds to break through, Matty Douglas hit one that Spiess initally saved, but the ball bounced back up to Douglas, who was able to dip a rebounding header over the keeper and into the goal.
Dave Cooke tried to shake up the game as he made his first substitution with thirteen minutes of play remaining, as Dave Forbes replaced Strong.
However, there was little time to make an impact as Workington were content to kill the clock, and the closest Nantwich got to equalising was with three minutes remaining. Cole was played through, but took a touch too many and wasn’t able to get his shot away.
Despite three minutes of added time, the hosts defended well and didn’t allow any chances for Nantwich and ensured that Dave Cooke’s side headed back to Cheshire with coal in their stockings.
Nantwich return to action on Boxing Day, when they host Sutton Coldfield. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that you all can make the trip to the Weaver Stadium to roar the Dabbers on from the stands.
Workington: Taylor, Douglas, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Calvert, Earl, Symington, McLuckie, Allison, Joel (Wilson 87′), Tinnion
Unused subs: Mellon, Harker, Holliday, Fowler
Nantwich Town: Spiess, Bourne, Wildin, Stair, McDonald, Bell (C), Mwasile, Hughes, Cole, Cooke, Strong (Forbes 77′)
Unused subs: Morgan, Burzynski, Hall, S. Jones
Pictures courtesy of Jonathan White« Back to all news