Jack Jones reports from the Dabbers match with local neighbours Crewe Alexandra.
On a blisteringly hot day in South Cheshire, Nantwich Town were beaten 4-0 in their annual pre-season meeting with local neighbours Crewe Alexandra. With the thermostat barely dropping below 30 degrees celsius throughout the game, both teams named almost full strength starting XIs, with only 1 or 2 players on each side missing out. For Crewe, only Ryan Lowe was missing from the side that started last Friday against Wolverhampton Wanderers, whilst Phil Parkinson named a side that contained no trialists for the first time as he sought to give the main men in the squad their toughest test of the season against their Football League opponents. Sean Cooke returned and started in attack with Theo Stair, Steve Jones and Josh Gordon whilst Andy White returned in defence.
The first 5 minutes started with both teams testing each other out and getting up to speed with the stifling temperatures. The first notable bit of action came on 8 minutes when a dangerous cross from Zoumana Bakayogo almost found Callum Saunders, but Dave Parton came out and put off the Alex striker enough that both players missed the ball and it went out for a goal kick. George Cooper had the first effort of the game as he had a long range effort that was comfortably saved by Parton. The Dabbers threatened shortly after as both Sean Cooke and Steve Jones had half chances blocked.
Cooper had the first decent chance of the game as his scuffed shot from inside the 6 yard box was just about kept out by Parton, with the Alex players appealing that the ball had crossed the line. After 15 minutes, Josh Gordon ran at the Alex defence before seeing his shot blocked on the edge of the area. Three minutes later and the Alex went ahead from the spot. Parton got caught by Dagnall when trying to play the ball and the ball fell to Callum Saunders. Ben Harrison had to foul the Alex forward and concede the penalty, although there was some suggestion that he may have won the ball. New Alex signing Chris Dagnall stepped up and cooly sent Parton the wrong way to put the Alex 1-0 up.
Midway through the first half and the referee stopped the game to allow both sets of players to take on water. It was much needed given the hot conditions. Once the game restarted, Dagnall had the next opportunity as he was played in behind the Dabbers defence by Callum Ainley and he shot wide from a tight angle with 10 minutes to go until half time. Two minutes later, Sean Cooke had a shot blocked inside the box as the Dabbers came close. Lively winger Cooper then had a chance when a cross found him at the far post, but a poor touch meant Parton was able to smother the attempt and keep the Alex’s lead at just one. The final action of the half fell to the Dabbers as a cross was met by Josh Gordon, who headed into the net past Ben Garratt, but the flag was up for offside, ruling the goal out.
Phil Parkinson made two changes at half time, with Mat Bailey and Wayne Riley coming on for Ben Harrison and Steve Jones. A quiet start to the 2nd half was broken when the Alex doubled their lead in bizarre circumstances. A routine back pass from Curtis Jones was misjudged by Parton and rolled into the far corner of the goal. A minute later and the Alex almost had a third, as Cooper got in behind and rounded Parton to score, but the linesman flagged for offside. Just after the hour mark and Matt Bell was taken off for youth teamer Cal Jones.
On 64 minutes, Cooper got in behind again and was onside this time. He beat the onrushing Parton to the ball and had the simple task of tapping into an empty net to give the Alex a 3-0 lead. The Alex continued to have the share of the chances as Charlie Kirk and trialist Toby Fure both had efforts go wide. Parky continued to make changes, as Troy Bourne and Jordan Bennion came on for their pre-season bows. Josh Gordon also came back on for the hard working Theo Stair, who had put in a great shift upfront. Ryan Wintle headed wide for the Alex as the tempo the game dropped. Ben Harrison came back on for Andy White with 7 minutes to go as the game wound down. With four minutes to go, the Alex had a fourth as substitute Charlie Kirk crossed into the box for Ryan Wintle to tap in at the far post. It was the final action of the game as the away side wrapped up a convincing win to hand the Dabbers their first defeat of the pre-season.
Nantwich Town Starting XI: Dave Parton, Andy White, Ibou Touray, Ben Harrison, Curtis Jones, Matt Bell, Steve Jones, Sam Hall(c), Theo Stair, Sean Cooke, Josh Gordon
Subs: Wayne Riley, Bradley Moorhead(GK), Mat Bailey, Jonny Kapend, Troy Bourne, Callum Jones, Jordan Bennion
Crewe Alexandra Starting XI: Ben Garratt, Ollie Turton, Jon Guthrie, Davis, Zoumana Bakayogo, Liam Smith, Billy Bingham, Callum Ainley, Chris Dagnall, Callum Saunders, George Cooper
Subs: Tom Lowery, Dave Richards(GK), Toby Fure, Ryan Jennings, Jamey Osborne, Daniel Udoh, Perry Ng, Ryan Wintle, Charlie Kirk, Oli Finney, James Jones
Railwaymen: Dagnall(19), Curtis Jones(OG, 52), Cooper(64), Wintle(86)
Attendance: 724« Back to all news