Jack Jones reports on the Dabbers FA Cup victory against Ashton United.
Nantwich Town progressed through to the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup after they saw off Ashton United 3-0 at Hurst Cross. The Dabbers went ahead through a rare Andy White goal, as he pounced on a mistake to score in the 15th minute. Nantwich held firm in the first half and took a 1 goal advantage into the break.
In the 2nd half, they showed resolute defending to limit Ashton to half chances before scoring 2 more goals through Osebi Abadaki and Josh Gordon to give them a convincing win and send them through to the next round.
The Dabbers made 2 changes from the side that started against Stafford Rangers, with Sam Hall returning to the starting line up alongside Osebi Abadaki. Josh Gordon and Mat Bailey made way, joining another returning player in Matt Bell on the bench. First team coach Danny Griggs was also named on the bench due to the FA Cup allowing up to 7 subs to be named.
Ashton on the other hand were rocked by the news that they were losing joint-managers Paul Phillips and Steve Halford following the game, due to the duo being appointed as Stalybridge Celtic’s managers the day before the game. They however named a strong team featuring top scorer Lee Gaskell, Chris Baguley and Joe Connor. Phillips and Halford were both in the squad, with them starting in goal and on the bench respectively.
In driving rain, Nantwich were first to get a chance, with a ball into the 6 yard box side footed straight at Paul Phillips by Ryan Brooke inside a minute. Ashton quickly settled and started to control possession, looking much improved on their last showing against the Dabbers a few weeks ago. Danny Wilkins had their first chance, shooting well wide 8 minutes into the game. However, despite their possession, they fell behind to some poor defending. Andy White once again found himself deep in the opposition half and he capitalised on a poor back pass to Phillips from Alex Frost. He calmly rounded the keeper before squeezing the ball home at the near post to give the Dabbers an early lead after 15 minutes.
Ashton quickly fought back, with a shot from the edge of the box needing to be tipped over the bar by Dave Parton. Both sides were having trouble adapting to the rainy conditions and it limited the amount of goalmouth action in the game. Ashton were seeing more of the ball, but the Dabbers were holding them comfortably at arms length, reducing them to half chances. The Dabbers suffered a blow when Theo Stair was forced off 10 minutes before half time with what looked like a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Godwin Abadaki.
Shortly after, a chipped effort from the edge of the Dabbers penalty area clipped the top of the bar. The ref pointed for a goal kick, although the home team were adamant Parton touched the ball. There was nothing doing though. 4 minutes before half time, Steve Mason was the first player in the book after he scythed down Wayne Riley. A few minutes later, Ryan Brooke pounced on a cross in the box, but his header went over and he was offside anyway. It was the last action in what had been a scrappy half of few chances. The Dabbers held a deserved but slender advantage at the break.
The Dabbers started the 2nd half in a positive fashion, with Osebi Abadaki shooting straight at Phillips only a few minutes in. Mark Lees was next into the book for a late challenge on Sean Cooke as the Dabbers surged forward. Cooke shot the resulting free kick over. Ashton boss Steve Halford made an early double change as he looked for a way back into the game, making a double sub. Ashton once again started to turn up the pressure but once again met a solid wall of Nantwich players halting their progress. A Danny Wilkins half chance at Parton was as good as they could muster.
At the other end, the Dabbers had chances to extend their lead. First a curling Ryan Brooke effort was tipped away by a scrambling Phillips before Riley headed straight at the keeper. Sean Cooke was replaced by the returning Matt Bell a minute later. Riley was in the thick of the action again as he got played in on goal after another counter attack. He rounded Phillips, but his cut back couldn’t find a team mate.
The game heated up in the 67th minute when Sam Hall went into the book for a strong challenge in front of the Dabbers bench. He seemed to win the ball, but the ref didn’t deem the challenge fair. Despite only being a goal to the good, the Dabbers were still counter attacking at every opportunity and got their reward with 12 minutes to go. Nantwich broke in numbers and the ball was fed to Osebi Abadaki by his brother Godwin. He advanced into the penalty area and cooly slotted past the onrushing Phillips to extend the Dabbers advantage. Ryan Brooke made way for Josh Gordon shortly after the goal. Ashton almost had one back when a shot from the edge of the area deflected towards goal off Curtis Jones, but bounced just wide of the post.
After only a few minutes on the pitch, Josh Gordon wrapped up the game for the Dabbers. He linked up well with Godwin Abadaki, making a smart one-two on the edge of the box. He was played in on goal by Abadaki and he showed great composure to put the ball under Phillips and into the bottom corner. It was a great finish and ensured the Dabbers progressed into the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup after 4 straight first round eliminations.
Ashton United: Paul Phillips, Steve Mason(52, Dorney), Adam Mather, Alex Frost, Joe Connor, Mark Lees, Chris Baguley(c)(78, Banim), Cavell Coo, Danny Wilkins, Lee Gaskell, Ryan Crowther(52, Nevins)
Subs: Jack Dorney, Richard Smith, Jody Banim, Rhys Nevins, Steve Halford
Nantwich Town: Dave Parton, Andy White, Ben Harrison, Curtis Jones, Ibou Touray, Sam Hall(c), Wayne Riley, Theo Stair(34, G.Abadaki), Sean Cooke(64, Bell), Osebi Abadaki, Ryan Brooke(78, Gordon)
Subs: Godwin Abadaki, Mat Bailey, Matt Bell, Josh Gordon, Dave Walker, Danny Griggs
Dabbers: Andy White(15), Osebi Abadaki(78), Josh Gordon(81)