Match Report: Nantwich Town 0-0 South Shields

By James Brown:

Evo-Stik Premier Division leaders Nantwich Town had to settle for a share of the spoils despite a penalty miss on Saturday afternoon after a hard fought 0-0 draw against in form South Shields at The Weaver Stadium.

With a good attendance of 422 inside The Weaver, South Shields began the brighter of the two sides, testing the Dabbers back line. Carl Finnigan had the opening opportunity with an open goal but he flashed a ball across the box allowing Louis Barnes to clear.

In very difficult conditions due to heavy rain and strong winds, Nantwich keeper Will Jaaskelainen did well to hold on to a Robert Briggs header. The Dabbers had to absorb plenty of pressure inside the opening 20 minutes but looked to counter with added pace.

What turned out to be the main talking point of the game came on 22 minutes when Callum Saunders latched on to a Joe Mwasile through ball and was caught by the onrushing South Shields keeper Liam Connell. With the chance to give Nantwich the lead, Danny Glover blazed the spot kick high and wide.

After a slow start the Dabbers began to knock on the door with a couple of set-pieces however Sean Cooke and Barnes failed to find the target as the first half ended goalless.

Nantwich began the second half slowly and took a while to grow into the flow of the game similar to the first 45. Gavin Cogdon almost found himself in 1v1 against Jaaskelainen however the stellar Dabbers line led by captain Joel Stair caught him offside.

South Shields enjoyed the majority of possession after the break and found themselves in the Nantwich final third on numerous occasions including a barrage of corners which were defended excellently.

The best Dabbers chance in the second half came just after the hour mark when Cooke found space 30 yards out and fired a rocket towards goal however Connell made a really good one-handed save as the ball began to swerve.

More superb backs against the wall defending followed for the Dabbers including James Lawrie throwing himself in front of a shot and Jaaskelainen making a quick reaction save as a corner was flicked towards the near post. Despite not spending much of the second half in the South Shields half, some much better Nantwich build-up play with 15 minutes to go saw a well timed Cooke flick find the run of Matt Bell however the midfielder fired wide.

With both sides not wanting to settle for a draw, the game became more end-to-end in the final ten minutes with South Shields having the advantage of the gusting wind which troubled the Dabbers defence particularly from set-pieces. A Nantwich free-kick from the right delivered by Cooke was hit wide by substitute Joe Malkin before Finnigan almost won it for the visitors with a dipping header just over the bar.

Against a good side in South Shields this will be considered a good point for the Dabbers with plenty of credit going to the defence as the unbeaten run continues with a trip to Hyde United coming next Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Nantwich Town:  Will Jaaskelainen, Jamie Morgan, Louis Barnes, Joel Stair (c), Toby Mullarkey, Matt Bell, Joe Mwasile (Caspar Hughes 64’), James Lawrie, Danny Glover (Joe Malkin 54’), Sean Cooke, Callum Saunders (Steve Jones 78’)

Subs not used:  Troy Bourne, Nathan Cotterell

South Shields:  Liam Connell, Craig Baxter, Blair Adams, Jon Shaw (c), Dillon Morse, Phil Turnbull, Gavin Cogdon (Josh Gillies 66’), Robert Briggs, Lee Mason (David Foley 74’), Carl Finnigan, Nathan Lowe (Gary Brown 80’)

Subs not used:  Ursene Mouanda, Ben Harmison

Attendance:  422

Referee:  Mr Dale Baines

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