By James Brown:
A stoppage time winner from Steve Jones saw Nantwich Town open the 2018/19 Evo Stik League season with an impressive victory against Gainsborough Trinity at the Weaver Stadium.
In what was a largely tight affair between two well drilled teams, it was the Dabbers who narrowly came out on top against ten man Trinity who had centre half Nathan Stainfield sent-off after 70 minutes after being judged as last man by the referee.
Nantwich took advantage and after a spell of pressure in the final 15 minutes a Joe Mwasile cross towards the back post was nodded across goal by debutant Callum Saunders into the path of substitute Jones to turn the ball home in the first minute of time added on to claim all three points.
For the opening game of the new season, Dabbers manager Dave Cooke named four new signings in the starting XI as Danny Glover, James Lawrie, Callum Saunders and Louis Barnes all got the nod while new loan signing Will Jaaskelainen started in goal.
The first half at the Weaver was very cagey with little by the way of chances on goal for either side. Gainsborough enjoyed a better spell of possession to begin the game, looking to create opportunities by reverting to the long ball which almost played in Damian Reeves in the opening minute however Jaaskelainen was quick off his line to claim.
Some determined defending from the likes of Joel Stair and Matt Bell prevented the visitors from getting a look in on goal as they continued to press early on before Glover made an important clearance after a low corner towards the near post was heading for the net.
Following the early pressure Nantwich got a foot hold in the game and enjoyed a spell of possession which turned into a decent opportunity as Saunders set for Bell on the edge of the box however the midfielder fired his effort just wide.
Following a foul from Troy Bourne which resulted in the defender receiving the first Dabbers yellow card of the season, Jaaskelainen produced a fine save to deny Alex Byrne from the free-kick.
One of the best chances for Trinity to take the lead came on the half hour mark when the visitors countered and had men over however the move broke down before a point blank stop from the Nantwich shot-stopper denied Ashley Worsfold.
Reeves could also have given Gainsborough a half-time lead when Stair was caught in possession inside his own half however Bourne made a terrific sliding block to prevent a shot on target. Lawrie also had a shot blocked at the other end in the closing stages but at the break the teams went in goalless.
The second half saw the intensity of the game rise a considerable amount as both sides pushed for an opening goal. Gainsborough had an early penalty shout for handball on Jamie Morgan waved away by the referee before Jaaskelainen kept out another Worsfold effort this time down to his left.
Saunders was beginning to get himself on the ball a lot more as the second half progressed and was causing the tiring Trinity defenders problems going forward with his pace. Some nice Dabbers link-up play from the likes of captain Caspar Hughes and Jordan Davies just after the hour almost sent the winger in on goal however a heavy touch allowed keeper Jon Stewart to race out of his goal to end any danger.
Man of the match Morgan was also having a lot of joy down the right beating his marker on numerous occasions and delivering dangerous looking crosses which were just evading a Nantwich player in the box. Following a Saunders effort being dragged wide, the striker was sent clean through on goal before being hauled down by Stainfield with 20 minutes to go. The Trinity centre half was deemed to be the last man and was shown a straight red card by referee Dale Baines.
The momentum in the game was all with the Dabbers following the sending off as they applied a lot of pressure on Gainsborough inside the final 15 minutes with substitute Joe Mwasile using his electric pace and tenacity to create openings, feeding another substitute Steve Jones on the right but the winger’s cross was too deep and didn’t cause Stewart any problems.
A barrage of attacks from Nantwich saw Bell, Saunders and Jones all denied by saves, blocks and near misses however a goal was coming and it was that man Jones to got what turned out to be the winner in the first minute of added time when Mwasile’s deep cross was headed across the six yard box by Saunders onto the onrushing winger to nod home past a helpless Stewart.
Gainsborough looked for a late, late equaliser with a free-kick lofted into the box however a header looped over the bar as the referee blew the final whistle on an opening day win for the Dabbers!
Buxton will be the visitors to the Weaver Stadium this Tuesday 21st August as Nantwich look to make it two wins from two (7:45pm kick-off).
Nantwich Town: Will Jaaskelainen, Jamie Morgan, Louis Barnes, Joel Stair, Troy Bourne, Caspar Hughes (c), Jordan Davies (Joe Mwasile 68’), Matt Bell, Danny Glover (Steve Jones 76’), James Lawrie (Nathan Cotterell 61’), Callum Saunders
Subs not used: Joe Malkin, Clayton McDonald
Gainsborough Trinity: Jon Stewart, Neil Austin, Ben Gordon, Shane Clarke (Simon Russell 89’), Ioan Evans, Nathan Stainfield, Alex Byrne, Liam King (c), Ashley Worsfold, Damian Reeves (Ross Hannah 67’), Alex Simmons (Joe Maguire 71’)
Subs not used: Cameron Hough, Elliot Wilson
Referee: Dale Baines
Photos courtesy of Mark Welton« Back to all news