By James Brown:
Nantwich Town bowed out of the Integro League Cup on Tuesday evening after a 4-1 penalty shootout defeat to Chasetown FC following a 1-1 draw at a wet and windy Weaver Stadium.
In a first half where the visitors showed more of a goal threat, it was the Dabbers who took the lead after 39 minutes when a Joe Malkin shot was blocked and fell kindly for Steve Jones who turned past Chasetown keeper Curtis Pond and slotted home a really well taken goal.
It looked as though Nantwich would go into the half-time break with a one goal advantage however in stoppage time the referee awarded the visitors a penalty following a collision in the box which William Whieldon smashed down the middle to equalise.
As heavy rain continued to fall throughout the night causing standing water on the pitch, it made playing fluent football a lot more difficult with the Dabbers not being able to create too many opportunities.
Jones and substitute Danny Glover both had good sights of goal however couldn’t find the target while Sean Cooke was denied by a fantastic Pond save after thumping a half volley from the edge of the box.
At the other end Chasetown looked a real threat, forcing returning Nantwich keeper Fabian Spiess into a couple of fine saves but the game ended all square and headed to penalties.
In the shootout it was Chasetown keeper Pond who made himself the hero, saving Malkin and James Lawrie penalties with two superb saves before Jacob Lovatt stepped up and scored to send Chasetown into the next round.
Dabbers manager Dave Cooke made wholesale changes from the side which beat Whitby Town 4-1 on Saturday, bringing in the likes of Declan O’Riordan and Niall Cope while Joel Stair, Caspar Hughes, Callum Saunders and Will Jaaskelainen were all rested.
On a soaking wet night in South Cheshire, it was Chasetown who handled the conditions better in the opening stages, with a well timed header from Jonathan Beaumont forcing a smart stop from returning Dabbers keeper Fabian Spiess.
The visitors midfielder could then consider himself lucky to remain on the pitch 16 minutes in following a reckless challenge on Sean Cooke however the referee only showed a yellow card.
It was that man Beaumont again who had a golden opportunity to give Chasetown the lead after 25 minutes after a loose ball fell for him inside the box however a poor effort was dragged wide of the left hand post.
At the other end a good chance for Nantwich fell to Steve Jones minutes later after the winger beat his man on the right and forced Curtis Pond into a fine save.
Jones was to be denied by Pond once more on the half hour but his persistence was soon to pay off six minutes before half-time when a Joe Malkin shot was blocked and fell kindly allowing the Dabbers winger to turn past the outrushing keeper and slot home to make it 1-0.
Chasetown continued to press in the closing stages of the first half, with a good stop from Spiess down low to his right keeping out the visitors before a collision in the box allowed William Whieldon to equalise from the spot in stoppage time.
A bright start to the second half from the Dabbers produced some decent opportunities to re-take the lead, with Jones almost pulling off an identical goal to the opener, attempting to take a Malkin pass around Pond but this time a heavy touch took him away from goal.
Pond was on hand to make a wonderful save seven minutes into the second half, somehow getting something onto a Sean Cooke rocket which was destined for the top corner.
The heavy rain began to cause some real problems for both sides as the second half progressed with standing water noticeably disrupting the fluidity of the game. Credit to the Dabbers and Chasetown who continued to play an entertaining game in great spirits.
Some sloppy play at the back from Declan O’Riordan allowed Muzzy Nduna a good look on goal on the hour mark however Spiess was there again to frustrate the visitors.
James Lawrie, Danny Glover and Aaron Knight all came on for Nantwich as the search for a winner stepped up, with Harry Cain heading down a Cooke pass into the path of Glover who curled a well struck effort just around the post.
A double Chasetown block to deny O’Riordan and Troy Bourne was the last proper chance for either side as the game ended level.
In the shootout, despite Glover converting his spot kick, saves from Pond to keep out Malkin and Lawrie allowed Jacob Lovatt the chance to send Chasetown into the next round and he slotted into the bottom corner as the Dabbers bowed out.
Focus for Nantwich can now turn to the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon as National League North side Blyth Spartans travel to the Weaver Stadium (3pm kick-off).
Nantwich Town: Fabian Spiess, Jamie Morgan, Nathan Cotterell (James Lawrie 48’), Declan O’Riordan, Troy Bourne, Niall Cope, Joe Mwasile (Aaron Knight 75’), Steve Jones (Danny Glover 66’), Joe Malkin, Sean Cooke (c), Harry Cain
Subs not used: Will Jaaskelainen (GK), Sam Croft
Chasetown FC: Curtis Pond, Harry Goode, Sam Luke, Richard Smith (c), James O’Neill, Jonathan Beaumont (Jack Langston 67’), George Cater, Jack Partridge, Muzzy Nduna (Nicholas Wellecomme 81’), William Whieldon, Matthew Hardman (Jacob Lovatt 77’)
Subs not used: Joshua Beaumont
Referee: Leslie Sinclair« Back to all news