Stourbridge vs Nantwich Match Report – 21st August 2017. Result: 1-1

Stourbridge vs Nantwich Match Report – 21st August 2017. Result: 1-1

Before kick off, Nantwich Town Manager Dave Cooke and his assistants Danny Griggs and Steve Jones would have been very pleased with an away point at Stourbridge, not a happy hunting ground for The Dabbers in recent seasons. Stourbridge have long been one of the strongest teams in the Premier division, and this season seemed no different with a strong start gaining 7 points from a possible 9.

However, when the final whistle blew, there was a sense of slight disappointment from the management and players alike, as Nantwich dominated the final quarter of the match and were the only team that looked like winning it – and that is of great credit to this new look Nantwich side.

Nantwich remained unchanged from the weekend’s 2-0 win against Workington. The bench was exactly the same too.

Kicking off in the County Insurance sponsored yellow away kit, the game was fairly even in the first ten minutes with both sides willing to take risks and attack, but without leaving their defence too exposed. There were no shots on goals in the first fifteen minutes but a number of set pieces, all marshalled well by each defence.

Then, on 17 minutes, Stourbridge took the lead. A rare mistake from Stair led to the goal, when he overran the ball and lost control, then narrowly missed his recovery tackle letting in Jordan Archer who slipped the ball past Burzynski. 1-0 Stourbridge. Joel Stair has been a revelation since joining the club last season, a real footballing centre back who can create chances as well as defend. To his credit, within a few minutes he was making a mazy run into the Stourbridge area, determined to get Nantwich back into the game.

On 24 minutes the Man of the Match against Workington, keeper Krystian Burzynski, made a good save advancing on the edge of the area and dropped the ball just before he left the penalty box – great awareness there.

The rest of the first half was pretty even and uneventful in terms of real goal opportunities – in fact, the only chance of the game had fallen to Stourbridge and it was them that led at half time by one goal to nil.

The Dabbers started brightly in the second half and on 50 minutes they were level. It was a cracking goal too. Jordan Davies dribbled and lost his man brilliantly, he passed it onto Caspar Hughes who looked up and saw Matt Bell in the box, finding him with a cross and Bell then rifled home to equalise. Game on and 1-1 was the score.

Sean Cooke continued his comeback from six months out with injury on 56 mins, replacing Sam Hall who himself had tweaked a muscle in the upper leg / buttocks area.

Kaiman Anderson quickly followed as the second substitute, replacing Forbes.

Nantwich were slightly on top at this point but these two substitutes really changed the momentum of the game towards The Dabbers, with much needed fresh legs after the team played only 48 hours earlier. Caspar Hughes used to play with Sean Cooke for AFC Fylde and they clicked into place straight away again.

However on 59 minutes Nantwich needed a brave save from Burzynski who rushed out to the feet of the striker, knowing he was going to get hurt, but still saved the ball that went out for a corner. Some more great stuff from Krystian.

Nantwich were really clicking by this point, with some excellent passing and break-away play that Stourbridge were struggling to contain.

Anderson nearly got on the end of a Sean Cooke free kick on 64 minutes and was unlucky after some great movement in the opposition box.

Anderson was involved again shortly afterwards with a fizzing shot that went straight to Taylor, the Glassboys keeper, and again moments after with a chest down into the path of Clayton who shot over the bar.

The game was really opening up and was end to end, that said it was largely Nantwich that was causing the most problems and you could sense the nervousness in the Stourbridge crowd.

The final Dabbers sub saw Steve Jones come on for Clayton on 80 mins, Harry had run tirelessly all game.

A minute later Jones had a great chance but was unaware how much time he had, shooting over the bar when he had time perhaps to control first.

Then, nearly another Cooke golden moment, we have seen him do it before! The Stourbridge keeper cleared danger well outside his penalty area and the ball dropped to Cooke, about 45 yards out. Looking up, he unleashed a great lob that looked all the world that it would drop into the top of the net, but just floated narrowly wide. Fantastic effort.

Dave Cooke was bellowing to the team “We want the winner” and there was not one player in the team that was settling for the point, with all out attack in the closing minutes.

Alas, it wasn’t to be when the final whistle sounded for a 1-1 draw. A very good away point against a very good team, but Nantwich could be proud that they were the better team in the second half and the most likely winner of the 2 teams.

Special mention at this point for the two young full backs Bourne and Morgan, who are getting better and better with every game.

Gary Hackett, the Stourbridge manager, was very complimentary when chatting to Dave Cooke at the end and commented that Nantwich were an excellent footballing team and he was impressed with the rebuilding that had gone on in the summer.

So five points out of a possible 12 is a more than reasonable return with Stalybridge, Altrincham, Workington and Stourbridge the first four tough fixtures.

The next match comes away on Saturday 26th August against Mickleover Sports, kick off 3pm.

Followed quickly by our next home match vs Barwell on Bank Holiday Monday – 28th August.

Your support, as always, is appreciated.

Team: Burzynski: Bourne: Morgan; Stair: Mullarkey: Hall (C): Forbes: Clayton: Bell: Davies (Subs: Anderson, Webster, Mcdonald, Cooke, Jones)

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