By Steve Sharman:
A fine individual strike from Daniel Walker-Rice was the difference as Nantwich Town U18s bowed out of the FA Youth Cup losing 1-0 to Tranmere Rovers.
Walker-Rice finished well in the 80th minute as he curled into the top corner in a game that the Dabbers deserved to take into extra-time with Sam Roberts and Robbie Leigh having the hosts’ best chances.
The opening ten minutes offered very little in chances as the visitors had plenty of the ball but were unable to threaten the Nantwich goal.
But three minutes later Rovers had the first real opportunity of the game as Ali Al-Hamadi got in behind the Dabbers defence but saw his shot cannon off the far post.
Having withstood a strong start from their opponents, Nantwich began to find their feet in the game and striker Robbie Leigh was causing the visiting defence problems with his quick feet and pace.
It was then the Dabbers’ turn to strike the woodwork on the half hour mark as Sam Roberts unleashed a superb half-volley from distance which Rovers’ keeper Patrick Wharton did brilliantly to tip onto the post to deny the hosts taking the lead.
Defender Keaton Webster then had the next chance as he could only head Niall Cope’s left wing corner wide of the post.
Rovers were next to go close as five minutes before half time Dabbers’ keeper George Brookes did well to tip George Nugent’s low shot around the post.
The Dabbers made one change at half time as Ross Martin was replaced by David Neligna who nearly had an immediate impact as his fine run down the middle of the park threatened the Tranmere goal, but the visiting defence were able to scramble the ball away to safety.
Sam Croft then saw his close range header saved by Wharton after Jake Davies had found the winger with a floated cross from the left.
Up the other end James Salkeld should have done better as he headed wide from six yards after a cross from the right had found the striker unmarked.
Neligna was involved once again on 75 minutes as a pass found the substitute 30 yards from goal with the winger showing neat play to turn and shoot on goal, only for his effort to go flying over the bar.
But as the game entered into the final ten minutes, Tranmere took the lead through Walker-Rice, who showed neat play on the right hand side of the box, before exquisitely curling into the top corner, leaving Brookes with little chance.
Despite going behind, the Dabbers continued to look for a goal and they nearly had an equaliser late on in stoppage time.
After a bouncing ball was not dealt with by Tranmere, Leigh neatly spun his defender, before watching agonisingly as his shot clipped the outside of the post from ten yards.
This turned out to be the final action of the match as the young Dabbers were applauded off by the 223 in attendance after the game, in which they were unlucky not to take into extra time.
Nantwich Town: Brookes, Sumner, Martin (Neligna 46′), Roberts, Webster, Johnson (c), Croft (Holden 82′), Cope (H. Thornton 72′), Leigh, O’Riordan, Davies
Subs not used: Woolrich, J. Thornton
Tranmere Rovers: Wharton, Soloman-Davies, Ellison, J. Devine (c), Spellman, Drysdale, Al-Hamadi, E. Devine (Moreton 86′), Salkeld (Brett 66′), Walker-Rice, Nugent.
Subs not used: Kerr, Long, Passant (GK)
Referee: J. Kilgannon
Photos: Jonathan White« Back to all news