Ahead of the Dabbers’ season opener against Gainsborough Trinity this Saturday, we take a look back at what has been an entertaining pre-season program and what effect it may have on the upcoming league campaign.
Nantwich’s pre-season kicked off against a very familiar opponent in Crewe Alexandra. This edition of the annual match-up had added significance with it being the first under the renamed Barry Daly Memorial Trophy, in rememberance of the much-loved Crewe staff member who passed away in June. The game itself was a memorable win for the Dabbers, with a screamer from Sean Cooke and a James Lawrie penalty securing a 2-1 victory in front of a bumper crowd.
The Dabbers’ other Football League opponents this summer were Bury. This was another positive result, with a 1-1 draw following a Joe Mwasile equaliser. The game made national headlines for all the wrong reasons, with Bury’s squad composed entirely of trialists and as of yet they have not played a competitive game as their deep financial problems are still under review but hopefully will soon be resolved.
The first defeat of pre-season came at the hands of Winsford United, who beat the Dabbers in brutal summer conditions.
Next up was a mini European Tour, as the Dabbers played two games across the border in Wales. The first of these was a trip to Llandudno and a comfortable 2-0 win, which included Jamie Reed’s stunning free-kick. The same result was delivered against Colwyn Bay thanks to a Sean Cooke double.
This was followed with another victory back at the Weaver against Newcastle Town, a 2-1 win during one of the summer’s record-breaking heatwaves.
Higher league opposition then returned to the Weaver Stadium in Curzon Ashton. An entertaining
game finished 2-2 with Joe Malkin and Luke Walsh getting on the scoresheet against the
Manchester-based outfit. This preceeded the Dabbers going up to Manchester for a 2-2 draw with Ramsbottom.
The Dabbers’ penultimate contest saw Stourbridge make the trip to Nantwich. Another closely-fought match ended in a 1-1 draw. A neat passing move was finished off by Jamie Reed to take the lead, before getting pegged back midway through the second half.
A successful pre-season ended on a disappointing note, with Leek Town leaving the Weaver with a 2-1 victory, but with Will Saxon getting his first goal for the club after signing in the summer, there were positives to take from the game.
There was plenty of game time for all the Dabbers’ new recruits, from goalkeeper Greg Hall who performed consistently well, to Ben Harrison, who returned to the club against Stourbridge, and many others in between.
And there was more good news from the set of trialists who took to the field over the summer, with David Webb’s signing being confirmed after impressive showings in midfield.
It all adds up to show a club that is in a good place ahead of the new season, looking to go one better than the play-off heartbreaks of recent years.
You can watch the Dabbers’ first step in what is sure to be an exciting campaign against Gainsborough Trinity this Saturday at the Weaver Stadium, with kick-off at 3pm. Admission is priced at £11 for adults, £8 for concessions and £3 for U16s, who are free with a full-paying adult.