Dave Cooke believed that Nantwich Town ‘ran out easy winners’ on a cold Tuesday night in the Cheshire Senior Cup Quarter-Final as the Dabbers recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over Northwich Victoria.
The Dabbers initially struggled to break down the Northwich back-line, but a Joe Malkin brace and a goal from Callum Saunders allowed the Dabbers to progress into their fourth consecutive Cheshire Senior Cup Semi-Final.
“I think we did the job tonight. We made six changes, but the changes to the side weren’t forced.
“They were lads who were injured or suspended so they needed the minutes.
“The game worked out well for us, no-one picked up any injuries so all in all it’s been a good night’s work.” said Cooke.
The manager also believed the victory was a big boost ahead of a challenging trip to South Shields at the weekend.
“As I say, the game has given a lot of minutes in the legs. Prince Haywood was the best player on the pitch tonight; he was steady away at right-back, dropped into the midfield towards the end and looked after the ball well.
“We looked sloppy in the first half so I had to give one or two a rollicking at half-time just to step it up a little bit which they did.
“I had no complaints in the second half – I thought we ran out easy winners in the end.”
After a difficult first forty-five minutes, it looked like the Dabbers may struggle to break down a stubborn Northwich defence, but Cooke praised a super effort from the Trickies.
“Look, there’s a lot of really nice people up at Northwich, and I had a couple of years up there so it was nice to see some old faces.
“I said to the lads before the game that tonight was going to be their cup final. They want to pit themselves against higher opposition, and they adapted really well, especially in the first half.
“They made a lot of things difficult for us and they were unlucky with a couple of chances to be fair.
“I think that, in the second half, we upped our game and a little bit of fitness and quality may have told at the end.
“Some games you don’t win the game in the first half, sometimes it’s about wearing the opposition down which is what we did tonight.”
As the Dabbers reach their fourth consecutive Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final, Cooke is wary of such a difficult quartet as the last four.
“It’s a competition which is close to my heart for many, many reasons.
“I grew up with it and we’ve won it the last two years which has been fantastic.
“It’s a competition we’re not taking lightly – Warrington have won tonight so it’s us and them in the semi-final, possibly joined by Crewe and Vauxhall or Hyde so it’s definitely going to be tough quartet.
“We’ll see who we draw and again give it our best shot.”
Nantwich Town make the trip to South Shields this weekend in the BetVictor Northern Premier Division. Discounted admission is available online on the South Shields FC website.