The Dabbers are set to travel to Wincham Park to face Cheshire rivals Witton Albion in the Second Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy on Tuesday evening. The winner of the tie will host either Hereford FC or St Neots Town FC in the Third Round.
How they got to the Second Round – Witton Albion
Witton were given a bye in the Third Qualifying Round after their opponents, Scarborough Athletic were forced to forfeit the due to them having a number of COVID-19 cases in the squad. The Albs were then drawn at home to fellow Northern Premier League Premier Division side Bamber Bridge in the First Round Proper. The sides should have met on Tuesday 8th December but a waterlogged pitch at Wincham Park meant that the tie was played on Saturday 12th December. Two first half goals from Will Jones and Isaac Baldwin helped the Mid-Cheshire side to a 2-0 Victory.
How they got to the Second Round – Nantwich Town
The Dabbers started their FA trophy campaign with a 3-2 victory away at Southern League Premier Division Central side Redditch united, A goal either side of the break from Callum Saunders and a thunderbolt from Prince Haywood helped the Dabbers progress into the next round.
In the First Round proper Nantwich hosted Northern Premier league North West Division side Workington AFC. The tie was played on Tuesday night and both sides gave a very good account of themselves. Dave Cooke’s side took the lead after first half substitute Callum Saunders who had replaced the injured Matty Devine after just eight minutes, gave the Dabbers the lead. His mazy run down the left flank allowed him to get into to the box before he squeezed his strike in between the keeper and the near post to put The Dabbers ahead. Soon after, Nantwich doubled their lead, after good work down the right side, David Webb got to the by-line and crossed to Scott McGowan who nonchalantly flicked home his first goal in Dabbers colours. The Dabbers were by far the better side in the first half so manager Dave Cooke would have been pleased with what he had seen. The second half however, watch much different. The visitors came out of the blocks looking very strong. The pulled a goal back from the penalty spot when Connor Tinnion sent Greg Hall the wrong way to make the scores 2-1. Workington were now chasing a goal and they were throwing everything they had at the Nantwich goal. This came back to bite them in the 90th minute when Nantwich broke and Scott McGowan beat the onrushing keeper to the ball before slotting home, into an empty net from 25 yards to send his side into the next round.
SEASON SO FAR – Witton Albion
Witton have made an excellent start to their Northern Premier League campaign as they sit in 5th place after their first seven games. They have won five and lost two games so far this season. Their first win came at home to Radcliffe as they emphatically won 4-1 thanks to a first half Scott Bakkor hat-trick and then a late strike from Will Jones. They then beat Basford United after early goals from experienced centre back Steve McNulty and an own goal from Lewis Carr helped Albion run out 2-0 victors. A week later they beat Scarborough Athletic 1-0 thanks to Scott Bakkor’s second half strike. Since then, they have seen off Gainsborough Trinity and Atherton Collieries to help them rise up the table.
SEASON SO FAR – Nantwich Town
The Dabbers suffered their first loss in the league in their last outing before lockdown as they were beaten 4-0 at home to high flying Mickleover. Apart from that loss, Dave Cooke’s side made a good start to their season, as they have drawn four and won two of their first seven league games. The wins have come against Stalybridge Celtic who they beat 3-0 thanks to goals from Joel Stair, Connor Heath and Prince Haywood. Three days later they made it two wins in three days after they dramatically beat Buxton. The Dabbers went a goal down after just six minutes as James Hirst put Buxton in front, The Dabbers left it late to come back as James Lawrie’s late penalty and then Joel Stairs 88th minute header saw them run out 2-1 winners.
One to watch – Steve McNulty
In Steve McNulty, Witton have one of the leagues more experienced players. The former Tranmere centre half has made well over 350 football league appearances. McNulty has played for sides like Luton Town where he won player of the year in their 2013/14 conference premier winning campaign, the season after he was then named in the league two PFA team of the year. More recently McNulty played for Tranmere Rovers where he captained his side to a Vanarama National League play-off win in the 2017-18 season. The season after McNulty captained his side to another play-off win as Tranmere made it back-to-back promotions as they beat Newport County 1-0 in the final at Wembley stadium in another play-off final.
It should be an excellent game on Tuesday with both sides looking to progress into the next round of the FA Trophy to set up a home tie against either National League North side Hereford FC or Southern League Division One Central side St Neots Town.
Admission fees are as follows (It is pay on the day!):
18-21-year olds: £6
Under 18’s £2