The Dabbers earned themselves a hard earned draw on the road under the floodlights of the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Twice did Nantwich take the lead through James Lawrie penalties, but twice they were pegged back by the Brig’s all-time most appeared player, Alistair Waddecar. The result leaves Nantwich fifth in the table, and also six games unbeaten.
Nantwich started the brighter side, with an early effort from Joe Malkin saved well by Danny Roccia, after some good hold up play from Joe Mwasile. The early pressure from the Dabbers paid off, as captain Caspar Hughes caused havoc for the Bamber Bridge defence, and was brought down in the box. The resultant penalty was calmly put away by Lawrie.
A quiet spell followed the goal, with both sides struggling to break apart the opposing defence. The Brig almost grabbed one back after Nantwich failed to pick up the run of Kieran Charnock from a corner, and his powerful header skimmed the cross bar on the way over.
Sean Cooke came close to doubling the lead for Nantwich when his free-kick cannoned off the underside of the cross bar and bounced off the line.
As the first half progressed, Bamber Bridge gradually pushed the Nantwich defence back, not allowing any time for the Dabbers players to get control over the game. Greg Hall almost got himself in a spot of trouble after his misplaced pass fell to the feet of the Bamber Bridge forward, however his shot was deflected out for a corner. Eventually, the pressure paid off for Bamber Bridge. Chris Marlow managed to create space or himself down the left wing, and his cross to the front post was turned in by the head of Waddecar.
The host’s began the second period in similar fashion to how they’d finished. An early effort from powerful striker Michael Fowler was no trouble for Hall in the Dabbers goal. The second half saw the heavens open at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, making it tough for Nantwich to play their usual intricate passing style of football.
Nantwich’s second penalty of game came when a long ball was played into an awkward area for the Brig’s defence and goal-keeper, and Walsh took advantage of this. His managed to get a touch on the ball, and the referee judged that he’d been brought down by Bamber Bridge’s goalkeeper, much to the disbelief of the home fans. Lawrie again stepped up, and Lawrie again slotted the ball into the back of the net to give the Dabbers the lead.
However, Nantwich’s lead didn’t last long. More confusion in the Dabbers defence saw Fowler go down in the box, and again, the referee pointed to the penalty spot for the third time in the game – this time to the disbelief of the away support. Fan-favourite Waddecar stepped up and made no mistake in equalising for his second of the evening.
Both sides pushed to get the three points in the last ten minutes, but both sides failed to capitalise. A spectacular late effort from Walsh never worried the Brig goalkeeper. The full-time whistle saw the Dabbers earn a point on the road, and ultimately a result they can be happy with. Nantwich’s next game is against Radcliffe FC on Saturday 12th of October at The Weaver, where they look to make it seven games (five in the league) without a loss.