Photos by Jonathan White
Nantwich Town made it 4 games unbeaten with 4 clean sheets after a goalless draw away at Gainsborough Trinity.
In truth, from early on it looked like a game where both teams were more afraid of losing than of going to win the game, but there were flashes of quality in there.
Joe Robbins curled an early effort over the Trinity bar, then a couple of early yellow cards were given out to Dabbers players.
Jamie Morgan was booked for a shirt pull only 8 minutes in, and up against Jovon Makama who has scored in Gainsboroughs last three matches, it meant he had to walk the proverbial tightrope for more than 80 minutes, but did so really well.
Troy Bourne also got a booking, but a challenge on Bourne in the first 5 minutes that left him with a bloodied lip went unpunished.
Freddie Draper sliced wide for Gainsborough’s first shot, not troubling Sam Tickle on his debut in the Dabbers goal after his loan signing from Wigan.
Bourne was well positioned to cover for Josh Langley after Draper had evaded him and got a strong challenge in.
There was little attacking wise to report until 7 minutes from the break, when Trinity midfielder Elicha Ahui let fly from about 25 yards out, Tickle was taking no chances and tipped it over the bar.
After Joel Stair just couldn’t stretch to get an effort in from a Dabbers corner, the hosts had another couple of half chances before half time.
Makama headed over, then a corner in stoppage time somehow missed everyone in blue, before Draper blasted over a presentable opportunity, and that was that for the half.
Akiel Raffie showed good defensive instincts to track back and tackle Josh Hinds who was threatening for Gainsborough.
Cieron Keane was the latest Trinity player to try from range, and again it was not far away but it said a lot about the game that these ambitious tries were as close as we were getting to a goal.
The Dabbers attack was significantly improved by the introduction of Thommy Montefiori on the hour mark, immediately he was committing Gainsborough defenders and leaving them for dead on several occasions.
One twisting move saw him break away from 4 Trinity players who were around him, before squaring to Joe Robbins, who was finding more space with players chasing down Thommy, his effort was off target but it was clear that Trinity were the most unsettled they’d been in the whole game.
Montefiori himself came closest of all to breaking the stalemate 11 minutes from time, combining with Robbins again he tried to finish at the near post, but Ryan Yates got down well to palm it behind (pictured below). The corner was headed over by Stair and that was that attacking wise from the Dabbers.
In the end, Dave Cooke agreed after the game that a draw was the right result, and was full of praise for Tickle, Thommy and Troy Bourne, who he called the ‘best centre half in the league’.
Gainsborough Trinity: Matt Yates, George Hornshaw, Prosper Keto, Neal Bishop, Stefan Galinski, Isaac Ric, Jovon Makama, Elicha Ahui, Freddie Draper (Jack Gibson. 82), Cieron Keane, Josh Hines (Toby Gould, 53).
Subs not used: Morgan Worsfold-Gregg, Tom Cursons, Joe Parkin
Nantwich Town: Sam Tickle, Joel Stair, Jamie Morgan, Troy Bourne, Josh Langley, Matt Bell, Akiel Raffie Joe Robbins, Jacob Bickerstaff, Sean Cooke, Shaun Miller (Thommy Montefiori, 61).
Subs not used: Joe Malkin, Luke Nock, Connor Heath, Jon Moran
Referee: Ian Johnstone