Dan Cockerline’s first goal for Nantwich was enough to help the Dabbers to a 1-0 win over Grantham Town in Lincolnshire on Tuesday night.

It was the home side who had the first real opening, Joel Stair misjudging the speed of a ball through and having his pocket picked as he tried to shepherd it out of play, Rio Molyneux was the beneficiary but his effort was deflected behind.

The Dabbers’ first effort came courtesy of Sean Cooke, he let a low ball from the left run across his body and hit a half volley that was just pulled wide, Grantham keeper James Pollard was rooted to his spot, had Cooke got it on target it would surely have been a goal.

Cooke came agonisingly close again just two minutes later. A sharp move from a free kick came to Cooke in a pocket of space and his effort was destined for the top corner were it not for an acrobatic save from Pollard.

Nantwich’s midfield was hit with a couple of blows, the first before the game had even started with David Vaughan pulling out in the warm up as a precaution as he was preparing for his first Dabbers appearance, with Prince Haywood stepping in.

Then, Caspar Hughes was forced off after half an hour after not being able to shake off an impact injury, Connor Heath replacing him.

But Haywood, along with Ibrahima Sy on what was his last appearance for Nantwich before returning to Stoke City, were dominating the middle of the park and leaving Grantham forced to foul them on a few occasions.

And Heath, playing in a less familiar right wing/forward role, had a great impact, none more so than for the only goal of the game.

Latty-Fairweather had the ball in the left corner but was short of options, Heath capitalised on this by pressing and winning the ball off him, then charging towards goal his shot was not held by Pollard and Cockerline was there to pounce and score as all good strikers are.

Cooke should have made it two on the cusp of half-time, more good work from Cockerline saw him have the vision to pick out Cooke with a pull back but he just couldn’t get it on target in terrible weather conditions in Grantham.

In the second half, Heath again tested Pollard with a free kick that the keeper again failed to hold, Cockerline looked to profit once more but Grantham were quick to clear.

Then, a delightful move should again have resulted in a second goal. A dinked ball over the defence from Cooke found Luke Walsh in the left channel, he lofted across the box to Cockerline but the ball skimmed off his head and wide, a firmer contact would have given the ending that passage of play deserved.

Manny Kianga had half a chance for Grantham, seeing the ball come to him in the box all the way but missing his kick as he tried to turn it towards goal.

Despite not killing the game off, Nantwich were still managing things well and had largely taken the sting out of the match until the third minute of stoppage time, when a ball came in to a packed penalty area and was somehow put wide from about 15 yards out for Grantham, it had to be their moment but it was the Dabbers day for a vital three points to stop the bad run and set us up for a massive home game against South Shields on Saturday.

Teams

Grantham Town: Pollard, Tuntulawana, Latty-Fairweather, Shrimpton, Williamson, Adelekan, Molyneux, Grice, Wafula, Wright (Lee, 63), Kianga

Subs not used: Modest, Skinner, Ademir, Parkin

Nantwich Town: Gould, Stair, Devine, Harrison (Bourne, 73), Langley, Sy, Haywood, Hughes (Heath, 31), Cockerline, Cooke, Walsh (Mwasile, 86)

Subs not used: Vaughan, Montefiori

Goal: Cockerline (39)

Attendance: 163