A Kingsley Williams goal eleven minutes from time gave Radcliffe a 1-0 victory over Nantwich Town at the Weaver Stadium.
Just three minutes earlier, Jimmy Lawrie saw a penalty and rebound stopped by Radcliffe keeper Oliver Martin after Matty Devine was brought down.
The goal came from the Radcliffe left, a low cross was dummied by Liam Ellis and was swept home by Williams for the three points.
It was the visitors who edged a tight first half, Jon Macken’s side were well set up and limited Nantwich’s options when they were in possession. But the Dabbers were also guilty of conceding the ball too easily, particularly in midfield.
The Boro had the lions’ share of opportunities in the first 45. Their number 9, Ben Wharton, was a big physical presence and shot over in the first ten minutes after a cutback from Tyrese Sinclair.
Sinclair, the 18-year-old son of Radcliffe coach and former Chelsea defender Frank, was a real handful, showing genuine pace on a number of occasions and looking good from both feet. He was afforded too much space by the Dabbers but even when he didn’t have space he still made life difficult for Joe Davis.
Joe Malkin had the Dabbers’ best effort of the first half, heading low towards the corner from a Matty Devine cross, Radcliffe keeper Oliver Martin doing well to push away.
Wharton was central again on 24 minutes, trying the spectacular overhead and so nearly pulling it off, only for Greg Hall to even more acrobatically save. It was exceptional goalkeeping, and Wharton made sure to high-five Hall for his efforts.
Nantwich had a big escape just two minutes later. Sinclair was again the provider, pulling back for Radcliffe skipper Richard Smith, who expertly guided a shot into the bottom corner. Wharton was positioned in the line of the ball, and the assistant adjudged him to be offside, cutting short the visitors’ celebrations.
Wharton was caught offside a couple more times in the half in threatening positions, leaving the Dabbers feeling fortunate to go into the break goalless.
It was more of the same at the start of the second half, with it taking some personnel changes to kick-start the Dabbers efforts in the match.
Josh Langley tried an audacious David Beckham style effort from a free kick on the half way line early in the half, it always looked as if it was going wide but Martin caught it anyway.
The Dabbers survived a couple of big scrambles early in the second half. Sinclair was the architect again, standing up a cross for Liam Ellis who managed to head it straight at Hall when either side would have been the opener.
Then, an almighty scramble in front of Hall’s goal with so many players it was impossible to tell who did what. Somehow it did not go in and Nantwich fought on.
After withstanding all the pressure, it looked as if the Dabbers were going to steal the lead when they won a penalty on 76 minutes. Matty Devine marauded down the left into the box, and drew a foul from Prince Haywood.
Jimmy Lawrie stood up after scoring two spot kicks in the week against Bamber Bridge. But it was not to be this time as Martin guessed the right way and pushed it out. Lawrie was there for the rebound but so was Martin and this time it was Radcliffe who had to scramble away.
Lawrie may have been affected by some gamesmanship from Scott Metcalfe who lingered in the goal in order to delay the taking. Cynical, maybe, but it worked.
Then, just three minutes later, Radcliffe struck. Metcalfe got in down the left, and his low cross was cleverly stepped over by Ellis to leave early substitute Williams an easy finish.
Valdemar Schousboe and Joe Mwasile had a positive impact from the bench, Mwasile coming closest in the last minute of normal time, hitting the side netting from a narrow angle, some of the bumper 609 attendance on Non-League Day thought it was in.
This result brings to an end the seven-game unbeaten run for the Dabbers, who will quickly look to move on from this with a massive game next Saturday. The Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup comes to the Weaver with Kings Lynn the opponent to only a third ever entrance into the First Round proper.
Nantwich Town: Greg Hall, Joe Davis, Matty Devine, Joel Stair, Josh Langley, Caspar Hughes (C), James Lawrie, Matt Bell, Joe Malkin, Sean Cooke (Joe Mwasile 71′), Luke Walsh (Valdemar Schousboe 60′)
Subs not used: Troy Bourne, Ben Harrison, Callum Parker
Yellow cards: James Lawrie 70′, Matt Bell 73′
Radcliffe FC: Oliver Martin, Javid Swaby-Neavin, Scott Metcalfe, Prince Haywood, Callum Grogan, Matt Hughes (Kingsley Williams 20′), Tyrese Sinclair, Richard Smith (C), Ben Wharton (Daniel Mitchley 71′), Liam Ellis, Tom Brown (Matthew Crothers 60′)
Subs not used: Elliot Rokka, Matthew Wolfenden
Goals: Kingsley Williams 79′
Yellow cards: None