A frustrating evening for the Dabbers saw league leaders, South Shields take a 0-1 victory on the road; the only goal coming from youngster Bali Mumba early in the second half.
Both teams showed their quality in the early stages of the game, providing a high-paced, high intensity outlook from the off. The Dabbers almost got off to the perfect start, with Sean Cooke’ early free-kick almost swinging into the far corner of the goal.
Jason Gilchrist then provided the visitors first effort shortly after, his headed effort from Jon Shaw’s deflected cross looped just over Cameron Gregory’s crossbar. Only minutes later, Sunderland loanee Bali Mumba collected the ball on the edge of the box, did well to cut inside and fire a low effort at Gregory’s inside post, but Gregory made no mistake in pushing it wide.
After a quiet spell for both sides, Cooke’s corner fell right back to him. After taking it past a defender with his first touch, he fired a low deflected effort which almost caught Boney out, but he did well to get a strong hand onto it. Shortly after, Cooke was again the centre of the action for Nantwich as pulled off a clever flick to send Joe Mwasile on his way. Mwasile then laid off Joe Malkin, who forced a fine save from former Dabbers, Myles Boney in goal.
Shields came close to coming into half time one goal ahead, after Jordan Hunter struck an effort which deflected off a Nantwich defender and looked to nestling into the top corner, but it flew just wide of the post.
The Dabbers started the second-half slowly, instantly being put under pressure by the South Shield’s high attacking line, and the early pressure paid for the Mariners. Sunderland loanee Bali Mumba collected the ball on the edge of the box, created space for himself by taking the ball past a Nantwich defender, and calming slotted the ball home into the far corner to give the league leaders the lead.
The goal gave South Shields a new lease of life, with their new found confidence leaving the hosts trapped in their own half and failing to keep possession. However, the Dabbers’ patience eventually came close to paying off. Mwasile played a nicely weighted through-ball to Malkin who took the ball past Jon Shaw, but struggled to get enough power behind his effort to trouble Boney.
Only minutes later, Matty Devine picked up the ball on the left wing and laid it off to Aaron Burns, who was making his second debut for the club. The forward cut inside onto his right foot but his shot was well over.
With the Dabbers starting to pile on the pressure, Shields came close to taking an opportunity on the break which could have sealed them the game. Mumba used his pace on the left wing to break away from Troy Bourne and deliver a cross onto the head of Gilchrist, but his header was directed just over the crossbar.
The last ten minutes was a largely frustrating time for Nantwich, with the only goal-scoring opportunity coming from Cooke’s free-kick which found the towering head on Malkin, but his header went over the crossbar.
All in all, it was a disappointing result for Nantwich against a very well organised South Shields side, who managed the game well after they took the lead early into the second period. The Dabbers’ next game in their push for promotion comes as they face Matlock Town at Causeway Lane in Derbyshire this Saturday. Their next home game is against fellow promotion contenders Basford United, next Tuesday evening.
Nantwich Town: Cameron Gregory, Prince Haywood, Matty Devine, Joel Stair (Aaron Burns, 65’), Josh Langley, Ben Harrison, Jimmy Lawrie, Caspar Hughes © (Troy Bourne, 46’), Joe Malkin (Callum Saunders, 87’), Sean Cooke, Joe Mwasile
Unused Subs: Danny Griggs, Will Saxon
South Shields: Myles Boney, Jordan Hunter, Blair Adams (Josh Gillies, 81’), Wouter Verstraaten, Dillon Morse (Craig Baxter, 19’), Gary Brown (Sefton Gonzales, 61’), Robert Briggs, Callum Ross, Jason Gilchrist, Jon Shaw (C), Bali Mumba
Unused Subs: Phil Turnbull, Nathan Lowe
Referee: Claudio Gavillucci
Man of the Match: Ben Harrison