All pictures by Jonathan White

Two second half goals helped Lancaster City to a 2-0 win over Nantwich Town at the Optimum Pay Stadium.

Charlie Reid had the first attempt of the match for the visitors, heading wide from a dinked ball across the box.

As Dave Cooke remarked after the game, ‘There wasn’t much football played in the first half’,  and that was certainly true, with the ball spending a lot more time in the air than on the ground, never conducive to a fast-flowing, exciting game.

However, there were opportunities and decent spells for both sides, Sean Cooke hitting a free kick against the Lancaster wall, and Simion Wills heading straight at Andy Wycherley.

Charlie Bailey’s deflected shot looped up and over the crossbar as Wycherley could only watch, but it all looked destined to be goalless at half time until a big Dabbers chance.

New Lancaster keeper Wyll Stanway horribly mishit a clearance low and right to the feet of Cooke, who adjusted well and expertly lobbed the stranded Stanway, but the backspin on the ball meant that when it bounced before the goal-line, it held up rather than flew in, giving Lancaster a chance to clear off the line (pictured below), so somehow it was 0-0 at the break.


Then, in a game of fine margins, the luck swung decisively to the visitors. This time it was Wycherley’s turn to shank a long ball, this one from a free kick outside the penalty area, and it was Rhys Turner who was the grateful recipient of this Christmas gift, firing in to the open goal to give Lancaster the lead (pictured below). Another individual error, and another goal conceded early in a second half (this time 5 minutes in), the team in a bad habit of making things incredibly difficult for themselves doing so again.


The Dabbers tried to respond, Cooke drawing a good save from Stanway shortly after the goal, but on the whole it was a lot of huffing and puffing with little to show for it.

And as Nantwich tried ever more desperately to get back into the game, throwing more players up the pitch in the process, they were caught with another sucker punch on 70 minutes.

A Lancaster break wasn’t sufficiently cleared, and it broke to a free Charlie Bailey to bury the ball past Wycherley (pictured below)


There were half chances from headers from both Dan Cockerline and sub Joe Malkin but nothing to trouble Stanway as the Dabbers slumped to another home defeat in the last home game of 2021 to end a year that has been largely one to forget at the Optimum Pay Stadium.

Teams

Nantwich Town: Andy Wycherley, Joel Stair (Shaun Miller, 72), Matty Devine, Troy Bourne, Josh Langley, Matt Bell (Joe Malkin, 58), David Webb, Prince Haywood, Dan Cockerline, Sean Cooke, Tommy Montefiori (Connor Heath, 72)

Subs not used: Jacob Edwards, Callum Parker

Lancaster City: Wyll Stanway, Sam Bailey (Sky Sinclair, 84), Ben Anderson, Lewis Fensome, Andrew Teague (Ben Hudson, 75), Glenn Steel, Christian Sloan, Simion Wills, Rhys Turner (Robert Wilson, 87), Charlie Bailey, Nathan Reid

Subs not used: Ryan Graham, Joel Davidson

Goals: Turner (50), C. Bailey (70)

Attendance: 203