Joe Mwasile’s first half goal against Barwell was enough to see Nantwich Town through to the Third Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Mwasile tucked home at the far post from a Joel Stair cross that was flicked on by Connor Heath.

The Weaver Stadium was being hit by the full force of Storm Alex, and the weather definitely had an impact on proceedings throughout. After just two minutes, a Dabbers through-ball that normally would have gone behind held up on the sodden pitch, forcing Barwell keeper Max Bramley to come off his line to clear.

Connor Heath had an opening a few minutes later, turning and shooting wide after a good piece of control.

Most of Barwell’s dangerous moments came from either Jahvan Davidson-Miller or Kai Williams, and it was Davidson-Miller who had their first attempt, slicing wide.

Prince Haywood then made a break to the byline, pulling back for Heath who had it taken off his boot before Caspar Hughes just missed getting to the rebound.

Mwasile, who was a late inclusion into the starting XI after Luke Walsh pulled up in the warm-up, certainly took advantage of this chance, weaving his way through an increasingly worried Barwell defence before forcing a good save from Bramley.

Greg Hall had to be alert as a Barwell ball forward was deflected and again held up on the growing patches of standing water, he came to the edge of his box to stop Williams.

Mwasile was in the thick of it again just after the half hour as he was shoved over by Micah Edwards for a penalty. James Lawrie took the spot-kick, but Bramley saved well to his right to deny Lawrie his second penalty goal in two matches.

The Dabbers did get the crucial first goal just two minutes before the break. Joel Stair played a ball in from the right, Connor Heath stooped to flick on to Mwasile who was unmarked at the back post and made no mistake to give the drenched Dabbers fans something to cheer about.

Barwell came out of the traps in the second half with real intent and were immediately on the front foot, Hall making a couple of saves, the second breaking to Davidson-Miller who missed the target, all in the first couple of minutes after the break.

This really set the tone for the second half, but Nantwich did have opportunities to add to the score, Mwasile again dribbling his way through but just poking the ball over Bramley’s goal.

Barwell’s clearest chance to level came just before the hour, a ball in from the left picked out Barwell captain Brady Hickey with a free header, luckily for Nantwich it was straight at a grateful Hall.

Hickey then had a free kick from about 25 yards kept out by Hall as the pressure continued.

If the first half was all about Mwasile, the second was all about Greg Hall, and the saves continued, arguably the best coming from a Williams strike low down to his right on 73 minutes.

There was then a teasing free kick from Eliot Putman, the type you so often see sneak in when no one gets a touch, but Hall was not looking like getting caught out in this match and kept it out.

Sean Cooke returned off the bench to bring his experience to see the game out, but even with that there was still late worries for the Dabbers.

In stoppage time, Hall made his first and only mistake of the game, just failing to hold onto a low effort but his defence were there to scramble away.

Then, the last kick of the game, a Barwell corner, saw a Barwell head get there first but got under it and over it went, and the relief was palpable as the whistle went, a hard fought and courageous Cup victory. The draw for the next round is due to be revealed at 1pm on Monday.


Nantwich Town: Hall, Koral, Devine, J. Stair, Bourne, Langley, Hughes (Cooke, 62), Haywood, Heath, Mwasile (Parker, 90), Lawrie

Subs not used: Harrison, Hawkins, T. Stair

Goals: Mwasile, 43

Barwell: Bramley, Edwards, Putman, Cotterill, McAteer, Redhead, Dunkley (Onotala, 80), Davidson-Miller (Browne, 70), McDonald (Hollis, 46), Hickey, Williams

Subs not used: Bennett, Castle

Attendance: 367

After the match, the Nantwich Refrigeration Services Man of the Match was awarded to Prince Haywood (left), and Nantwich Refrigeration Services Dabber of the Day went to bar manager Nicky Deane (right) for her sterling continued work under difficult circumstances.