Pictures by Jonathan White

Nantwich Town made it 4 home wins on the bounce and an incredible five games without conceding with a 1-0 win over Grantham Town at the Optimum Pay Stadium.

The Dabbers were coming into this bang in form, and looking to continue that at their opponents’ expense.

The game started off well for Grantham, as you would expect, as they knew exactly what they needed to do, and only a win would do for them, otherwise they would be as good as relegated.

After just three minutes, Lee Shaw for the away side saw his shot go just wide of the Dabbers stand in keeper, Sam Tickle, this was looking like the pattern for the opening minutes of the game.

Then a huge blow for the home side after just twelve minutes, as it looked like Shaun Miller pulled his hamstring, and as such, had to be replaced by Connor Heath.

Elliot Durell, the captain of the away side was causing a fair bit of panic in the home sides’ defence, and after sixteen minutes, he had a chance that thankfully Tickle was able to save.

It was that man again on the half hour mark, that once again had another shot from the edge of the area, that went just wide of Tickle’s far post.

Grantham had set out their stall, and they wanted the win that they so desperately needed.

Another chance came before the half time whistle for the Grantham, as Thomas Unwin had a header  that was just wide from a scramble in the Nantwich box, that was a let off for the Dabbers.

At half time it was a goalless affair, but the away side were very much on top.

The second half was where this game really came alive, once again with Grantham looking for that vital opening goal, with Lee Shaw forcing a good save from Tickle in the home side’s box after a smart turn to force a corner just two minutes into the second half.

Then there were good chances for both team from that corner, one for the away side, then as a direct result of a good counter attack, Jake Bickerstaff had a good chance, but his shot was just wide.

This was an entertaining start to the second half, and there was more to come on that front.

The next chance was a really good one, as Connor Heath raced through, only to see his shot, when one on one with Pollard in the away goal, expertly saved (pictured below)


Then there was another blow for Nantwich, as Troy Bourne was forced off with an injury, to be replaced by Jonathan Moran, making his return after 6 years away.

What happened next brought sheer delight for one side, and utter heartbreak for the other, and totally changed the tone of the match, and for the home side, it was that sheer delight, as Sean Cooke it was, who found himself running into the area, twisting past two players, before slotting the ball home, to put the home side one up twelve minutes into the second half (pictured below)


From there the whole tempo changed, as Grantham’s heads went down, and there were a lot more chances for the home side to double their lead.

First Joe Robbins tried his luck from distance, which went just wide, then Moran saw his very fiercely struck shot cannon off of the bar, what a goal that would have been!

Then both Robbins and Bickerstaff saw further good chances just not find their way past Pollard in the away goal.

Was it going to be one of those nights where missed chances would cost the home side dearly?

Another very good chance came to Bickerstaff, who was just like Heath previously, one on one with Pollard, but again, the goalkeeper managed to thwart the onrushing attacking player.

At this stage, it was all Nantwich, and they were almost creating chances at will, but not quite managing to put that second goal in the net.

Late on Sean Cooke had a tremendous free-kick that Pollard saved very well low down to his right hand side, palming it to safety.

Then the final whistle blew, and Nantwich had done it, they had made it five games unbeaten, to go along with the five clean sheets in a row, the first time the Dabbers have had that run of shutouts in league football in 57 years!

Next up for the Dabbers is the game away to Lancaster City on the 26th of March, of which they will go into it full of confidence.

 

Teams:

Nantwich Town: Sam Tickle, Joel Stair ©, Jamie Morgan, Troy Bourne (Jon Moran, 57), Josh Langley, Matt Bell, Akiel Raffie (Thommy Montefiori, 81), Joe Robbins, Jake Bickerstaff, Sean Cooke, Shaun Miller (Connor Heath, 13)

Subs not used: Joe Malkin, Luke Nock

Goal: Cooke (58)

 

Grantham Town: Jim Pollard, Sisa Tuntulawana, Ellis Storey, Shane Clarke, Thomas Unwin, Ashton Hall, Ali Adeymir (Edward Cook, 77), Harry Wood (Matthew McBride, 63), Lee Shaw, Elliot Durell ©, Khallem Bailey-Nicholls (Isaac Stone, 46)

Subs not used: Steve Leslie, Harry Johnson

 

Attendance: 308