Nantwich Town’s final game of pre-season ended in defeat, losing 2-1 to Northern Premier League South-East Division side Leek Town, in an extremely windy affair at the Weaver Stadium.
Leek started the better of the two sides, enjoying most of the early possession and chances, as the Dabbers struggled to find their rhythm. For all their early possession though Leek only managed one shot on goal, a speculative effort from James Kirby from outside the box sailing over Hall’s goal.
It became apparent early on that the wind would play a huge factor in the match, when a goal kick from Leek’s Danny Roberts stopped mid-flight before travelling back towards the taker. Despite the wind pegging them back, Leek were getting closer. Some nice link up play down the right-hand side released Aaron Bott, who cut the ball back for Kirby, who could only find the side netting.
It took the Dabbers till the nineteenth minute to have their first real chance of the game, as Sean Cooke spread the ball to Caspar Hughes down the right wing, who cut inside to unleash a left footed strike just wide of the goal. The Dabbers were settling into the game now.
Just a minute later Nantwich were at it again, this time James Lawrie having a strike from range, forcing an excellent save from Rowe.
The Dabbers’ best chance of the first half came from a set piece, after being awarded a free kick on the edge of the box for a foul on Cooke. Cooke took the resulting kick with his shot hitting the wall and falling to Matt Bell, whose acrobatic effort went wide of the post. The two sides went into the break goalless.
Nantwich were against the wind for the second half, with Leek using it to their advantage. A chance for them early in the half saw Chris Baker whip an unpredictable cross in to find Charlie Walford, whose low driven effort was well saved by Hall.
It took just over an hour for the game to see its first goal, as Leek substitute Billy Reeves made an instant impact, shimmying himself some space to play a ball that cuts through the Dabbers’ defence playing in Jake Twyford, who expertly slotted the ball past the oncoming Hall to give Leek the lead.
However, the Dabbers showed their resilience, something that will be crucial to success in the upcoming campaign. A quick free kick from Sean Cooke released Joe Mwasile down the right, whose low driven ball across the box was met by substitute Will Saxon, who fired past the keeper.
The lead didn’t last long though and Nantwich were very unlucky with this one, as Leek Town’s Reeves played through Bott, cutting it back back to Twyford whose effort took a wicked deflection past Hall to seal the victory for Leek.
The Dabbers get their league campaign underway next Saturday at home against Gainsborough Trinity, with tickets priced at £11 for adults, £8 for concessions and £3 for U16’s.
Nantwich: Hall, Hughes (C), Devine, Davis (Mwasile 45’), Langley (Stair 71’), Harrison, Webb (Saxon 45’), Bell (Boyle 81’), Malkin (Reed 71’), Cooke (Trialist 71’), Lawrie (Bourne 54’)
Leek: Roberts, Goode, Keenan, Grocott, Harrison, Trialist, Baker, Twyford, Bott, Kirby, Walford
(Hund, Thompson 76’)