By Adam Bateman

All photos by Jonathan White

Nantwich Town won through to the Second Round of the FA Trophy with a 2-1 victory over Grantham Town at the Optimum Pay Stadium.

On an overcast and chilly evening, Nantwich were looking to run off the rust, after seeing the Gainsborough game called of for a second time, and thus not having played for two weeks.

Before the game, there was the annual Remembrance event with help from the local branch of the Royal British Legion in their centenary year. (pictured below)

The game started off well for the home side, with Cockerline forcing Pollard in the Grantham Town goal into an early save after just eight minutes (pictured below).

Then from the resulting corner, something that will have doubly pleased Dave Cooke in the managers dugout, a goal and one from the training ground, and scored by his son Sean!

Cooke Junior found himself free in the box from a low cut back from the returning David Webb’s corner, and he slotted home wonderfully (pictured below), a fantastic start for the Dabbers!

After that very bright start, things started to go a bit awry for the home side sadly, as first of all the side lost the experience of David Vaughan due to injury after 17 minutes, and then with their first real attack of the game, Grantham found an equalising goal.

Lee Shaw picked the ball up, and drove to the edge of the penalty box, and took a low shot, and it managed to just evade the clutches of Andy Wycherley (pictured below).

It was more than a tad harsh on Nantwich, who up to then, had been the more dominant side.

From the resulting kick-off Nantwich almost re-took the lead as Cockerline who had looked very dangerous all throughout the first half, did very well to create an opportunity where he was one on one with Pollard, and he saw his shot very well saved for a corner.

Just before half time saw Grantham have another very good chance, with Orlando-Young shooting just wide of the far post.

Sadly for Nantwich, Matty Devine had to come off due to another injury and was replaced by Jacob Edwards and into the half time break it was level pegging.

The second half saw Grantham come out with renewed purpose, and they took the game to the home side from the off, Lee Shaw continuing to be a real handful for the Dabbers backline.

Joe Mwasile who had a very good game, had a shot that almost crept in, but sadly went just wide eight minutes into what was turning out to be a compulsive half.

Orlando-Young had another chance for the away side, this time with a header, thankfully it went just wide on this occasion.

Then the tuning point of the game happened, from what seemed like a bit of hopeful ball into the Grantham box, their centre-back Henry Eze headed it into his own net, to give Nantwich the lead, and one that the fans in the stadium roared with delight! (celebrations pictured below)

From there it was all about game management, and could Nantwich hold on to get through to the next round.

There were some very nervous moments for sure, but Nantwich continued to pile on the pressure, looking for that crucial third goal, to really put the tie to bed.

Cockerline again had a good header saved, and there was an almighty scramble in the visitors box.

Despite Webb being shown a red card in injury time, the home side held on, and find themselves in the hat for the draw on Monday.

The game finished 2-1, to the delight of everyone connected to the club.

Teams:

Nantwich Town: Andy Wycherley, Joel Stair ©, Matty Devine (Jacob Edwards, 39), Troy Bourne, Josh Langley, David Vaughan (Connor Heath, 18), Tommy Montefiori (Joe Malkin, 71), David Webb, Dan Cockerline, Sean Cooke, Joe Mwasile

Subs not used: Shaun Miller, Ollie Pope, Matty France, Cameron Terry

Goals: Cooke (10), Eze (OG, 66)

Red card: Webb (90+2)

Grantham Town: Jim Pollard, James Williamson ©, Thierry Latty-Fairweather, Shane Clarke, Henry Eze, Adedapo Adelekan, Ali Ademir (Joe Parkin, 76), Finley Shrimpton, Lee Shaw, Jonathan Wafula, Rod Orlando-Young (Nathan Modest, 65)

Subs not used: Sisa Tuntulwana, Michael Williams, Jacob Wright

Goal: Shaw (21)

Attendance: 455