Words by Adam Bateman, pictures by Jonathan White

Nantwich Town made it five home wins on the bounce with a brilliant 2-1 victory over Scarborough Athletic in Cheshire.

Coming off the back of the defeat last time out to Lancaster, Nantwich were looking to get back to winning ways, back at the Optimum Pay Stadium in front of their home fans.

The task at hand was a big one, as Scarborough have their own sights set on cementing a play off place, and on the back of a long unbeaten run, stretching back to New Year’s Day.

So Nantwich knew they had a huge task on their hands, but there is nothing more that Dave Cooke and his players like to do then to end other teams’ long unbeaten streaks.

From the off, the home side, with new signing Kole Hall in the starting line up, looked to be on the front foot, and Sean Cooke had his sights set firmly on Ryan Whitley’s goal, as he had the first shot on goal after just a couple of minutes.

That set the tempo for the first period of the game, as Nantwich looked to attack, whilst Scarborough looked to soak up and then catch the Dabbers on the break.

This looked to be a solid game plan from Jonathan Greening, until the first game changing moment came along in the sixteenth minute.

After a good bit of play by the home side, the ball found its way to Akiel Raffie, who managed to dribble his way into the area, and his shot managed to find its way past Whitley (pictured below), and to the sheer delight of the home crowd, it went in.

That was just what Dave Cooke wanted to see from his side, it was the perfect response to the previous result, and from there, he urged his side forwards, to attack more often, to exploit the gaps that were beginning to show themselves at the back for the away side.

More chances came to double the lead, Mat Bell had a free-kick that just hit the wall, and then Cooke again had another chance that just went over the bar.

The home side were very much in the ascendency.

However, the game then changed, first of all Luca Colville had a shot that the returning Matt Gould saved well low down, and then a few minutes later, just after the half hour mark, after a lovely pass to him, Michael Coulson found himself in the area, he turned well, and struck his shot well, and it went past Gould to give Scarborough an equalising goal that was somewhat against the run of play (pictured below).

Despite a few half chances more before half time for both sides, both managers went in level at the break, with Dave Cooke the more happier with how his side were playing.

Into the second half, and the away side looked to impose themselves more, and indeed they had the first chance with Luca Colville again having a shot that thankfully went over the bar just a few minutes after the re-start.

After that though, the home fans were in raptures once again, as after a mad scramble in the Scarborough box in which, there were a fair few shots and blocked shots, the ball came to Sean Cooke who blasted the ball high into the top corner of the net (pictured below), to give Nantwich the lead once more.

This seemed to drain the life out of the away side, as they huffed and puffed and tried to come back into the game once more, but everything that they tried to do, the duo at the back for Nantwich of Troy Bourne and Josh Langley were more than a match for.

Indeed Sean Cooke had really began to have found his mojo once more, and he had the next chance, as his free-kick was very well saved by Whitley.

The final chance of the game came when Jake Bickerstaff shot straight at Whitley, and then that was it, the referee blew his whistle, and an excellent victory was had for Dave Cooke and his players.

Teams

Nantwich Town: Matt Gould, Joel Stair ©, Jamie Morgan, Troy Bourne, Josh Langley, Matt Bell, Akiel Raffie (Luke Nock, 80), Joe Robbins, Jake Bickerstaff, Sean Cooke, Kole Hall (Jon Moran, 85)

Subs not used: Joe Malkin, Tommy Montefiori, Connor Heath

Goals: Raffie (17), Cooke (64)

Scarborough Athletic: Ryan Whitley, Ryan Watson, Ashley Jackson, Simon Heslop (Kieran Weledji, 80), Will Thornton, Bailey Gooda, Cameron Wilson (Brad Plant, 65), Luca Colville, Michael Coulson ©, Kieran Glynn, William Jarvis (Jacob Day, 69)

Subs not used: James Cadman, Dylan Cogill

Goal: Coulson (33)

Attendance: 435