A brace from Joe Malkin and a late tap in from captain Caspar Hughes secured another comeback victory for Nantwich in a 3-1 victory over Matlock Town.
Jordan Sinnott gave the visitors the lead in a tepid first half, then in the second half another rousing effort from the Dabbers was kicked off by a brilliant David Webb run and finished by Malkin, who got a second on the rebound from a Sean Cooke shot that was saved. Webb again created the third goal, squaring to Hughes in stoppage time to seal the three points.
In a first half of little real action, neither team could claim to have really had the advantage. The Dabbers were guilty of some loose passing early on, but Matlock too were not able to really test Greg Hall.
The Dabbers best chance of the opening forty-five came courtesy of top scorer Joe Malkin. He expertly controlled a ball driven into him in the area on his chest, but the strength of the ball pushed him wider than he would have like and his eventual shot from a narrow angle didn’t trouble Matlock keeper Jonathan Stewart.
And just a minute after that, the visitors struck. The tricky left winger Samuel Scrivens was in a running battle with Joe Davis, and on this occasion his quick feet gave him half a yard of space to whip in a fierce cross that was flicked in from inside the six yard box by Jordan Sinnott. The first shot on target of the game in the 39th minute was a goal, and a goal for the Gladiators.
Nantwich started the second half with much more intent and their more positive output yielded an equaliser six minutes into it.
David Webb got on the ball on the right hand side, and went on a mazy run when he realised he was short of options. The brilliant run ended with a ball pulled back from the by-line to Joe Malkin who was in the right place at the right time once again for the Dabbers. He immediately grabbed the ball from Stewart’s net to signal that he and the Dabbers would not settle for a draw.
Sean Cooke, who looked isolated at times on the left hand side in the first half, had a much more of an effect on the game when he drifted into the middle in the second. On 68 minutes, he expertly drilled a ball into that corridor of uncertainty, and a lunging David Webb agonisingly couldn’t get on the end of it.
Matlock had a similar chance not long after, Scrivens again causing problems, this time with his left foot, his cross was met by Sinnott but luckily for the Dabbers he couldn’t keep his effort down.
It was the 71st minute that brought the decisive moment of the game for the Dabbers. Mwasile, another who raised his game in the second half, also got in down the right hand side. He spotted Cooke, who had cleverly dropped back to allow space for a shot. Cooke’s shot was pushed right back into danger by Matlock keeper Stewart, and naturally, Joe Malkin was quickest to react, finding the net from close range for his 7th goal of the season in the league.
Matlock substitute Luke Dean came closest to nabbing a point for the Gladiators, his shot just after coming on was well saved by Hall.
And, as Matlock committed more men forwards in pursuit of a second, in stoppage time a classic counter sealed the three points. Webb drove it as so often he did from midfield, and he unselfishly squared for captain Caspar Hughes to wrap it up for the Dabbers.
Another comeback victory from the Dabbers puts them fourth in the league after nine games. Dave Cooke and his boys complete their trio of matches in a week at the Weaver with the crucial FA Cup qualifier against Morpeth.
Admission is priced at £11 for adults, £8 for concessions and £3 for U16s, who are free with a full-paying adult.
Nantwich: Greg Hall, Joe Davis, Matty Devine, Ben Harrison (Joel Stair 45′) Josh Langley, Caspar Hughes (C), Joe Mwasile (Troy Bourne 90+5′), David Webb, Joe Malkin (Valdemar Schousboe 90+5′), Sean Cooke, James Lawrie
Subs not used: Matt Bell, Luke Walsh
Scorers: Joe Malkin (51′, 72′), Caspar Hughes (90+5′)
Matlock: Jon Stewart, Josh Lacey, Ben Gordon, Jack Rea, Bailey Gooda, Dwayne Riley, Marcus Marshall, Spencer Harrison (Luke Dean 73′), Luke Hinsley (Piteu Crouz 82′), Jordan Sinnott, Samuel Scrivens
Subs not used: Adam Yates, James Williamson, Scott Smith
Scorers: Jordan Sinnott (39′)