Nantwich Town held on for a 3-2 win at the Weaver Stadium after defending a late fight-back by visitors Lancaster City.

In a scrappy game which also included two forced substitutions for Lancaster through injury, five goals were scored on an exciting, yet emotional afternoon at the Weaver Stadium following the untimely passing of loyal supporter and junior coach Paul Springthorpe, to whom a minute’s applause was dedicated prior to the game.

Two goals in the first ten minutes by Nantwich’s Joe Malkin and Lancaster’s Bradley Carsley led to an exciting start to the game. Two more goals in the first half by Luke Walsh gave Nantwich a 3-1 lead at half time, and despite Lancaster’s best efforts including a late goal by Paul Dawson, Nantwich held on for victory.

After a poor few opening minutes which were dominated by what can only be described as a game of head-tennis, Nantwich took an early lead in the fifth minute when a long ball over the top was latched onto by Joe Malkin. The centre forward controlled it well, pulled it back past the sliding defender and slotted it coolly past the keeper to make it 1-0.

Despite the positive start, the lead didn’t last long as some poor defending by the Dabbers gave Brad Carsley the time to compose himself and slot the ball into the bottom corner to bring the scores level.

Nantwich took control of the game after that point, and regained the lead in the 14th minute with some lovely link up play between James Lawrie and Luke Walsh, as Lawrie slipped winger Walsh through who chipped the ball over the oncoming keeper brilliantly to give the Dabbers a 2-1 lead.

The home side’s domination continued, and they extended their lead on the stroke of half-time, Walsh grabbing his second with a neat finish on the near post on the left-hand side after a great drive through the middle and pass by Matty Devine.

The goal made it Nantwich Town 3-1 Lancaster City going into half-time, the hosts controlling proceedings.

The second half started poorly as the first did, in what proved to be quite a scrappy affair. The half was quite different to that of the first, with fewer clear cut chances in a half which proved to be scrappy and full of part-chances.

The teams were more even compared to the first half, both sides playing some nice football and creating chances, but lacking the critical last ball in which to create a goal-scoring opportunity.

Half-time substitute Sean Cooke had Nantwich’s best chance from a free kick which was deflected out for a corner.

The game came alive in the last ten minutes, and Lancaster gave themselves a way back into the match in the 85th minute when a corner wasn’t cleared by Nantwich and Paul Dawson drilled the ball low through a number of bodies to make it 3-2.

Rowan Roache looked to have levelled for the visitors minutes later, but his volley was brilliantly saved by soon-to-be-named man of the match Greg Hall to maintain the Dabbers’ lead.

Nantwich held on into six minutes of added time as the referee blew his whistle for the final time to see Nantwich win their third game on the spin.

The Dabbers will return to action on Tuesday evening to host Matlock Town in BetVictor Northern Premier Division action.

Nantwich Town: Greg Hall, Joe Davis, Matty Devine, Ben Harrison, Josh Langley, Caspar Hughes (C), James Lawrie, Matt Bell, Joe Malkin (Valdemar Schousboe 90+6′), Luke Walsh, David Webb (Sean Cooke 45′ (Joel Stair 89′))

Unused Substitutes: Troy Bourne, Joe Mwasile

Goals: Joe Malkin (5′), Luke Walsh (14′, 44′)

Yellow Card: Joe Malkin (48′)

Lancaster City: Samuel Ashton, Lewis Fensome, Jack Armer, Niall Cowperthwaite, Benjamin Hudson, Glenn Steel (C) (Charlie Bailey 27′), Paul Dawson, David Norris, Bradley Carsley (Rowan Roache 64′), Robert Wilson, Samuel Bailey

Unused Substitutes: Simon Wills, Max Povery (GK), Mathew Blinkhorn

Goals: Bradley Carsley (8′), Paul Dawson (85′)

Yellow Card: David Norris (70′)

Attendance: 343
Referee: Mr Bradley Hall
Man of the Match, sponsored by the Barrel and Tap: Greg Hall