Despite going behind in the first half, Nantwich’s U18 side showed resilience and determination to overcome the deficit, dominating local neighbours Sandbach United in a 3-1 victory at the Sandbach Community Football Centre.
The Dabbers had the first effort of the game in the opening stages, as some neat play on the right-hand side resulted in a shot at goal that was well-saved by the Sandbach goalkeeper.
The hosts would take the lead with their first effort of the afternoon, as some confusion in the Nantwich box allowed the Sandbach attacker to punch the ball past goalkeeper Ollie Hawkins.
However, United’s youth wouldn’t hold the lead for long. Rylan Moreton found the ball twenty-five yards from goal, and on the turn, the midfielder struck a lovely ball from range that left the opposing keeper with no chance, as it smacked off the underside of the bar and found the net.
Moreton could have had a second soon after, as he found the net just before the half-hour mark, but he was called back for a dubious offside decision.
That would be the last of the action in the first forty-five minutes, as the sides went into the dressing rooms level.
The first twenty minutes of the second period were uneventful, with only one or two half-chances either way. However, Sandbach could have retaken the lead with a header from point-blank range, but a super save from Ollie Hawkins kept the scores level.
Nantwich may have taken the lead themselves in the second half, as Callum Parker dinked the ball over the head of an onrushing Sandbach goalkeeper but the wind killed the ball in the air and it came to a stop just wide of the post.
Despite this missed chance, they wouldn’t have to wait long before taking the lead. Relentless pressure from the Dabbers’ front-line allowed a cross into the box to come off the head of the Sandbach captain, and past his goalkeeper. It was no more than the young Dabbers deserved as they took the lead for the first time.
It should have been another for the lads in yellow, as they won themselves a penalty – as the Nantwich attacker was shoved over by the hosts’ goalkeeper – with five minutes of normal time remaining, but substitute Declan Colclough’s effort was well-saved.
Although they had missed a penalty, Nantwich didn’t allow themselves to take their foot off the gas as they put the game to bed in stoppage time, as a cross into the six-yard box was well-finished by Stelious Piperakis, bundling home from close range.
The young Dabbers should have had a fourth from a header just after the restart, but the effort was over the bar. That would prove to be the final action of the game as Nantwich’s youth side won all three points in the North-West Youth Alliance Division One. The result shoots Nantwich into second with seven points from their first three games.
Next weekend sees a real top-of-the-table clash in the NWYA Division One, as second-placed Nantwich welcome Cammell Laird, who top the table after three games. Admission is free of charge at the Weaver Stadium, and tea and coffee will be available.
Nantwich Town: Ollie Hawkins, Ben Crumpton, Conner Golden, Ryan Chevannes, Jacob Williams (C), Stelious Piperakis, Josh Cross, Kai Arthur, Callum Parker, Ryan Moreton, Henry Waterer
Subs used: Declan Colclough, Josh Hewitt, Rory Large
Unused subs: Josh Wrench