A 90th minute equaliser from Josh Amis denied Nantwich Town from taking the spoils in a rollercoaster Cheshire derby at Cantilever Park.

It looked like the Dabbers had done enough after a spectacular Connor Heath goal with five minutes to go, but the home side managed to haul themselves level.

Dave Cooke sprung a surprise to everyone by starting without a recognised striker, instead playing centre-back Ben Harrison up front, with support from Joe Mwasile and David Webb on the wings and Sean Cooke behind.

This unorthodox move worked as Nantwich had the better of the first half. It was Warrington, though, who had the first serious attempt at goal, Michael Rose blasting over with a left footed effort.

A couple of corners from the Yellows threatened to cause problems but the Dabbers were able to clear well on both occasions.

Mwasile looked as lively as ever, and had a stinging shot blocked away by Mark Roberts for a corner.

From that corner, Troy Bourne snuck in round the back post but just couldn’t get around his header and it brushed the side netting.

The Dabbers good spell continued, and Warrington keeper Charlie Albinson had to be at his best to turn a fierce Cooke shot around his post from about 25 yards out.

Another corner, and this one resulted in the opening goal. The initial ball in wasn’t cleared, and it broke to Cooke on the right byline, he clipped in a teasing cross to the back post and Mwasile was there to head in from point blank range.

There was almost a second straight away, a long ball was brought down brilliantly on his chest by Harrison, and he very nearly lobbed Albinson, the keeper just reaching high enough to stop what would have been a stroke of genius.

A good challenge from Josh Langley to stop Jordan Buckley from getting in behind saw out a very positive first half for the Dabbers.

As the second got underway, it soon became clear that some strong words had been said in the Warrington dressing room, and they were responding well.

Just three minutes into the second half, they found their equaliser. It was a smart ball played through to Jack Dunn, who nonchalantly lifted the ball over an onrushing Greg Hall and into the net.

Then Buckley had a chance but smashed the ball over as Warrington suddenly had all the momentum in the game.

Nantwich managed to settle things down, then the challenges began to fly in as both teams battled for the lead. One such challenge from Michael Rose on Mwasile was only met with a yellow card when it might have been red, either way it was definitely not a kiss from a Rose.

Mitch Duggan found some space down the Nantwich left, and his cross ran right through that corridor of uncertainty and somehow missed everyone in yellow.

Matty Regan then had an opening but he stumbled as he tried to strike and skewed the ball harmlessly wide.

Warrington were getting closer, then they got as close as a team can. Buckley found half a yard on the edge of the Dabbers box and opened his body, curling onto the post, the rebound somehow not going in due to a deflection or a Hall save. Nantwich were living dangerously and at that point would have settled for 1-1.

But Connor Heath had other ideas. Brought off the bench as Harrison was pulled back into a more familiar defensive role, Heath picked the ball up just inside the Warrington half, then preceded to charge his way through a couple of Yellows challenges like an express train before looking up and firing into the bottom left corner from the right edge of the penalty area. It was simply a special moment of individual brilliance and a goal worthy of winning any game.

However, it wasn’t to be, as to their credit Warrington pushed again after being hit with that sucker punch just five minutes from time. As the game was ticking towards 90 minutes, a high ball was lofted in to a packed box and Hall rose to try and catch, the ball slipped through his grasp and substitute Josh Amis was able to bundle in.

There was confusion right at the death as a scramble in the Dabbers box saw everyone appealing for everything, penalty, corner, red card. The referee solved all these arguments by blowing for full time and capping off a high quality and frantic derby. Nantwich’s tough run of away fixtures at the start of the season continues next time out at current 2nd place side Matlock Town next Tuesday.

Dave Cooke’s thoughts on the match:

dave's thoughts on Warrington game


Warrington Town: Albinson, Grogan, Taylor, Munro, Roberts, Regan, Duggan, Rose, Buckley (Duffy, 78), Dixon (Amis, 74), Dunn (Mackreth, 80)

Subs not used: Amado, Holroyd

Goals: Dunn, 48, Amis, 90

Nantwich Town: Hall, Koral, Devine, Langley, Bourne, Harrison, Lawrie (Heath, 65), Hughes, Mwasile (McGowan, 65), Cooke, Webb

Subs not used: Saunders, T.Stair, Hawkins

Goals: Mwasile, 21, Heath, 85

Attendance: 467