Despite at one stage holding a commanding 3-1 lead, Nantwich Town were powerless to resist a superb fightback from hosts Whitby Town as the spoils were shared at the Turnbull Ground in BetVictor Northern Premier Division action.

Joe Malkin’s brace as well as David Webb’s first ever goal for the club had put the Dabbers in a comfortable position, but two penalties in the final fifteen minutes saw the Seasiders come from behind to secure a point in an entertaining game in North Riding.

Dave Cooke had made one change from the side that progressed in the FA Trophy in midweek, as Luke Walsh replaced Joel Stair in the starting line-up.

Both sides had early chances to go ahead, firstly it was Nantwich, as Malkin was found behind the defence, but Whitby keeper Shane Bland got to the loose ball first. The Seasiders went up to the Dabbers’ half and hit a shot from distance that didn’t trouble Greg Hall, as it went fairly high of the crossbar.

Malkin could have won a penalty in the first ten minutes, as he felt pressure from behind and went to ground, but referee David Jones didn’t point to the spot.

A fairly dull first twenty-five minutes was marred by the weather and condition of the pitch, which prevented any real quality in the game, but Joe Malkin was picked out on the twenty-eighth minute by Sean Cooke, and could have nudged the ball past Bland but the keeper was quick off his line to collect the ball first.

However, it wouldn’t take long for the Dabbers to get on the scoresheet as a short corner won by Matty Devine’s excellent run found James Lawrie, whose perfectly-timed cross found Malkin, who excellently glanced it past Bland to put Dave Cooke’s men in front.

Despite the fact there were fifteen minutes remaining in the first half, that would be all the action the opening period had to offer as the Dabbers went into the dressing room with their noses in front despite a fairly evenly-matched affair.

Whitby should have equalised just after the restart, as Daniel Rowe got a header towards goal that was ever so close to beating Hall, though the Nantwich stopper got a hand on it to turn it onto the post.

Nantwich subsequently had two separate efforts to extend their lead, as a neat flick over the top was cut out by Luke Bythway, before Sean Cooke’s drilled effort was saved by Bland.

However, just after the hour mark, the Dabbers would double their advantage. A corner found Sean Cooke who recovered a dangerous situation with his left foot, nudging the ball through the legs of his closest defender. Reaching the byline, Cooke put the ball across goal into Malkin, who only had to tap the ball into an unprotected net with Bland stranded at his near post.

The Dabbers should have gone four goals ahead before the seventy-minute mark, as they were neither able to take advantage of a four-on-two counter attack scenario, or Joe Malkin’s cheekily-dinked effort, which was saved by an onrushing Bland.

It was questioned whether the Dabbers would rue those missed opportunities, as Whitby would cut into their lead. Substitute Aaran Wearmouth picked up the ball outside the box and a cracking effort beat Hall and halved Nantwich’s lead.

Despite this goal, Nantwich got back on level footing soon after, as two minutes later, a neat attack from the Dabbers resulted in Webb hitting a super effort from the edge of the box that left Bland with no chance.

The end-to-end nature of the affair would continue, as a driving run from Wearmouth into the box saw him cut down by Josh Langley, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Jake Hackett stepped up and fired into the bottom-right corner, despite Hall guessing the right way.

While the first penalty was a perfectly acceptable call from the referee, the second penalty was dubious at best. A fracas in the box that had two challenges on the Dabbers go uncalled by the referee, a Whitby man went down in the box and the referee whistled and pointed to the spot. Hackett stepped up once more and went the exact same way, Hall diving to his right on this occasion.

The Dabbers on this occasion will feel that they could have grabbed all three points from the afternoon as they head into next weekend’s Emirates FA Cup First Round Proper clash with AFC Fylde.

Tickets are priced for next weekend’s historic game at £11 for adults, £8 for concessions and £3 for U16s, who are free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. Furthermore, the game will not be segregated and will not be all-ticket, so to guarantee a seat in the main stand supporters are urged to arrive at the Weaver Stadium early.

Whitby Town: Shane Bland, Brad Mills, Jassem Sukar, Kieran Weledji, Luke Bythway, Alex White (Arran Wearmouth 62′), Jake Hackett, Adam Gell, Conor Bell (Greg Rutherford 52′), Matthew Tymon (C), Daniel Rowe

Subs not used: Ben Kitchen, Matty Dixon, Daniel Dixon

Goals: Aaran Wearmouth (72′), Jake Hackett (77′ (Penalty), 87′ (Penalty)

Nantwich Town: Greg Hall, Troy Bourne, Matty Devine, Ben Harrison, Josh Langley, Caspar Hughes (C), James Lawrie, David Webb, Joe Malkin, Sean Cooke (Joel Stair 80′), Luke Walsh (Joe Mwasile 80′)

Subs not used: Joe Davis, Clayton McDonald, Valdemar Schousboe

Goals: Joe Malkin (30′, 64′), David Webb (74′)

Yellow Cards: Troy Bourne (60′), Greg Hall (67′), James Lawrie (90+2′)

Attendance: 407
Referee: Mr David Jones