Nantwich Town powered into the Third Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy with a commanding 5-2 victory over local rivals Witton Albion.
Scott McGowan made it four goals in two games with an outstanding double after going behind early on. Later, Ben Harrison, Luke Walsh and David Webb capped off a tremendous night for Dave Cooke’s side.
The home side started the stronger, and after only 8 minutes they led. Scott Bakkor found himself with the ball in the Dabbers box and promptly lashed it in past Greg Hall.
Ben Harrison got himself an early yellow card after bringing down Bakkor, putting him on the proverbial disciplinary tightrope. Hall saved the resultant free-kick comfortably.
Luke Walsh started to make things happen for the visitors, excelling in the number 10 position as he did in Friday night’s friendly against Hanley, trying to find McGowan at every opportunity but with no joy, and shooting wide himself.
There was joy soon after though. A ball into the right channel looked as if it had been overhit to everyone except McGowan, who persisted at trying to keep the ball in and harry the defender, then having done that he only had eyes for goal and finished emphatically, an outstanding example of what never giving up on a ball can gain you.
If that was good, McGowan’s second was sensational. It was Walsh again who played the ball in behind the Witton defence, there didn’t look to be much on for McGowan but he beautifully looked up and lobbed the ball over a stranded Chris Renshaw and into the far corner. The Dabbers had been playing better, but this was Scott McGowan taking the match by the scruff of the neck and turning it in Nantwich’s favour.
Having mentioned the early yellow for Harrison as well as a couple of fouls subsequently, it was perhaps surprising that Dave Cooke hadn’t played things safe while leading and subbed the centre-back off. He didn’t, and it paid off handsomely 10 minutes into the second half.
A David Webb corner was stood up temptingly to the back post and Harrison rose highest to thunder a header in and make things a lot more difficult for the hosts.
Witton pushed to try and save the tie, a cross shot had to be touched over by Hall as it was dropping in, then Bakkor hit the side netting with an effort.
This made the counter-attack an attractive option for the Dabbers, and they used it brilliantly to kill the match.
Altrincham loanee Curtis Miller made his Dabbers debut, and a solid first start was almost spectacular as he forced a good save from Renshaw on the break.
Then, Walsh once more was the provider, sliding one through for David Webb, who calmly dinked the ball over the onrushing Renshaw to make it four.
Joe Malkin made a welcome return off the bench, and nearly notched straight away, striking the post with a well struck shot from just outside the area.
Hall continued his solid display against the team he left for the Dabbers, as their fans were keen to remind him of throughout, palming away a good free-kick from substitute Will Booth late on.
Jimmy Lawrie, also off the bench, nearly found the gap left there by Renshaw from a free-kick, just missing the right hand post.
Walsh got a deserved goal as we ticked into stoppage time, coolly lifting past Renshaw as Witton heads were dropping. He wore the number 10 tonight and played like a veteran of the position.
Witton did get a late consolation as Rob Hopley headed in, but by that stage many of the socially-distanced fans had headed out. The Dabbers’ job was done, and a very good job it was.
The Dabbers will now face Hereford at the Optimum Pay Stadium this Saturday in the Third Round, after they beat St. Neots Town 3-0. Stay tuned to our website and social media pages for all the information for this big tie.
Witton Albion: Renshaw, Baldwin, McKenna (Hopley, 59), Wardle, McNulty (Tames, 46), Ryan, Owens, Smart, Bakkor, Hooper, Foley (Booth, 32)
Subs not used: Gill
Goals: Bakkor, 8, Hopley, 90+3
Nantwich Town: Hall, Bourne, Saunders, Langley, Harrison, Haywood, Webb (Pope, 90), Hughes, McGowan (Malkin, 61), Walsh, Miller (Lawrie, 81)
Subs not used: Koral, Mwasile, Hawkins, Parker
Goals: McGowan, 28, 41, Harrison, 55, Webb, 67, Walsh, 90