Nantwich Town left it late again as they came away with a deserved New Year’s Day victory away at Witton Albion.
Following on from the Boxing Day win over Stafford Rangers, which saw two late goals, the Dabbers claimed another three points thanks to late goals from Sean Cooke and Joel Stair in the final ten minutes.
With a number of players missing, Dave Cooke made two changes from Stafford with Joe Mwasile and Caspar Hughes coming in for Ricardo Fuller and David Webb.
Opponents Witton came into the game having not won in three and they had the first half chance of the game as Danny Mitchley glanced Isaac Baldwin’s curling cross wide of the near post.
Following this, much of the first period was played in the Witton half as Mwasile had the Dabbers best chance of the game shooting over following good play from Matty Devine.
Mwasile was once again involved shortly after as he supplied Cooke with a great chance to score but the midfielder shot wide from ten yards following a neat cut back from the left.
Despite dominating the game, the Dabbers found themselves behind in the 24th minute in confusing circumstances. After referee Michael Crusham blew for a head injury to Tom Owens, he awarded the home side a drop ball, catching the Dabbers out and providing Mitchley the chance to fire home from six yards after a cut back from James Foley.
The Dabbers continued to have the ball and Stair was inches from finding an equaliser as his header was tipped onto the crossbar by Witton ‘keeper Chris Renshaw following Cooke’s right-wing free kick.
The second half continued as the first had ended with the visitors enjoying most of possession but unable to breach a stubborn Albion defence.
Renshaw was the busier of the goalkeepers as he made a fine save to his right denying Cooke’s close range free kick which looked set for the far corner.
Witton were doing a good job of keeping their opponents out with the Dabbers camped in their half in search of an equaliser.
Mwasile was next to test Renshaw as he cut in the left following a fine through ball from Cooke, but the winger’s effort was a comfortable save.
Cooke was then denied what looked a certain goal as his half volley was heading for the top corner but for Adam Anson’s head, with the Witton defender expertly denying an equaliser.
But as the game entered the final ten minutes it was Cooke who finally found the equaliser for the Dabbers as he brilliantly swept home James Lawrie’s cutback after great work on the left wing from Devine.
The Dabbers were quick to grab the ball back as they searched for a winner with substitute Danny Griggs brought on and he nearly found the net but for a goal line clearance by James Short.
However Nantwich didn’t have to wait too much longer for a winner as Stair arrived at the far post in stoppage time to head Devine’s cross into the net and send the travelling faithful wild.
The hosts did have one final chance with Kyle Sambor’s long range volley flashing past the post. But the Dabbers held on at Wincham Park to claim an important three points and claim a rare league double over rivals Witton.
The Dabbers are back in action on Saturday as they make the trip to the Don Amott Arena to take on Mickleover Sports.
Witton Albion: Renshaw, Baldwin, Short, Ryan, Anson, Lingouba (Monaghan 90’), McKenna, Foley, Jones (c), Mitchley (Sambor 74’), Owens
Subs not used: Coughlan, Booth, Neild (GK)
Nantwich Town: Hall, Offord, Devine, Davis (Saxon 68’), Langley, Stair, Lawrie, Hughes (c), Malkin, Cooke, Mwasile (Griggs 87’ (Bourne 90’))
Subs not used: Hawkins (GK), Webb
Ref: Mr Michael Crusham
Featured image courtesy of Martyn Wilson.