“The Dabbers come from behind to beat Newcastle Town in their first run out of the season.”


Dave Cooke’s men travelled to the Red Industries Stadium to face Newcastle Town in their first pre-season friendly of the campaign. 


The first opportunity for Nantwich came after just nine minutes when Luke Walsh played Matty Devine in behind down the left side, as he got to the byline, he pulled it back to Callum Saunders who blazed his first time shot well over the bar. The former Crewe man came close again six minutes later, a quick free kick from Sean Cooke caught out the Newcastle defence. Cooke’s quick thinking allowed Saunders to shoot from the left side of the box, however it went well wide of the goal. 


The Dabbers were almost made to rue their missed chances in the 22nd minute when the Newcastle number 7 fed his teammate in behind, however luckily for Nantwich Greg Hall came racing off his line and saved well.

With ten minutes of the half left, Nantwich had another great opportunity to take the lead. A corner from the right was swung in by Sean Cooke, the home side struggled to clear it and it fell to Luke Walsh who dragged his shot wide from just inside the box. 


At half time, the deadline was yet to be broken, the Dabbers had the better of first half however they couldn’t find a breakthrough. The second half began in the worst possible way for Nantwich as their opponents took the lead after just seven minutes of the restart in comical fashion. Half time sub Caspar Hughes looked to play the ball back to Greg Hall; however, the Nantwich keeper had moved wide of his goal to receive the ball on his favored right foot, and the Dabbers skipper didn’t look up and ended up passing the ball into an empty net. Much to the dismay of his keeper.


It didn’t take Nantwich long to respond as Connor Heath latched onto a loose back pass before slotting past the on-rushing keeper to level the scoring in the 58th minute. 


In the 69th minute The Dabbers took the lead when Joel Stair met a Sean Cooke free kick at the back post to head powerfully into the bottom corner, past the keeper. 


With fifteen minutes left Nantwich were looking comfortable and they deserved to be in the lead. When Joe Malkin went down in the box, they had a great chance to double their lead from the spot. Malkin stepped up and fired his spot kick towards the bottom left corner, however the keeper guessed the right way and saved well down low. Two minutes later it was the hosts turn to have a spot kick of their own after McLean was bundled over in the box. The striker stepped up and struck his spot kick venomously towards the top right corner, however James Hawkins pulled off a ‘worldie’ save as he clawed it over the bar for a corner. After the excitement of two penalties in five minutes, the game fizzled out and tired legs started to show, which is understandable considering it was The Dabbers first pre-season game. 


As the referee blew the whistle for the final time, manager Dave Cooke would have been pleased to get the pre-season campaign off to a winning start and I’m sure he will take plenty of positives from the game as edge ever closer to a potential start date