Nantwich Town climbed into the Northern Premier League play-off places after a dramatic late win over Bamber Bridge at the Weaver Stadium.
David Webb’s goal in the 89th minute was enough to regain a three points that Nantwich very nearly threw away, giving up the two goal lead they had earned in the first half through Webb and Joel Stair.
The wind was a big factor in the game, holding up any balls played above head height and directly leading to at least one of the five goals.
The Dabbers had the wind behind them in the first half and eventually made the most of it. Before that, the hosts did everything but score.
Matty Devine was lively as ever at left back, drifting inside with the ball on 5 minutes and squaring to Jimmy Lawrie who stung the palm of Bamber keeper Danny Roccia.
Joel Stair and Troy Bourne threatened from set pieces, missing openings from a corner and free kick early on.
Sean Cooke was the one delivering those set pieces but had to be subbed after a quarter of an hour with what looked like a shoulder problem, and was replaced by Ricardo Fuller.
Hesitation in the Bamber Bridge defence led to another half chance, Joe Mwasile tackling and shooting straight at Roccia.
Lawrie took over set piece duties, and almost pulled off a spectacular finish, going for goal from a free kick when he looked to be shaping to cross, Roccia having to scramble to push it behind.
Another corner, and another chance came and went, this time a free header that didn’t test the goalkeeper, it should have been one nil.
A wind assisted Greg Hall clearance created another opportunity just past the half hour, Joe Mwasile stealing in past a static defence and forcing another good save from Roccia.
As it looked as if Nantwich would not make the most of their dominance before half time, they struck with two goals in 3 minutes.
Yet another set piece was delivered into the Bamber box, the previously solid Roccia was bamboozled by the physical presence of Fuller, flapping the ball down to Webb who didn’t hit it cleanly but it didn’t matter as it hit the back of the net.
The second followed from another corner, the two defenders who had troubled Bamber Bridge earlier combining. Roccia looked suspect again, not getting enough on his punch out, a scramble saw the ball spin to Bourne, who hit it into a crowd of bodies, but Joel Stair was there to force it over the line and make the scoreline more reflective of the balance of play in the first 45.
The second half saw a reversal in fortunes, and Mother Nature changing from a green shirt to a red one as the wind now favoured the visitors.
Greg Hall fell foul of the weather four minutes into the second half, a large gust of wind coinciding with him trying to throw the ball out to start an attack. It held up massively and dropped to Bamber Bridge midfielder Daniel Wisdom, who won a 50/50 with a Dabbers defender and coolly lifted the ball over a stranded Hall and into the net.
The wind was literally in Bamber Bridge sails now, and they began to control possession and chances. Richard Allen whipped in a fierce cross that just missed the head of Daniel Dudley and almost went in itself.
Debutant Prince Haywood impressed in midfield, but there was nothing he could do about the Bamber Bridge equaliser five minutes from time.
In almost a carbon copy of Mwasile’s chance in the first half, a long ball from Roccia helped by the wind totally caught out the Nantwich centre halves and Allen broke through and finished emphatically in off the crossbar to level the score.
That looked as if it would be the final decisive moment of the match, the cliched game of two halves that was determined as much by who had the wind behind them as any individual brilliance, but Nantwich clearly hadn’t read that script.
Hall took a quick free kick down the left touchline to Mwasile in space. Mwasile was impossible to shake off the ball all game and here he moved inside and spotted Webb making a run, he found the ball through to Webb who had the composure to dink it over the onrushing Roccia and spark jubilant scenes in the Weaver Stadium.
The full time whistle followed not long after, making it three wins on the bounce for the Dabbers, and a jump into those coveted play-offs ahead of huge matches against top of the table rivals South Shields, Basford and Lancaster City.
Nantwich Town: Hall, Bourne, Devine, Stair, Langley, Haywood, Lawrie (C), Webb, Varian (Hughes, 84), Cooke (Fuller, 15), Mwasile (Harrison, 90+1).
Subs not used: Saxon, Saunders
Goals: Webb 39′, 89′, Stair 42′
Bamber Bridge: Roccia, Thomson, Marlow, Spooner (C), Charnock, Wisdom, Green, Churchman (Thomason, 77), Dudley (Forbes, 86), Roache (Booth, 67), Allen.
Subs not used: Doughty, Summer
Goals: Wisdom 49′, Allen 85′