Dabbers Fall to Defeat Despite Dominant Display.

Article: Jack Beresford
Photographs: Jonathan White

Nantwich Town assistant manager Jay Bateman described tonights result as “A tough one to take” As Stuart Beavon’s 63rd minute wonder strike helped Mickleover to a 1-0 victory over Nantwich Town on a cold Tuesday night at the Optimum Pay Stadium.

Officials, team captains and representatives from The Cat 107.9 FM community radio (photograph: Jonathan White)

Nantwich we’re forced to name a much changed XI from one that lost 1-0 at Basford on Saturday. Both Dan Cockerline and Caspar Hughes both missed out due to injury and goalkeeper Matty Gould also missed the game due to being called up for New Zealand National team. However, as the saying goes, one door closes another opens as new signings Ethan Mitchell, Akiel Raffia and Tony McMillan we’re all handed their Nantwich Town debuts.

The visitors began the game on the front foot as former football league striker Stuart Beavon received the ball with his back to goal before controlling nicely, turning and shooting low, but veteran goalkeeper Tony McMillan was able to get down quickly and comfortably save.

A minute later, Nantwich had their first effort on goal as Nantwich’s former football league striker, Shaun Miller showed good skill to weave his way into the box before making space for a shot, However it was straight at the Mickleover keeper who palmed the strike behind for a corner. 

After not being involved for the last few weeks, Shaun Miller was playing like he had a point to prove and he linked up well with Matty Devine down the left side before the latter curled his effort the wrong side of far right post. 

Shaun Miller shot is just wide of the far post (photograph: Jonathan White)

New signing Akiel Raffie joined the club yesterday on a season-long loan after impressing for Fleetwood U23’s when they visited the Optimum Pay Stadium last week. Raffie’s pace and control was enough to cause any defenders issues and he burst down the right side before cutting inside and firing a strike towards the near post, However must to the dismay of The Dabbers supporters, the strike crashed off the inside of the the near post before being cleared to safety.

Dabbers debutant and Man of the Match Akiel Raffie hit the post with this shot (photograph: Jonathan White)

After a hectic start, the tempo of the game soon slowed down as both sides began to pass the ball around and finally get a feel for the ball. The next opportunity came on the half hour mark as a corner from the left side was cleared but Troy Bourne did well to recycle the move and feed Miller in behind who cut inside and fired a shot straight at the keeper who saves easily.

By this stage, The Dabbers should have been well out of sight, and these missed chances could potentially come back to bite them at the end of the game.  On the brink of half time Shaquille McDonald got on the end of a high ball before controlling nicely and rifling a strike that beat Tony McMillan and crashed off the underside of the bar, before being cleared away. It was a sensational peice of work from the Sports forward. 

At the break, The Dabbers would have felt unlucky to not go in with a lead. However, despite their dominance they couldn’t find the back of the net and the scores were level. 

The hosts began the second period the stronger of the two sides, They had the first opportunity of the half when Mason Warren controlled the ball nicely before swivelling and shooting all in one motion, However his volley went side of the far left post. The second half didn’t live up to the chaotic start of the first, Chances were minimal and Nantwich couldn’t seem to create as much as they did in the first period. 

Mickleover keeper Jonathan Hedge rises for the ball (photograph: Jonathan White)

In 63rd minute the visitors took the lead with a goal that was fit to win any game. An aimless long ball towards Beavon was controlled well and as he room the ball into the box be volleyed into the far right corner, giving McMillan absolutely no chance in the Nantwich goal. It was an outstanding strike from the former Burton Albion man. And it was a goal that was a real sucker punch for The Dabbers who really should have been ahead following their first half dominance. 

Raffie was continuing to cause issues down the right side and he showed an excellent change of pace to get to the byline, However his cross crashed into the side netting. Moments later, Raffie was the centre point of the Nantwich attack again and he down the right flank and crossed low towards Malkin, However The Nantwich forward couldn’t sort his feet out and his effort ballooned over the bar from six yards out.  This attack was the last real opportunity that the home side had, The last ten minutes became a bit one dimensional and Mickleover defended resolutely and cleared everything that The Dabbers threw at them. 

The game ended with the visitors going home with the three points, this result could prove pivotal at the end of the season, especially with both teams fighting at the wrong end of table. Nantwich have another huge game on Saturday as they host Ashton United who currently sit four points above then in the league so it’s a great chance for Nantwich to make some ground on the teams above them.

Mickleover keeper Jonathan Hedge celebrates victory (photograph: Jonathan White)

After the game, assistant manager Jay Bateman said “It’s a tough one to take, Footballs a cruel game. I think as you’ve all seen tonight, we deserved something out of that game and we haven’t got anything out of the game, so as you can imagine it’s a disappointing changing room”

“We have to go again on Saturday, There’s notning we can do about it now. I thought we played some really good football, from attack to defence we look solid. Fair play to Beavon he’s scored a Worldie to win the game for them”

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