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FA Trophy 1st Round Proper: Nantwich Town 2 Grantham Town 1

Article and Photographs: Jonathan White

A Remembrance ceremony, organised by the Nantwich & District Branch of the Royal British Legion, took place on the pitch prior to the Nantwich Town vs Grantham FA Trophy 1st Round Proper match at the Optimum Pay Stadium on Saturday 13th November 2021.

During the ceremony a poppy wreath from Nantwich Town Football Club was temporarily put in the centre of the pitch. The wreath will be placed at the Nantwich war memorial on the town square on Remembrance Sunday. ‘The Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’ were performed, in between which there was a respectful one-minute silence. The ceremony commemorated the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

Several members of the Nantwich & District Branch of the Royal British Legion were present at the ceremony including John Dwyer (President), David Hulse (Standard Bearer), Arthur Rigby (Ceremonial Officer), Garry Timmins (Parade Marshal), along with cornet player Peter Jeeves.

All Nantwich Town players match shirts featured a ‘Lest we forget’ poppy, setup by Dabbers Kit Manager Jason Clarke. 

A representative from the Nantwich & District Branch of the Royal British Legion said: “We were extremely proud to share remembrance with everyone who attended the Nantwich Town versus Grantham Town match.”

2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the Nantwich & District Branch of the Royal British Legion and the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion.

The British Legion was formed on the 15th May 1921 after the end of the First World War with Royal status being granted in 1971. 

The Nantwich & District Branch of the Royal British Legion was one of the founding Branches formed in 1921. Initially there would have been a branch in most towns; however, over the years there has been a reduction in the number of branches, so Nantwich has become Nantwich & District, taking in Audlem, Shavington and Willaston to name but a few. The Branch has in the region of 120 members and meets regularly on the second Wednesday of every month at 7.30pm in The Willaston Social Club.

Match Report: Adam Bateman
Photographs: Jonathan White

On an overcast and chilly evening, Nantwich were looking to run off the rust, after seeing the Gainsborough game called off for a second time, and thus not having played for two weeks.

Before the game, there was the annual Remembrance event with help from the local branch of the Royal British Legion in their centenary year.

The game started off well for the home side, with Cockerline forcing Pollard in the Grantham Town goal into an early save after just eight minutes . Then from the resulting corner, something that will have doubly pleased Dave Cooke in the managers dugout, a goal and one from the training ground, and scored by his son Sean! Cooke Junior found himself free in the box from a low cut back from the returning David Webb’s corner, and he slotted home wonderfully a fantastic start for the Dabbers!

After that very bright start, things started to go a bit awry for the home side sadly, as first of all the side lost the experience of David Vaughan due to injury after 17 minutes, and then with their first real attack of the game, Grantham found an equalising goal. Lee Shaw picked the ball up, and drove to the edge of the penalty box, and took a low shot, and it managed to just evade the clutches of Andy Wycherley. It was more than a tad harsh on Nantwich, who up to then, had been the more dominant side.

From the resulting kick-off Nantwich almost re-took the lead as Cockerline who had looked very dangerous all throughout the first half, did very well to create an opportunity where he was one on one with Pollard, and he saw his shot very well saved for a corner. Just before half time saw Grantham have another very good chance, with Orlando-Young shooting just wide of the far post. Sadly for Nantwich, Matty Devine had to come off due to another injury and was replaced by Jacob Edwards and into the half time break it was level pegging.

The second half saw Grantham come out with renewed purpose, and they took the game to the home side from the off, Lee Shaw continuing to be a real handful for the Dabbers backline. Joe Mwasile who had a very good game, had a shot that almost crept in, but sadly went just wide eight minutes into what was turning out to be a compulsive half. Orlando-Young had another chance for the away side, this time with a header, thankfully it went just wide on this occasion.

Then the tuning point of the game happened, from what seemed like a bit of hopeful ball into the Grantham box, their centre-back Henry Eze headed it into his own net, to give Nantwich the lead, and one that the fans in the stadium roared with delight!  From there it was all about game management, and could Nantwich hold on to get through to the next round. There were some very nervous moments for sure, but Nantwich continued to pile on the pressure, looking for that crucial third goal, to really put the tie to bed.

Cockerline again had a good header saved, and there was an almighty scramble in the visitors box. Despite Webb being shown a red card in injury time, the home side held on, and find themselves in the hat for the draw on Monday. The game finished 2-1, to the delight of everyone connected to the club.