Five-star Dabbers run riot at Stalybridge

Article: Jack Beresford

Nantwich Town Assistant Manager Jay Bateman described his sides performance as “pleasing” after they ran out 5-1 victors at Stalybridge Celtic on Tuesday night. A Joe Robbins hat-trick and goals from Shaun Miller and Jake Bickerstaff helped The Dabbers bring all three points back to South Cheshire.

Bateman said “We’re really pleased with that performance; we probably didn’t see it coming but a wins a win”

The Dabbers were looking to bounce straight back after suffering a 3-1 loss at the hands of Buxton on Saturday, despite being 1-0 up at half time.

 “It’s nice that we’ve played well in both halves. On Saturday we did well in the first half, not so well in the second half. But I think tonight we’ve done well in both halves which is the pleasing thing”

At Bower Fold, The Dabbers lead 2-1 at the break after a frantic first half. Nantwich opened the scoring after just six minutes when on-loan Fleetwood Town winger Akiel Raffie crossed from the right. It was cleared as far as Joe Robbin’s who took one touch to control and another to fire into the far corner to give the Dabbers an early lead.

Despite going a goal down early, The hosts were seeing more of the ball and they had a few chances of their own. Both Justin Johnson and Raul Correia had efforts on goal but Gould dealt with them easily. Celtic levelled the scores on the half hour mark when Stephen Brogan crossed from the left and found Correia who turned well and fired into the net, past Matty Gould.

It took the Dabbers just two minutes to retain their lead.  A weak back pass to the keeper was intercepted by Miller and as he bared down towards goal he was tackled but the loose ball fell to Wrexham Loanee Jake Bickerstaff who poked home for his first Nantwich Town goal.  The Dabbers looked good value for their lead, and it would have pleased the Dabbers management team that they hit back literally seconds after conceding to get them back in the driving seat.

The second half started much like the first as The Dabbers found the net inside ten minutes. More good work from Akiel Raffie down the right side saw him get a lot cross in that was cleared as far as Robbins who rifled his first-time strike into the top corner to double Nantwich’s lead.

On the hour mark, the hosts task become a lot harder as they were reduced to 10 men after Stephen Brogan recklessly dived in on Akiel Raffie and the referee showed the Stalybridge full back a straight red card.

With twenty minutes to go, The Dabbers put the game beyond doubt when Bickerstaff and Miller linked up well on halfway, before Miller found himself clean through and he was never going to miss as he confidently finished to grab his second goal in as many games.

No less then two minutes later, The Dabbers made it five as once again Raffie’s cross from

the right was cleared as far as Robbins who calmly stroked home to complete his hat trick and earn him the match-ball.

Assistant Manager Jay Bateman (photo: Jonathan White)

“We’re pleased for Joe, he wasn’t in the team on Saturday and he’s got back in tonight. It’s a great hat-trick, the three goals he scored tonight were fantastic” Jay Bateman said.

With ten minutes to go, The Dabbers were still looking to add to the score line as second half substitutes Joe Malkin and Tommy Montefiori both came close to adding a sixth.

At full time, The Dabbers earned a valuable three points in their battle for safety. It’s the first time they had scored five since beating Witton Albion 5-2 back in December 2020.

“We can’t single anyone out tonight, right through from Matt (Gould) in net, through the defence, through midfield, to the forwards. Everyone’s put a great shift in, great team performance” added Bateman

Nantwich’s next game is against bottom of the league side, Grantham Town. Despite their league position, Jay Bateman knows it’s going to be a tough fixture “It’s going to a difficult game, it would be even difficult if we hadn’t got anything tonight, at least we have got some points on the board tonight. It’s going to be a hard game, much like every game at this level. We’re looking forward to it, we should go in with confidence, but we need to be on our A game go pick up the points”

LINE UPS

Stalybridge Celtic:

 1. Liam Hughes
2. Matty Liptrott
3. Stephen Brogan
4 Sam Wedgbury (Ashley Smith-Brown 67’)
 5 Connor O’Grady
6 Shane Killock
 7 Callum Harris
8 Keenan Quansah
9 Raul Correia (Ntumba Massanka (67’)
10 Scott Bakkor
11 Justin Johnson (Charley Doyle 71’)

Subs not used: Jones, Varela

Nantwich Town

1. Matty Gould
2 Joel Stair
3 Matty Devine
4 Troy Bourne
5 Josh Langley
6 Caspar Hughes (Tommy Montefiori 82’)
7 Akiel Raffie
8 Joe Robbins
9 Jake Bickerstaff
10 Sean Cooke
11 Shaun Miller (Joe Malkin 80’)

Subs not used: Heath, Edwards, Vaughan