Article: Dan Jackson
Photographs: Jonathan White
A disappointing 2-0 defeat sees Nantwich Town knocked out of the FA Cup in the 1st Qualifying Round to Congleton Town.
Saturday’s FA Cup game saw Joe Mwasile, Ritchie Sutton and Sean Lawton come into the starting XI, whilst manager Dave Cooke unfortunately missed the game through illness.
The opening minutes of the game made for a frantic start as both teams racked up shots on goal, Jones-Griffiths and Johns both testing Louis Gray with low shots that required saves from the Nantwich keeper.
It wasn’t long until the home goal was under siege once more, with attempts from Congleton denied by Gray and Captain for the day, Sutton, on the line during a melee in the box. Gray was having to be in fine form to keep the visitors at bay early on.
Sean Cooke, looking the most likely to threaten the away goal, was forced off on 25 minutes having felt a muscle injury whilst getting a shot away. Not the birthday present he had hoped for.
Dan Cockerline was looking to follow up his mid-week goal at Warrington Town with some good footwork on the left of the box, but his shot crashed against the crossbar and was cleared from danger.
Moments later the visitors finally took the lead on the 36th minute after a tussle between Sutton and Johns saw The Bears attacker come away with the ball and cross for a simple tap in for Daniel Needham at the near post.
The second half felt an important one for The Dabbers but offered little in the way of change. Hope of an equaliser faded when Cockerline was forced off on 62 minutes after a nasty suspected shoulder dislocation following an awkward landing.
Congleton continued to attack and looked the more threatening of the two teams. Needham forced another save from the Nantwich keeper before Sherratt stole the ball off the toe of Pope to clear to safety.
Darren Chadwick replaced Johns on 73 minutes with The Bears switching to five at the back, but as it looked like the visitors were looking to hold onto a slender lead, Matt Bell mis-timed his tackle which led to a Congleton penalty. Chadwick smashed home the spot kick to double the lead.
A late rally from the hosts saw Robbins have his free kick superbly saved by David Parton, and Jon Moran move up front to add an aerial threat. However, it was too little too late, and Congleton deservedly move into the next round of the FA Cup.
With four goals in seven games, Nantwich will need to add to that tally as they play host to Belper Town on Tuesday 6th September.
Nantwich Town: Gray, Edwards (’55 Moran), Lawton, Bourne, Sutton (C), Sherratt, Mwasile, Robbins, Cockerline (’62 Leitch-Smith), Cooke (’25 Bell), Grant
Subs not used: Miller, Castellano, Heath
Congleton Town: Parton, Williams, Nsaka, Jones-Griffiths, Duffy, Read, Sankey (’81 Beaumont), Hartshorn, Pope (C) (’90 Hampton), Johns, Needham (’73 Chadwick)
Subs not used: Faulkner, Clarke
Goals: Needham (37), Chadwick (80, pen)