Article: Jack Beresford
Photographs: Jonathan White
A second half brace from Alex Reid was enough to knock Nantwich Town out of the Cheshire Senior Cup.
The Dabbers had a sensational record in the Cheshire Senior Cup over the last four years. In fact, the last time they lost was in the 2016/17 finals where they were beaten by Crewe Alexandra. Since then, they had won it twice in both 2017/18 & 2018/19, the competition didn’t take place in the two seasons after due to COVID.
After getting a bye in the first round, Nantwich beat Altrincham 3-2 at the J.Davison Stadium in the Second Round. The Hatters have had to beat both Chester and Macclesfield to get to this stage.
The Dabbers made six changes from their draw on Saturday. New signing Sky Sinclair made his Dabbers debut after signing earlier in the day on a one-month loan from Blackpool.
On a blustery night in South Cheshire, the game took a while to get going. In fact, the first opportunity led to the opening goal. Argentinian midfielder Tommy Montefiori won the ball on halfway and drove into the County half before exchanging passes with Joe Mwasile and then firing low into the bottom corner to give The Dabbers an unexpected lead.
It didn’t take the visitors long to assert their authority on the game and despite going a foul down early they were dominating the ball creating chances. Their first came after 24 minutes when the tricky Elliot Newby made space for a cross that was met by Connor Jennings, but he fired wide of the post. A minute later they had a golden opportunity to get back on level terms. A ball over the top wasn’t dealt with by the Dabbers back line and it fell nicely for Millenic Alli who scuffed his volley into the grateful arms of Andy Wycherley. On the half hour mark both Newby and Jennings linked up well once more, but again Jennings’ effort was dragged wide of the post.
At the break, the visitors had seen the majority of the ball, however they hadn’t created many goalscoring opportunities, this was mainly down to the Nantwich defence standing firm and dealing with everything that was thrown at them.
In the second half, Stockport were playing with the strong wind so was harder for Nantwich to clear their lines. However, it took until the 61st for The Hatters to have their first opportunity of the half as a Newby floated a cross towards the back post that was met by Alli, but his low header went the wrong side of the post as it crashed into the side netting. Two minutes later the visitors really should have scored as a goalmouth scramble fell to Jordan Keane who blazed over from 6 yards out.
In the 73rd minute, Stockport’s dominance finally paid off as they levelled the scores when substitute Keane Burugh fired a ball across the face of goal for Reid to poke home from close range.
After getting back in the game, the visitors had the momentum, and they looked the favourites to take the lead. Four minutes after scoring they came close to adding a second as Minihan crossed from the right side but once again, Jennings volleyed wide.
The Dabbers were really putting their bodies on the line to prevent Stockport from taking the lead. With a minute to go Newby took aim from the edge of the area but Ethan Mitchell threw himself infront of the effort and blocked it away for a corner.
The game was looking like going to penalties until the visitors struck a sucker punch in the last minute. A cross from the right was met by an unmarked Reid who couldn’t miss as he headed home from inside the six-yard box.
Seconds later, the referee blew the final whistle and to be fair to Stockport, they probably deserved to take the lead based on their second half performance, but The Dabbers will be disappointed not to have held firm and taken it to penalties where anything can happen.
After the game Nantwich Town Assistant Manager said “To be fair I think they shaded both the first and second half on possession, I think chances wise there wasn’t much in it”
“It’s a huge blow to concede at the end, it was a good ball in from the right and a good header, but we’re disappointed to lose that way. I thought we were going to take it to pens and it’s a toss of a coin from there”