Mark Winslade

A superb team goal was not enough for Nantwich Town who slipped to a 3-1 defeat away at promotion chasing Ashton United, writes Daniel Curtis.

Mark Winslade (pictured) capped off a great passing move to tap the Dabbers in front.

But a penalty from Gee, followed by goals from Johnson and Pilkington gave the hosts the victory at Hurst Cross.

Both sides were bogged down on a very heavy, muddy pitch early on with few chances.

Greg Pearson miscued a back pass, resulting in the first corner of the game going Nantwich’s way in the 19th minute.

Nicky Platt swung it into the penalty spot, but Winslade headed over the bar.

Winslade did put the Dabbers ahead just three minutes later.

Max Harrop, who found his feet despite the poor pitch, played it through to Platt on the left side of the box.

Platt, with Paul Phillips closing the angle, squared to Winslade who tapped home from inside the six yard box.

Harrop won a free-kick on the left after being dragged down by Lee Rick.

The free-kick was whipped in, with a defender wrapping his arms around Mat Bailey to deny him a heading opportunity.

Winslade managed to get a flying volley away, but it was blocked by a falling Ashton United man.

Ashton were level on 35 minutes. A through ball to Dale Johnson caused havoc and Andy White fouled Kevin Leadbetter in the box. Gary Gee converted the penalty.

Minutes later the Dabbers almost regained their lead, with Moyo crossing low across the box to Harry Clayton whose effort was saved by a stationary Phillips.

But there was no luck for Nantwich, as Ashton turned the game around with three minutes until the break.

A clearance from Bailey struck the back of Greg Pearson. Johnson was on hand to convert into the empty net from six yards and make it 2-1.

Ben Harrison limped off at the break and was replaced by Shaun Dowling.

Dowling was immediately called into action, blocking from Pilkington a minute after the restart.

Pilkington then missed a glorious chance for Ashton. The forward was played in over the top and Smith rushed out. Pilkington darted around him, but smashed it into the side netting.

Johnson weaved his way down the left hand side with an hour gone, before cutting inside and letting fly only to see it deflected over.

And from the next attack Ashton United had a third.

Pilkington found enough room inside the six-yard box to side-foot home from a cross.

Smith got a hand to it, but from point-blank range was only able to palm it into his own bottom left-hand corner.

Danny Johnson brought on Jordan Johnson for Harry Clayton to revitalise the Dabbers’ attack and switched to a 4-4-2 formation.

Johnson did get a shot away from 20 yards, but the curler went just wide of Phillip’s left-hand post.

Substitute Martin Hill rose high on the far post to head goalwards with three minutes to play, but Smith was down expertly to save.

And he was on hand to save one-on-one just a minute later, as Coppin rifled in a shot from the left.

Mark Jones almost set up a nervous finish, firing just wide from 12 yards out with two minutes of injury time to play.

Nantwich Town are in 19th ahead of next Saturday’s clash with Whitby Town, the first of three home games in a row.

Nantwich Town: Smith, Moyo, White, M. Jones (C), Harrison, Bailey, Clayton, Platt, Winslade, Howard, Harrop. Subs: Dowling (On for Harrison, 45 minutes), S. Jones, Blake, Kosylo, Johnson (On for Clayton, 69 minutes)

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