Nantwich goalscorer John Johnston celebrates with teammates against Grantham

Nantwich Town and Grantham Town played out a thrilling 1-1 draw as the promotion chasers came head to head at the Weaver Stadium.

Grantham forged ahead on eight minutes after top scorer Lee Shaw picked up the ball and curled into the bottom corner.

The Dabbers grabbed an equaliser when Joe Mwasile fed John Johnston, who bent his finish into the far corner.

Phil Parkinson made one enforced change before the game as Andy White dropped out with an injury.

Joel Stair came in, while Sean Cooke returned on the bench after serving a three-match ban.

Grantham started the brighter of the teams.

They forced the Dabbers into mistakes as Ben Harrison was dispossessed and Barcelos advanced on goal.

Curtis Jones read the danger well and made a vital block.

From another mistake, Luke Shaw picked up the ball with just Gyollai to beat. The big keeper was out quickly to save at his feet.

Grantham were on top and took a deserved lead on eight minutes.

Grantham goalscorer Lee Shaw celebrates with fans

Shaw (pictured above) picked up the ball just inside the box and curled past Gyollai.

It was no more than the Gingerbreads deserved.

Grantham suffered a blow on 20 minutes as Michael Hollinsworth caught Ibou Touray and injured himself and had to be stretchered off.

They should have doubled their lead on 25 minutes when Harry Clifton found space, but his shot was superbly saved by Gyollai.

And from that corner, the Dabbers broke away and punished them.

Mwasile ran at the defence and played in Johnston.

He steadied himself before lifting a superb curling effort past Preston to bring the scores level.

Grantham kept pressing and Shaw had a weak effort from range saved by Gyollai.

At the other end though, Mwasile and Johnston were causing all sorts of problems.

Osebi Abadaki battles for the ball

Ellis Storey went into the book for a tug on Johnston, who then cut inside and shot straight at Preston from 20 yards.

Parkinson made an early change, as he brought off Sam Hall and sent on Cooke.

Touray showed great skill to beat three Grantham defenders and was felled just outside the box.

Cooke stepped up and curled over the wall, but Preston was across to save.

Matt Bell almost picked out a team mate after persistent work down the right.

The Dabbers were on top and should have gone ahead when a ball into the box found a wide open Tom Peers, who could only direct his header over.

Grantham went close on the hour mark as Barcelos clipped into the box and Shaw headed against the post.

The injured Mwasile was replaced by Abadaki.

John Johnston threatens the goal

The Dabbers were working hard at both ends of the pitch, as Touray blocked two goalbound shots and Bell tracked back to stop a Grantham attack with a well timed tackle.

Cooke found space at the other end, but his shot was straight at Preston.

Harrison had to be alert as a ball over the top almost set Shaw away, but the big defender blocked the attempted shot.

The final chance came when the Dabbers broke up the pitch and Cooke fed Johnston on the right.

The on loan Salford man’s effort whistled just wide of the far post.

Nantwich Town: Dan Gyollai, Joel Stair, Ibou Touray, Curtis Jones, Ben Harrison, Sam Hall(c)(Sean Cooke, 48), John Johnston, Wayne Riley, Tom Peers(Ryan Brooke, 81), Matt Bell, Joe Mwasile(Osebi Abadaki, 64). Unused subs: Steve Jones, Joe Howell

(Pictures courtesy of Jonathan White)

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