Captain Sam Hall challenges for the ball v Witton

Two goals inside the opening ten minutes saw Nantwich Town end their losing run in the league with a 3-2 victory over Witton Albion at the Weaver Stadium, writes Steve Sharman.

An own goal from Rob Hopley and Sean Cooke saw the hosts take firm control of the game in the opening exchanges.

But Hopley netted 15 minutes before half time to pull a goal back for Witton before Matt Bell extended the lead again with a fine second half free kick.

Paul Williams’ penalty on 80 minutes made it a nervy end for the Dabbers, but they held on and ended a run of five league defeats in a row.

Manager Dave Cooke made one change from the midweek cup win over Kettering Town as Joe Mwasile came in for Jordan Davies who dropped to the bench.

The Dabbers made a flying start as Courtney Wildin’s dangerous low cross was cleared for a corner.

The resulting set piece was flicked on by skipper Sam Hall and bundled in to his own net by Witton striker Rob Hopley to give the Dabbers an early lead.

Sean Cooke's corner is flicked on by Sam Hall and put in to his own net by RobHopley (1-0)

Within a minute, the visitors could have been level as Tom Owens burst into the box but his shot was brilliantly saved by Will Jaaskelainen and the loose ball cleared on the goal line by Toby Mullarkey.

In the 11th minute Caspar Hughes found Cooke with a cleverly worked free kick leaving the latter to do the rest as he buried his shot past the helpless Calvin Hare in the Witton goal.

After a fast paced start to the game, Witton began to take control as they kept possession well but were unable to create any clear opportunities on the Dabbers’ goal.

Owens then had his second chance of the game as he was allowed time and space in the box but saw his curling effort go narrowly past the far post.

Five minutes later and Witton did pull one back as Hopley found the right net, as he twisted and turned in the box allowing him to fire low into the corner.

Man of the match Toby Mullarkey makes a goal-saving tackle

The Dabbers were struggling to create opportunities as Witton looked for an equaliser, although Joel Stair’s header across the face of goal from Matt Bell’s cross was close to finding Harry Clayton.

Witton began the second half as they had ended the first and Jaaskelainen had to be alert to palm away Danny McKenna’s curling free kick early on.

Steven Tames then saw his flying shot from range go past the far post as Albion looked to level the game up.

The Dabbers’ then struck the woodwork as Bell’s cross from the left found Mwasile inside the box, who saw his effort strike the crossbar and bounce away.

But five minutes later it was Bell who increased the Dabbers’ lead as he struck a perfect curling free kick from 25 yards into the bottom corner.

Matt Bell curls the free kick in perfectly-fine finish

Despite conceding again, Witton kept looking for a way back and Hopley saw his attempted overhead kick fly wide before Jaaskelainen made an incredible save, tipping over Williams’ ambitious lob.

The visitors did get a goal back ten minutes before time as Nathan Cotterell brought down Hopley inside the box.

Up stepped Williams who sent Jaaskaleinen the wrong way to reduce Witton’s deficit to just one goal.

Paul Williams scores from the penalty spot for Witton (3-2)

But despite five minutes of added time, the Dabbers’ defence held on to end a fantastic week.

Next up is the FA Trophy First Qualifying Round next Saturday October 28 away at Rushall Olympic, 3pm kick-off.

Nantwich Town: Jaaskelainen, Bourne, Wildin, Stair, Mullarkey, Hall (c) (Cotterell 66′), Hughes, Bell, Clayton (Forbes 84′), Cooke, Mwasile (Davies 86′). Subs not used: Morgan, McDonald.

(pictures courtesy of Jonathan White)

Witton Albion player Rob Hopley with an overhead scissors kick on goal

Theo Stair challenges for the ball(1)

Manager Dave Cooke gives orders

Joe Mwasile on the ball

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