By Ashley Houghton: Nantwich Town earned a credible 1-1 draw against in-form Ashton United in an entertaining game at the Weaver Stadium.

And the Dabbers did it the hard way, coming from behind to clip the wings of the in-form Robins.

With five draws in their last eight matches, Jimmy Quinn’s side are becoming the league’s draw specialists but the loss of points from these games has taken the wind out of any promotion push.

In an even game, Nantwich had more of the possession in the first half but were restricted to long range efforts with Sean Cooke and Mat Bailey both thundering strikes just over the bar.

Caspar Hughes was making his returning debut for Nantwich having re-joined on loan from Crewe Alexandra and the diminutive midfielder made a telling contribution in midfield with some neat trademark passing.

Fellow Crewe Alex loanee Andy White was also impressive and it was his neat crossfield pass that found Tom Urwin on the edge of the box, the former Stoke City youngster forcing Terry Smith into a full length save in the visitors’ goal.

Ashton came out strongly after the break and immediately started to threaten for the first time in the game.

Alex Frost should have given them the lead but he smacked the outside of the post when well placed after Aaron Burns had guided a cross from the left into his path.

Burns then got in behind Rod McDonald only to lob the ball over the bar with just Jon Brain to beat.

The Dabbers failed to heed the warning signs and on 58 minutes, Ashton broke the deadlock.

A long throw from the right was flicked on into the path of Danny Lambert who despatched a half-volley into the corner of Brain’s net.

Fifteen minutes later, Nantwich were on level terms.  White was the orchestrator, lofting the ball into the danger area where keeper Smith could only deflect the ball into the net after towering centre-forward Mat Bailey got his head to the ball first.

Burns had a chance to restore Ashton’s lead but failed to find the target from close range after substitute Chris Amadi prodded the ball into his path.

Amadi was causing the home defence problems with his trickery and he clipped the ball just over as the visitors continued to press.

Michael Lennon entered the fray and the Dabbers leading scorer unselfishly slipped the ball into the path of Zack Foster whose blistering strike was blocked by Smith.

Latham had a deflected shot loop over the bar as the sides continued to trade blows and then Nantwich substitute Niall Maguire surged forward and teed up Lennon whose shot was again blocked by the hard working Smith.

As the final whistle approached, Ashton substitute Kevin Sanasy tested Brain from distance and at the other end White’s long range sizzler was fractionally too high.

In added time, Cooke went down in the box but referee Gary Hilton, who didn’t brand a card all game, waved away Nantwich’s appeals.

Nantwich: Brain, Lowe, White, MacPherson (Maguire, 76), Moss, McDonald, Urwin (Lennon 62), Hughes, Bailey, Cooke, Foster.  Unused subs: Everall, Mitchell, Aspinwall.  Attendance: 326

Dabbers’ Man of the Match (sponsored by the Co-operative Group) – Andy White

(Pictures courtesy of Simon J Newbury Photography)

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