By Ashley Houghton
Nantwich Town extended their unbeaten run to three after playing out a stalemate with play-off chasing Hednesford Town.

A solid defensive play prevented the hosts from taking three points in what they described in the match day programme as a ‘must-win’ game.

Jimmy Quinn’s side was unchanged for the third consecutive game as Sean Cooke, who returned from a two-match suspension, only made the bench, replacing Cameron Mitchell.

The Dabbers were on the back foot in the early stages as the Pitmen dominated early possession but Simon Everall went close to giving Nantwich a shock lead on eight minutes, Everall disguised his run well to the back post and headed Caspar Hughes’ free-kick against the post.

Hednesford top scorer Chris Clements then went close for the hosts, after closing down Mat Bailey’s clearance the ex-Crewe Alexandra midfielder’s right-footed effort looked destined for the bottom corner but Dabbers stopper Jon Brain produced a fine save.

For all Hednesford’s possession Nantwich still created opportunities and could have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time as Tom Urwin’s corner was flicked on by Rod McDonald to Dave MacPherson but his strike was well saved by Dan Crane.

Dabbers captain Chris Flynn continued his recovery from a hamstring injury replacing Zak Foster on 69 minutes and he immediately made an impact by winning a flick on header to present Everall with a golden opportunity but the striker sent his right-footed effort wide.

The hosts didn’t create as many opportunities as they would like and there were only half chances for substitute Nick Wellecomme and Chris Shaw to look back on in the middle stages of the second half.

Nantwich substitute Josh Lane could have got his first Dabbers goal with just 15 minutes to go as Michael Lennon weaved between two Hednesford defenders and cut back for the young striker who hammered over from six yards.

The impressive Cheyenne Dunkley was close to snatching the victory late on for the Pitmen but his volley flashed just wide of Brain’s left-hand post.

Cooke nearly marked his return from suspension with a last gasp winner when he latched on to Urwin’s pass but he struck wide.

Nantwich: Brain,Lowe, White, Hughes (Cooke, 78), Bailey ©, McDonald, Urwin, MacPherson, Everall(Lane, 72), Lennon, Foster (Flynn, 68). Subs: Maguire, Moss.

All pictures courtesy of Simon J Newbury Photography

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