Two against Rushall - Sean Cooke, Nantwich Town (pic by Simon J Newbury) sent off at Buxton

By Ashley Houghton
Sean Cooke’s 90th minute equaliser earned Nantwich Town a 2-2 draw at Witton Albion’s Help for Heroes Stadium.

Anthony Gardner’s penalty five minutes from time seemed to have ended The Dabbers seven match unbeaten run.

But Cooke’s free-kick in the closing stages sent the travelling Dabbers faithful home with a New Year smile on their faces.

Lewis Short equalised for Nantwich 20 minutes from time after Steve Foster put the hosts ahead in the first-half.

Paul Brown made his Nantwich debut having joined from Marine this week and impressed on his first start for the club.

Steve Foster, who was sent off in the closing stages, tested Jon Brain in the Dabbers goal on a couple of occasions in the early stages and Cooke also went close forcing a save from Matt Cooper.

Shaun Tuck was also lively throughout for Albion and Brain saved well when the former Skelmersdale United man was through on goal on 37 minutes.

The deadlock was broken on the stroke of half-time as Foster swivelled on the ball 25 yards from goal and struck a wonderful right-footed effort into the top corner.

Si Everall was replaced by Kyle Wilson just after the break with the former Crewe FC man picking up an injury during the first-half.

The Dabbers were largely dominant throughout the second-half and Josh Lane was inches from heading Short’s cross home just minutes after the restart but the ball flashed agonizingly wide of the Nantwich striker.

Short did bring Nantwich level on 70 minutes as Mark Beesley played a lovely weighted pass into the channel for the former Crewe Alexandra man to hammer home at Cooper’s near post.

Witton were then given a huge opportunity to wrap the points up as Foster was released through the Nantwich backline and when one-on-one with Brain, was adjudged to have been brought down unfairly by the referee, who pointed to the spot. Gardner stepped up and lashed the ball home to seemingly ruin The Dabbers start to the New Year.

Cooke had other ideas though and after Foster was sent off for another bookable offence, the former Crewe Alex youth smashed a 25 yard free-kick through the wall, wrong footing Cooper and sending The Dabbers faithful into raptures.

Nantwich: Brain, Carden, White, Hughes (Beesley, 68), Moss, McDonald, Cooke, Brown (Maguire, 65), Everall (Wilson, 47), Lane, Short.

(pic by Simon J Newbury)

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