Nantwich 2 Witton 1 (pic by Matt Eagles)

By Robert Summerscales
Harry Clayton and Tom Bentham opened their goal accounts for Nantwich Town who beat Witton Albion for a first home win of 2013.

Both players netted close-range tap-ins to secure victory over their Cheshire rivals.

But Darren Moss’ men were forced to endure a nervy finish, after Steve Foster reduced the deficit 13 minutes from time.

Nantwich should have opened the scoring on nine minutes, when a lucky deflection sent Bentham clean through on goal.

However, the former Maine Road FC frontman fired straight at goalkeeper Matthew Cooper.

Foster squandered an equally good chance at the other end moments later.

Charlie Raglan’s cross-field pass was intercepted by Josh Hancock, who slid a neat ball into the path of Foster, only for Jon Brain to make a smart save.

Brain then appeared to handle the ball outside of his penalty area, but referee Steve Swallow saw no infringement.

The Dabbers broke the deadlock on 23 minutes, as Cooper palmed Bentham’s low drive straight to Clayton, who calmly tucked away the rebound.

Bentham almost doubled Nantwich’s lead three minutes before the break, but his lobbed effort looped just wide.

The 22-year-old atoned for his miss in first-half stoppage time.

Niall Maguire burst down the left and squared the ball to Bentham, who was presented with the simplest of finishes from four yards.

Defender Marc Joseph, who was making his debut for Witton, was lucky not be sent off early in the second period.

The Antigua and Barbuda international struck Bentham in the face during an off-the-ball altercation, which was missed by the referee.

Josh Lane replaced Bentham just after the hour-mark and, without their target man, the hosts struggled to retain possession, and Witton began to look dangerous.

Nantwich were immediately dealt a severe warning, as Hancock’s fizzing long-range drive inexplicably bounced to safety off the inside of Brain’s far post.

The pressure eventually told. A whipped Daniel Andrews free kick fell to the feet of Foster, who smashed his half volley into the roof of the net from the centre of a crowded six-yard box.

Witton piled forward in search of an equaliser that would have seen them extend their unbeaten run to nine league games.

However, two fine stoppage-time saves from Brain ensured the Dabbers claimed all three points.

Nantwich: Brain; Cole, Bailey, Raglan (c), Dicker; Hughes, Maguire; Guest (Devenney 88), Hudson (Zack Foster 85), Clayton; Bentham (Lane 67). Subs: Ringstead, Jones.

(Pictures courtesy of Matt Eagles)

Nantwich 2 Witton 1

Nantwich 2 Witton 1

Nantwich 2 Witton 1

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