Aaron Burns, Nantwich Town

Aaron Burns’ 16th league goal of the season gave Nantwich Town their second win of 2015 with a 1-0 victory at Marine AFC, writes Richard Scott.

The Dabbers made two changes to the team that beat Ramsbottom United on New Years Day.

Adam Jones came in for Mat Bailey and Nicky Platt made his first start for Nantwich in place of the injured Steve Jones.

Nantwich could have taken the lead on five minutes with their first attack – and the game’s first shot – when Burns played in strike partner Mark Winslade, whose shot cannoned off the underside of the bar with Matt Cooper well beaten.

Marine thought they had taken the lead on 15 minutes when they had a shot cleared off the line by Adam Jones. Terry Smith then recovered well to make a one-handed save to keep the match level.

Burns did well on 16 minutes to get a shot away, when he had a couple of Marine players holding him.

The former Mariner got his shot away from an acute angle, but it went over the bar.

As the half wore on Burns tested Cooper as Iain Howard played a free kick to him but the former Witton keeper was able to save it.

Nantwich took the lead on 45 minutes when a corner was cleared only as far as Pearson, who played it to Howard.

The winger’s cross found an unmarked Burns inside the six yard box, who expertly flicked it beyond the reach of Cooper.

Buoyed by the goal Nicky Platt could have made it 2-0 almost immediately when he had a free header, but from a long way out it was an easy catch for Cooper.

Karl Clair had the first chance of the second half from a free kick, which was well cleared by Andy White.

Terry Smith scrambled across goal to turn a Lloyd Ellams shot around the post one-handed.

Nantwich’s first real chance of the second half fell to Burns as he ran on to a long ball from Smith, headed on by Howard, but his shot was wide.

Marine looked the more attacking side in the second half but they were unable to get past the Nantwich defence.

The Dabbers looked threatening through crosses from Howard and White as they linked up well time and time again.

Burns could have made it 2-0 on 67 minutes when Platt played him in, but his shot hit the stanchion behind the goal.

Dowling could have got his first goal for the Dabbers on 70 minutes as he was played in by Platt, but the right back’s shot went just wide.

Platt was next chance to try his luck at goal, but it was wide of Cooper’s goal as Nantwich pressed to kill the game off.

With 10 minutes to go Marine mustered their final effort of the game. Codling had a shot from outside the area, which bounced just in front of Smith, but it was out for a goal kick.

From then on the hosts piled on the pressure, but the Nantwich Town defence were in fine form, denying any clear opportunities for the Mariners.

The win  gave Nantwich their second league double of the season, with the win over Ramsbottom United just two days before the first completed.

Nantwich moved up to 17th in league table, they next play Workington AFC on Saturday 10 January at the Weaver Stadium, kick off 3pm.

Steve Jones travelled with the squad to Marine and is expecting to have recovered from an ankle injury to be available for selection.

Nantwich Town: Smith, Dowling, White, Pearson, A.Jones, Harrison, Platt, M.Jones (C), Burns, Winslade and Howard.
Subs: Kosylo (On for Winslade , 80 minutes), Clayton (On for Platt, 91 minutes), Harrop, Blake and Bailey.

(pic by Simon J Newbury Photography)

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