Andy Pearson

Nantwich Town were knocked out of the Cheshire Senior Cup as League Two Tranmere Rovers won 5-1 at the Weaver Stadium.

Manager Danny Johnson was left with defensive problems when Andy Pearson (pictured) leaving for Hyde FC just hours before kick off.

Mat Bailey remains sidelined through injury, and Ben Harrison was cup-tied.

Adam Jones was the only recognised centre-back to start for the Dabbers.

Andy White made his 100th appearance in a Nantwich Town shirt.

The hosts were straight out the blocks as Steve Jones broke clear but hit his shot just wide of Luke Pilling’s goal from 20 yards.

From the goal kick, former Plymouth and Rochdale man George Donnelly beat Terry Smith to put Tranmere into an early lead.

Steve Jones had plenty of joy on the right hand flank getting in numerous crosses, but Tranmere’s defence were able to see them out.

And while Nantwich were temporarily down to 10 men as Adam Jones was being treated off the pitch, Tranmere grabbed a second.

Jake Kirby rattled in a shot from 20 yards, giving Smith no chance.

Mark Winslade replaced Adam Jones, leaving Nantwich with no out-and-out centre backs on the field.

Right back Shaun Dowling moved into the centre of defence, winger Harry Clayton dropped to right back.

Moments later and Tranmere had a third as Lewis Moynes cut into the area and beat Smith to put Rovers out of sight.

The Dabbers didn’t give up and continued to press.

Winslade had the best chance but was off balance and his 12-yard shot went wide.

Ten minutes before the break Harrop forced Pilling into a fine save as Nantwich continued to threaten.

The elusive goal could have arrived on 39 minutes as captain Mark Jones had a shot spilled by the Rovers keeper.

The ball fell to Aaron Burns, but the Dabbers leading scorer couldn’t convert as Pilling made a fine double save.

With snow swirling around the Weaver Stadium, the second half kicked off with both keepers having to make fine saves from Kirby and Burns respectively.

Tranmere made it 4-0 when Richards broke through from a lofted pass and beat the on rushing Smith.

Burns and Matty Kosylo linked up well, with Kosylo having the shot but it spun just wide of the goal.

Moments later Nantwich scored a deserved consolation.

Steve Jones’ corner found his namesake Mark, and the Dabbers’ captain headed home.

But Tranmere crushed any comeback when Richards scored his second when he was played through on goal, again easily beating Smith.

Max Harrop played the pass of the season as he split the Tranmere defence with minutes to play, but the ball bobbled as Winslade struck it and Pilling was able to palm away.

White could have marked his 100th game with a goal but hit a shot from 35 yards over the bar.

Nantwich make a trip to Stalybridge Celtic’s Bower Fold to face FC United of Manchester on Sunday January 18. Kick off 3pm.

Nantwich Town: Smith, Dowling, White, Blake, A.Jones, M.Jones (C), Clayton, Platt, Burns, S.Jones and Harrop. Subs: Winslade (on for A.Jones), Kosylo (on for Blake), Green (on for Platt), Howard and Bailey.

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