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Nantwich Town remain perilously close to the Evo-Stik Premier League relegation zone after a home defeat by Rushall Olympic, writes Richard Scott.

A long shot by Aaron Williams in the 41st minute was enough for the visitors at the Weaver Stadium.

Nantwich substitute Elliot Osborne’s sensational strike was denied by the woodwork.

And Matthew Kosylo saw a late wonder effort saved by Ryan Price as the Dabbers missed out on a share of the points.

The pre-match talk focused on 25-goal-man Liam Shotton, who joined from Leek Town midweek.

Jonathan Moran, who joined the Dabbers on a Youth Loan from League One neighbours Crewe Alexandra, was also in Phil Parkinson’s squad.

Andy White had Nantwich’s first effort, shooting just wide early on.

Sean Cooke’s sweet shot from just outside the area flew wide on 10 minutes as Nantwich hit their stride.

Shotton could have opened his Nantwich account on 20 minutes when Steve Jones squared it to the forward, but the angle was tight and he put it over.

Cooke was next to go close when on 27 minutes Kosylo was pushed over just outside the area. Cooke swung it low but with Price scrambling to his near post it went just wide.

Rushall’s first clear-cut chance was when Heath turned in the box on 31 minutes, but his shot was over the bar.

Shotton continued to threaten with the new man going close on a couple of occasions.

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A free-kick rebounded to Steve Jones, who fired his shot millimetres from the top corner.

But Rushall took the lead on 41 minutes against the run of play.

Williams smashed a shot in off the post from 35 yards out, with what looked like a deflection leaving Smith wrong-footed.

Smith was on hand at the start of the second half when he made a wonder save from point blank range from Williams.

And the Dabbers keeper saved well two minutes later when Austin hit a shot from distance.

Jones could have equalised when neat play from Nicky Platt found him, but the forward’s effort was tame.

Austin could have doubled the lead when he broke through, but his shot was wide.

Nantwich should have levelled from a goalmouth scramble, which was cleared off the line at least three times.

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Cooke’s dipping effort was well saved by Price before Nantwich had a penalty shout on 69 minutes, when Ben Harrison was brought down in the area. The referee waved appeals away.

Price had to make a save one-on-one with 16 minutes to go when a through ball found Jones who was thwarted by the Rushall stopper.

Parkinson brought PJ Hudson on for Mark Jones, with Cooke taking over the armband with 11 minutes to go.

The stand-in skipper almost made it 1-1 when a short corner found him in the area, but he lashed his shot straight at Price.

Then sub Osborne picked up the ball up wide right, and smashed the ball across the front of the goal and it ricocheted off the bar.

Kosylo hit a dipping effort from a similar area, which forced Price to fling himself to his left and tip it over.

Nantwich had two headers cleared off the line and had two corners in the final minute, but they couldn’t beat Price in the goal.

Nantwich welcome bottom-of-the-table Belper Town to the Weaver Stadium next weekend.

Nantwich Town: Smith, Moyo, White, Moran, Harrison, M.Jones, S.Jones, Platt, Shotton, Cooke and Kosylo. Subs: Osborne (On for Platt), Hudson (On for Mark Jones, 79 minutes), Clayton, Winslade and Dowling (On for Moyo, 31 minutes).

(Pics by Simon J Newbury)

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