Nantwich Town 1-1 Salford City 05.01.2016 9

Nantwich Town earned a credible 1-1 draw with fellow promotion hopefuls Salford City, writes Richard Scott.

And visiting coach Paul Scholes will have been impressed by the Dabbers as well as his own side at the Weaver Stadium.

More than 750 fans roared on the teams in a match which was a great advert for non-league football.

Matt Bell put the Dabbers in front on the half hour mark.

However, just after the interval, Salford levelled and despite both teams having chances to win, a draw was a fair result.

Nantwich manager Phil Parkinson recalled keeper Terry Smith, while Darren Thornton returned as captain in the absence of the injured Sam Hall.

Nantwich defenders had to be at the top of their game with Salford frontmen Gareth Seddon and James Poole proving a handful.

However, Andy White went close for the Dabbers on 13 minutes with a powerful strike which flew wide.

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Nantwich also went close through a Josh Hancock header.

But Salford looked dangerous in attack with Seddon and Poole both testing Smith in goal.

The deadlock was broken on the half hour mark.

Matty Kosylo won the ball and sprayed the ball out to Thornton, who pulled the ball back to Bell, who placed the ball past Lynch for a fine finish.

Shotton have half chances to add to the lead, while Seddon continued to threaten for the visitors.

Hancock could have made it 2-0 in first half injury time.

He hit Lynch’s clearance goal bound but Salford’s other Lynch, defender Chris, cleared it off the line.

Hancock’s pile-driver was well saved early in the second half.

Then on 48 minutes, Salford were level when Thornton’s clearance bounced in the area and Gary Stopforth fired the ball into the corner of the goal.

It saw the momentum swing Salford’s way as they pressed for a winner.

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Nantwich regrouped and had chances of their own, with Kosylo and White going close.

On the hour mark, Shotton was brought off for Bailey and the big centre-half was moved up front.

His height and physical presence created problems for Salford.

On 66 minutes, Bell could have been the Dabbers hero as he looked to restore Nantwich’s lead, but two efforts were blocked.

Harrison slipped on 72 minutes which allowed Seddon in, but Jon Moran was able to stay big and nicked the ball off the striker.

In an end-to-end final quarter, both sides came close but defences stood strong.

Poole had an effort well saved by Smith, then Cooke shot from just outside the area which was deflected over.

Osborne, who had a strong game in midfield for Nantwich, kept the hosts ticking over.

In the last five minutes, Seddon was thwarted by two excellent pieces of defensive play by Nantwich.

First Smith dived full length to tip his darting effort out for a corner.

Then Johnston played in Seddon between Moran and Harrison, who chased and slid in to win the ball and clear the danger.

Neither side could find the winner, which means Nantwich stay second in Evo-Stik Premier League, just two points behind Blyth Spartans, and level with Salford.

Nantwich Town: Smith, White, Thornton (c), Moran, Harrison, Osborne, Kosylo, Shotton, Hancock and Short. Subs: Cooke (on for Short), Burzynski, Bailey (on for Shotton), Jones (on for Kosylo) and Gordon.

(pics by Simon J Newbury Photography)

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