Stafford sending off - Goalkeeper Dave Parton, signed for Nantwich Town

Nantwich Town started 2017 with a 1-0 defeat at home to Stafford Rangers.

A defensive error allowed Izak Reid to score the only goal after 34 minutes, before Nantwich keeper Dave Parton was sent off.

The club’s groundsmen worked miracles to get the game on despite the frost.

Phil Parkinson made three changes from the Boxing Day defeat at Workington.

Ben Harrison, Theo Stair and Oliver Finney returned, with Joel Stair, Osebi Abadaki and Wayne Riley making way.

The Dabbers started the game well, with Joe Mwasile dragging an early shot wide.

Stafford hit back as Perry got in behind the Dabbers defence, but his cross couldn’t find a team mate and Parton gathered.

Matt Bell side-footed at Stafford keeper Adam Whitehouse as both teams struggled to create clear chances.

At the other end, Finney did well to get a cross into the box, but Brooke couldn’t get clean contact on the ball and it went straight at Whitehouse.

Brooke then had a shot blocked inside the six-yard box after Mwasile found him on the left.

The the visitors grabbed the lead when Sam Hall played a ball across his own box and Izak Reid got in ahead of Ben Harrison and calmly beat Parton.

Parton had to be alert to save two long range shots, with Rangers also forcing a number of corners.

The Dabbers started the 2nd half on the front foot.

Theo Stair went close as Whitehouse tipped his goal-bound shot wide of the post.

Just before the hour mark, Parkinson made his second change, bringing on Josh Hancock for Mwasile.

Brooke went into the book for a late foul on James Bowen.

Stafford were starting to hit on the counter, with Gordon forcing Parton into a smart save down low.

With just over 20 minutes to go, the Dabbers came within inches of levelling the score.

Bell picked up the ball and from 25 yards out, he hit a fizzing shot on goal which cannoned off the inside of the woodwork.

With 15 minutes to go, Nantwich’s task was made harder when keeper Parton was sent off.

He raced out of his goal to clear a long ball and it hit his midriff.

The ref adjudged it as handling outside the box, denying Gordon a clear goalscoring opportunity, and Parton was red-carded.

Curtis Jones had to don the gloves and go in goal, and he made a good save from one shot.

The Dabbers found it difficult to create chances, with Stafford sitting back and soaking up the pressure.

On 87 minutes, a corner was floated to the back post and after a scramble, the ball didn’t cross the line and the chance went begging.

The final chance for the Dabbers came when a late free kick from the left was blazed over by Hancock.

Nantwich Town: Dave Parton, Andy White, Ibou Touray, Curtis Jones, Ben Harrison, Sam Hall(c), Joe Mwasile (Josh Hancock, 58), Matt Bell, Ryan Brooke, Oliver Finney (Osebi Abadaki, 65), Theo Stair (Steve Jones, 52). Subs not used: Wayne Riley, Joel Stair.

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