final - Extra-time - Fourth Nantwich goal and winner from Steve Jones

Nantwich Town reached their second successive Cheshire Senior Cup final after a dramatic semi-final victory over Stalybridge Celtic.

The Dabbers and their Evo-Stik Premier Division rivals locked horns over 120 minutes at the Weaver Stadium last night (April 16).

And it was veteran Steve Jones who proved the difference, the former Crewe Alex man sliding home an extra-time winner to earn Nantwich a 4-3 win.

It sets up a final with Stockport Town, giving Nantwich a chance to win the cup which they narrowly lost out on last season in the final against Crewe Alex.

The semi-final was worthy of the final itself, with both teams going all out for victory.

But it wasn’t until the 37th minute when Nantwich finally broke the deadlock, Jones picking up a Joe Mwasile pass before tucking it neatly passed the keeper to give the Dabbers the lead.

It remained 1-0 at the break, and the 200 supporters were not prepared for the five goals that were to come in a 25-minute spell in the second half.

First Nantwich goal - Steve Jones tucks it home
First Nantwich goal – Steve Jones tucks it home

Nantwich doubled their advantage on 54 minutes thanks to a Joel Stair header who was picked out by Mwasile’s excellent cross.

But the visitors replied within three minutes when Jake Charles was first to a loose ball in the box and poked it past Myles Boney.

And Stalybridge were level on 61 minutes when Charles grabbed his second with a neat header from a Hughes cross.

Nantwich had to sustain some pressure from the visitors with their tails up, but hit back to retake the lead on 71 minutes.

Harry Clayton picked up the ball, beat a couple of defenders and fired a fine finish into the bottom corner leaving the keeper helpless.

Harry Clayton blasts it home
Harry Clayton fires home

But again Nantwich could not hold on to their lead for long, and just eight minutes later Matthew Wolfenden capitalised on keeper Boney’s error in the box to prod home the leveller for 3-3.

Both teams pressed but it remained all square on 90 minutes.

Just five minutes into extra time, and Jones popped up for the crucial winner when Toby Mullarkey played him behind the defence and he used all his experience to coolly slot home for 4-3.

Stalybridge did not let up, and had several shots and mounted attack after attack but the Dabbers defence stood firm this time to secure a fine cup victory.

(Pics courtesy of Jonathan White)

Stalybridge Celtic head the ball clear

Second Nantwich goal - Joel Stair heads in
Second Nantwich goal – Joel Stair heads in
Final whistle - Manager Dave Cooke punches the air in celebration
Final whistle – Manager Dave Cooke punches the air in celebration

Final whistle - Manager Dave Cooke applauds the Dabbers fans

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