Widnes - CALLUM SAUNDERS v Lancaster

Nantwich Town blew North Ferriby United away with a brilliant 4-1 win to close the gap on Scarborough’s lead at the top of the table to two points, writes Ryan Batty.

Callum Saunders (pictured) gave the Dabbers the lead after 12 minutes, while Danny Glover converted a penalty soon after.

Joel Stair added a third after half-an-hour, though Ferriby netted a moment later, giving them a glimmer of hope.

However, Glover rounded off the performance on the 73 minute mark, capping off a lovely team move.

Manager Dave Cooke made four changes from the side that lost to Matlock last week.

Callum Saunders, Danny Glover, Troy Bourne and Nathan Cotterell all returned to the side, while Jake Phillips, Joe Mwasile came to the bench, and Steve Jones and Craig Lindfield absent from the squad.

The Dabbers had the first change of the game after three minutes, a neat move between Saunders and James Lawrie saw the former’s header saved by keeper Lewis Exall.

Lawrie could have scored himself a moment later, as Toby Mullarkey’s excellent driving run from defence saw him put it low for the midfielder, who got a clean strike away, though he was unfortunate to narrowly miss the post.

However, it wouldn’t take long for the visitors to grab their first, as a tremendous effort from Jamie Morgan saw the full-back get round his man, putting a left-footed cross into the box that Callum Saunders slid home for the first goal of the afternoon.

The goalscorer could have had a second moments later, as he was played through on goal, his shot only stopped by Exall’s well-saved effort.

After 21 minutes, Nantwich won a penalty as Saunders was taken down in the box. Glover stepped up, smashing it into the left of the net, sending the keeper the wrong way in the process.

It was all Nantwich in the first 25 minutes, and they could have had a third as Cotterell’s excellent run found Sean Cooke, whose curling effort was only just saved by Exall.

The first chance for the Villagers came moments later, as a neat bit of possession saw the play in an attacker, though he was flagged for offside. Following this, the home support began to liven up and get back into the game.

Despite this, it would be a third for Nantwich, as, after 33 minutes, Sean Cooke’s effort smacked into a defender, deflecting it to Joel Stair, and the skipper was able to thump it home, a real striker’s effort.

North Ferriby grabbed one back mere minutes later, as poor defending from Nantwich from a corner saw Tom Waudby put it past Fabian Spiess.

That would be the last action of the first half, as the Dabbers went into the dressing room with a comfortable lead.

At the break, there was a change for either side, as Callum Saunders came off for Joe Malkin for Nantwich, while the hosts replaced Lance Moyo with Jack Mail.

Danny Glover and Nathan Cotterell both had chances after the second half got underway, but neither man was able to add to the Dabbers’ lead.

Stair and Matt Bell were put in the book after a few handbags were thrown halfway in the Villagers’ half, before a Nantwich free-kick saw Bell swing it in to Mullarkey, whose header was saved well by Exall.

There was a brief interval in the second half as the floodlights cut out.

The game restarted with 20 minutes to go, and Danny Glover had a chance to slot home, but a deflection to Stair saw the captain put one just past the top corner.

However, the fourth goal wasn’t too far away, as after seventy-three minutes, Jamie Morgan and Sean Cooke linked up, with the latter looking like he would find the net, though he selflessly squared it to Glover, who only had to tap home for the final goal of the afternoon.

Joe Malkin came close to adding a fifth on two occasions, but the young striker was incredibly unfortunate not to grab his first Dabbers goal.

Cooke again could have found the net, as he hit a thunderous effort from distance that was saved by Exall, but the keeper had to throw the ball down to stop him walking it back across the goalline.

With five minutes remaining, a mishap at the back allowed Ferriby in, but their effort smacked off the crossbar.

With just a minute left of regulation, Fabian Spiess rushed out to win a header, though a Villagers striker went up to attempt to win it. A dangerous collision between the two men left North Ferriby with a free-kick that hit the wall and went high over the bar.

Despite eight minutes of injury time, there was no other clear-cut chances as Nantwich move within a win of the top spot before they make the trip to Bamber Bridge next weekend.

Nantwich: Spiess, Morgan, Cotterell, Stair (C), Mullarkey, Bourne, Lawrie, Bell, Glover (McDonald 90+6′), Cooke, Saunders (Malkin 45′). Subs not used: Phillips, Hawkins (GK), Mwasile

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