Third and winning Nantwich Town goal - Steve Jones celebrates (1)

A Steve Jones header inside the final minute saw Nantwich Town earn a last-gasp 3-2 win over Marine AFC, writes James Brown.

The Dabbers went 2-0 in the first half, but Marine hit back to level before veteran Jones pounced for a dramatic late winner.

Will Jaaskelainen was in goal for his first appearance since returning to Nantwich on loan from Crewe Alexandra, and he was called in to action early on.

But it was the Dabbers who took the lead after three minutes when Sean Cooke caught Marine keeper Patrick Wharton off his line with a spectacular half volley from 30 yards out.

Despite Marine looking for a swift reply, they were quickly 2-0 down on seven minutes when another blistering attack caught the visitors cold.

Cooke’s ball out to Nathan Cotterell on the left was then crossed towards the back post and met with a bullet header from Joe Mwasile.

Second Nantwich Town goal - Joe Mwasile heads it home v Marine (1)

Second Nantwich Town goal by Joe Mwasile

Both sides had chances to add to the scoreline before half-time, with Chris Sang testing Jaaskelainen before Mwasile and Danny Glover were denied by Wharton to keep the Dabbers lead at two.

After the break, Marine came out firing and pulled a goal back after 66 minutes when substitute James Murray turned home a Sang cross after he looked to have fouled Joel Stair.

And a few minutes later the visitors found themselves level, leaving the Dabbers shell-shocked.

Poor communication at the back allowed Steven Irwin to get on the end of a cross and head past the outstretched arm of Jaaskelainen.

The final 20 minutes was very much end-to-end football with shots going in left, right and centre.

Louis Barnes fizzed a well struck effort over the bar while Marine substitutes Murray and John Marsden were causing the Nantwich defence plenty of problems.

Then as the game entered added time came the defining moment of the game.

Sean Cooke shot at goal v Marine (1)

Sean Cooke shot at goal

A lung-busting run from Toby Mullarkey beat three Marine players before playing in Dabbers substitute Joe Malkin on the left by-line.

Malkin delivered a pinpoint cross which found Jones who headed past a helpless Wharton just 10 minutes after coming on as substitute.

An important win for Nantwich who go three unbeaten and with Scarborough’s defeat, they have closed the gap at the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division to just a single point with a trip to Whitby Town next up on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Nantwich Town: Will Jaaskelainen, Jamie Morgan, Louis Barnes, Joel Stair (c), Toby Mullarkey, Matt Bell, Joe Mwasile (Callum Saunders 87’), James Lawrie, Danny Glover (Joe Malkin 66’), Sean Cooke, Nathan Cotterell (Steve Jones 78’). Subs not used: James Hawkins (GK), Troy Bourne

(pics by Jonathan White)

Third and winning Nantwich Town goal - Steve Jones celebrates with teammates (1)

Third and winning Nantwich Town goal – Steve Jones celebrates with teammates

James Lawrie wins the header (1)

Danny Glover heads the ball clear (1)

Crewe Alex loanee keeper Will Jaaskelainen eyes the ball (1)

James Lawrie shot at goal (2) (1)

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