First-half - first Nantwich Town goal via a penalty from Sean Cooke

Nantwich Town showed superb resilience to come from behind and beat a strong Hyde United team at Ewen Fields, writes Ryan Batty.

The win ensures Nantwich will sit be top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division at Christmas.

Manager Cooke made two changes to the side that drew with South Shields as Danny Glover and Callum Saunders started on the bench.

Joe Malkin and Caspar Hughes returned to start, the latter making his first start after an extended period on the sidelines with injury.

Nantwich began strongly, Sean Cooke earning an early free-kick after two minutes that saw a floated cross go over the head of Joe Malkin.

Hyde were quick to establish themselves, having a chance soon after that was scuffed by Janni Lipka.

After 13 minutes, Jamie Morgan and Joe Mwasile linked up that saw the full-back’s effort narrowly miss the near post.

Hyde took the lead after 19 minutes, slightly against the run of play.

First-half - first Nantwich Town goal - Sean Cooke celebrates

The ball was crossed towards the back post by Connor Simpson, and Grant Roberts was on-hand to head over Will Jaaskelainen and into the roof of the net.

The Dabbers recovered well and had a number of chances towards the Hyde goal.

Sean Cooke picked up the ball on the left side of the 18-yard box and a trip saw referee Mr Jamie Rhodes point to the spot for a Nantwich penalty.

Cooke stepped up and smashed it to the left of the net, sending Crook the wrong way and ensuring the two sides went into the break on level terms.

After the break, Tom Pratt was played through, though the Dabbers were able to deal well with the chance.

Morgan should have scored soon after as his dipped effort from outside the box looked to be going in, but a phenomenal save from Crook prevented Hyde going behind.

Second-half - Second Nantwich Town goal

Malkin could have scored a moment later as Morgan’s cross found the young striker, but his header was just over.

Nantwich would not have to wait long for the winner as Cooke bent one in from the far side.

It took a deflection, Jordan Fagbola turning it in to put the men in yellow in the lead.

Malkin may have added a third with 25 minutes to go, as he bundled home Morgan’s cross, but the assistant flagged for offside.

Cooke had chances to add a third to his tally, none more clear than when a low ball into the area saw his shot smack off the post.

A scuffle developed a moment later between Fagbola and Bell that saw both players in the book.

With a few minutes remaining, Malkin had an effort from distance that looked to be going over, but the shot dipped and was extremely close.

Nantwich claimed all three points to secure their top-of-the-table position for Christmas Day, an early present for fans who made the trip to Hyde.

The Dabbers host Basford United in Evo-Stik Premier Division action, for a 3pm kick-off.

It is also Christmas Jumper Day, with prizes for the best jumpers, as well as Christmas Hampers being up for grabs thanks to the NTISA.

Nantwich Town: Jaaskelainen, Morgan, Barnes, Stair, Mullarkey, Bell, Mwasile (Saunders 85′), Hughes (C) (Cotterell 81′), Malkin, Cooke, Lawrie. Subs not used: Bourne, Jones

(pics by Jonathan White)

Second-half - Joe Malkin goal is disallowed for off-side

Second-half - Joe Malkin wins the header

Second-half - Hyde United clear the ball

First-half - Caspar Hughes challenges for the ball

Full-time - Nantwich Town Manager Dave Cooke celebrates the victory and top of the table at Christmas

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