Joe Malkin winner against Matlock - scored two goals (1)

Joe Malkin’s sixth league of the season was the difference as Nantwich Town recorded a hard fought 1-0 win over Matlock Town in Derbyshire, writes Steve Sharman.

Malkin pounced in the six-yard box after Joe Mwasile was tripped following a fine driving run, with referee Ian Johnston happy to give the visitors the advantage allowing the striker to fire home.

Manager Dave Cooke picked from a fully fit squad ahead of the game, with new signing Ricardo Fuller on the bench and Malkin leading the line alongside Callum Saunders.

On a difficult pitch, both teams struggled to gain control as Malkin was inches away from converting Saunders’ cross after good work down the right hand side from the former Crewe man.

The Dabbers enjoyed success down the right and it was Jamie Morgan’s turn to beat his man as he cut the ball back to Malkin in the box, but the forward was unable to direct his effort on target.

Malkin did manage to fire his next effort on target but was denied by a fine fingertip save from Matlock keeper Ross Durrant following Sean Cooke’s fine through ball.

Despite having a fair amount of the ball, the hosts were unable to test Will Jaaskelainen with the visiting defence dealing with plenty of crosses and long throw ins.

Durrant was the busier goalkeeper and he was called into action again as he palmed away Toby Mullarkey’s long range effort around the post, before gathering Saunders’ flicked header from the corner.

At the other end Dwayne Wiley headed wide when well placed from Craig King’s corner, before Jamie Jackson was inches away from converting Michael Williams’ dangerous right wing cross.

The second period followed a similar pattern, and a combination of Joel Stair and Matt Bell were able to deal with a dangerous low ball from Craig Westcarr, after the forward had found space in the Dabbers box.

Bell then saw his controlled volley saved by Durrant moments later after Mullarkey had set the midfielder up heading Cooke’s corner to his team mate on the edge of the box.

As per the first half, Durrant was the busier keeper and he saved well from Malkin after the striker’s neat footwork allowed him a shot on goal, before the Gladiator’s stopper was alert to palm away Louis Barnes’ deflected cross that was heading for the net.

From the corner, the Dabbers worked the ball well down the left before finding Mullarkey on the edge of the box, with the defender’s effort flying inches over the crossbar.

The Dabbers’ second half pressure eventually paid off following neat play from Cooke and Mwasile, the latter looked set to pull the trigger but was tripped inside the six-yard box.

Referee Johnston played an excellent advantage allowing Malkin to fire the loose ball home from close range, to the delight of the travelling support behind the goal.

It was the last action for the young striker as he was replaced by Fuller who was given his first taste of football for the Dabbers as Matlock looked to try and find an equaliser.

Westcarr had a goalbound effort blocked by Stair before Jackson fired wide after Durrant’s long kick forward.

They turned out to be the final efforts from the hosts who were unable to register a single effort on target in the game as the Dabbers saw out the five additional minutes and registered their first league victory of 2019.

The Dabbers are back in a action next Saturday at home as they welcome Bamber Bridge to the Weaver Stadium with a 3pm kick off.

Nantwich Town: Jaaskelainen, Morgan, Barnes, Stair, Mullarkey, Hughes, Lawrie, Bell, Malkin (Fuller 75′), Cooke, Saunders (Mwasile 58′). Subs not used: Bourne, Cotterell, Glover.

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