Second-half - third Nantwich goal - debut Nantwich Town goal for Ricardo Fuller

Former Stoke City favourite Ricardo Fuller bagged his first Nantwich Town goal as he helped them to a vital victory over Stalybridge.

The Dabbers’ 4-2 win tightened their hold on a play-off place and maintained their outside chance of the automatic promotion spot.

It was a game packed with incident, with Fuller scoring with almost his first touch as he came off the subs’ bench to make it 3-1 as Stalybridge threatened a comeback.

The visitors had taken a first half lead at the Weaver Stadium in an even game affected by strong winds sweeping across the Cheshire plain.

The goal was controversial as what looked to be a high challenge left Nantwich skipper Matt Bell on the deck in the build up.

Nothing was given by the referee and the visitors took advantage as Kengni broke clear of the defence and fired home passed Will Jaaskelainen.

First-half - first Stalybridge goal - controversial goal from Neil Kengni (No.9) as Matt Bell floored with a head injury (1)

Jamie Morgan was also yellow carded after remonstrating with the officials over the goal.

But Dave Cooke’s men showed true fighting spirit after the break and came storming back.

Malkin twice went close only to be denied by the Stalybridge keeper, before Morgan was then decked in the box on 54 minutes, earning a deserved penalty.

Toby Mullarkey slotted the spot-kick in to the bottom left corner to level the scores.

Momentum was with the hosts and they were ahead just a minute later.

Joe Mwasile powered forward and his shot was deflected into the path of Malkin who headed home into the bottom corner.

Fuller was brought on after 68 minutes and two minutes later he scored with his first touch.

The Jamaican legend latched on to a superb cross from Walsh before slotted coolly past the Stalybridge stopper to the delight of more than 400 supporters.

Second-half - second Nantwich goal - Joe Malkin heads home into the bottom corner (1)

Jaaskelainen then made a fine stop to prevent Glenn Rule’s effort floating over him, before the visitors hit back on 80 minutes to make it 3-2.

A weak header back from Joel Stair towards his keeper was intercepted by substitute Cockerline and he fired into an empty net.

Stalybridge then should have made it 3-3 when Kengni was given too much time on the edge of the box and drilled an effort against the left hand post.

The drama wasn’t over as Nantwich finally secured all three points on 88 minutes.

Fuller played in Mwasile on the right who delivered a low cross into the box for Malkin to direct into the back of the net.

Man of the match Malkin nearly added another on 90 minutes when Fuller crossed but his header inside the six yard box cannoned off the base of the post.

Nantwich remain in fourth place in Evo-Stik Premier League, 10 points clear in the play offs, and eight points behind leaders Warrington Town.

(All images courtesy of Jonathan White)

Second-half - second Nantwich goal - Joe Malkin heads home into the bottom corner and celebrates with Callum Saunders (1)

Second-half - fourth Nantwich goal - a second goal for Joe Malkin (1)

First-half - Toby Mullarkey challenges for the ball (1)

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