First-half - Nantwich Town goal - Sean Cooke celebrates his penalty (1)

Nantwich Town were held to a 1-1 draw by a battling Grantham Town side despite taking the lead on a frustrating afternoon at The Weaver Stadium, writes James Brown.

Sean Cooke put an off-colour Dabbers in front from the penalty spot in first half stoppage time after Joe Malkin had been brought down in the box by Chris Dawson.

A Grantham side desperate for points at the wrong end of the table leveled just after the hour, as Shane Benjamin turned home a rebound after Callum Coyle had forced new Dabbers keeper Lloyd Allinson into a save.

In a first half which lacked clear-cut chances for either side, Nantwich could have taken an early lead after Jamie Morgan created a great opening, bursting into the box to latch onto a Glover pass however his shot was straight at Grantham keeper Sam Andrew.

FC United loanee Allinson had his first taste of action ten minutes in when Dawson fired towards goal following a short corner routine however it was easily claimed.

The Dabbers had a penalty shout waved away on the half hour mark when Glover seemed to be pushed in the back by Kern Miller.

Benjamin, who signed for Grantham on loan from Hednesford Town on Friday, was using his strength to provide a threat and found himself with a clear sight of goal soon after but Troy Bourne threw in a tremendous block to keep the game goalless.

A second penalty shout brought the opening goal.

Glover used excellent skill to get past a couple of Grantham defenders before Malkin’s touch took him ahead of Dawson who tripped the striker from behind and received a yellow card.

First-half - Nantwich Town goal - penalty from Sean Cooke (1)

Cooke made no mistake, ending the Dabbers’ poor run of missed spot kicks.

Nantwich came so close to getting an all important second goal six minutes after the restart when Nathan Cotterell beat his man before drilling a low cross into the box and found Malkin who directed it onto the crossbar.

That miss almost immediately came back to haunt the Dabbers as Allinson made a superb one-handed save to tip a Coyle shot over from distance.

Grantham eventually did capitalise on 62 minutes when Benjamin was in the right place to turn in a rebound after the impressive Coyle had created the opportunity.

The Grantham man rounded Cotterell before forcing Allinson to save a shot which was only parried as far as the visitors’ striker.

First-half - Joe Malkin challenges for the ball from Grantham keeper Sam Andrew (1)

The equaliser lifted the tails of the Grantham players as Nantwich began to look nervier in defence.

A large crowd of 587 watched on as Dave Cooke introduced Luke Walsh, Callum Saunders and Steve Jones in the hope of finding a winner with a number of deliveries into the box failing to test Grantham keeper Andrew.

The visitors may well have taken all three points late on when the pacey Jordan Adebayo-Smith was denied by Allinson before substitute Michael Tweed couldn’t latch onto the loose ball and Miller headed the resulting corner over the bar.

A missed opportunity for Nantwich to apply more pressure to those above them in the table however the fight for promotion continues next weekend with a trip to Cumbria and a clash with Workington (3pm kick-off).

Nantwich Town: Lloyd Allinson, Jamie Morgan, Troy Bourne, Joel Stair, Toby Mullarkey, Caspar Hughes (c), Nathan Cotterell (Luke Walsh 66’), Matt Bell, Joe Malkin (Callum Saunders 73’), Sean Cooke, Danny Glover (Steve Jones 86’). Subs not used: James Lawrie, Kallam Boyle

(pics by Jonathan White)

Second-half - Matt Bell challenges for the ball (1)

Second-half - Joe Malkin rises to win the header (1)

First-half - Jamie Morgan shoots at goal (1)

Second-half - Nathan Cotterell controls the ball (1)

Full-time - Man of the Match Troy Bourne leaves the field (1)

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