SEAN COOKE and LUKE WALSH - Nantwich Town v Grantham FA Cup

Nantwich Town have progressed into the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup after a comfortable 3-1 victory over Grantham Town, writes Liam Price.

Sean Cooke gave the Dabbers the lead in the first half with a sweeping finish after nice play on the left-hand side, before Craig Westcarr equalised just before half time.

In the second half, debutant Valdemar Schousboe made a huge impact, playing an important role in the goal that gave the Dabbers the lead again, eventually powered in by Ben Harrison.

Then Schousboe himself got on the scoresheet, getting the ball just inside the penalty area and finishing confidently.

Cooke missed a late penalty but the Dabbers place in the next round was already secured.

An entertaining first half saw some good football from both sides but Nantwich could argue they had the better of it.

In the first five minutes, there was a good passage of play from the Dabbers, recycling possession well and working the ball into a position to cross, Walsh’s ball was blocked away.

A couple of minutes later came the first real chance for the Dabbers.

The ball was fizzed in to Joe Malkin with his back to goal, he was able to quickly turn and shoot but saw his shot saved by the trailing foot of Grantham keeper Tom Nicholson who was moving in the other direction.

Then the visitors created their first half chances. Striker Craig Westcarr was often drfting into the channels and received the ball on the left, his shot had the pace taken off it from a deflection and was saved easily by Greg Hall.

The direct passing of midfielder James Baxendale caused some problems for the Dabbers, and another chance came from a Baxendale pass, he played in Rodrigo Goncales who was well challenged by Joe Davis.

JOSH LANGLEY - Nantwich v Grantham in FA Cup

Grantham captain Danny Racchi was well placed to head away a dangerous Sean Cooke cross, with Joe Mwasile lurking with what would have been a free header.

The Dabbers’ breakthrough came just after 20 minutes, a brilliant passing move on the left saw Luke Walsh and Mwasile trade passes to open up the Grantham defence, Mwasile cut the ball back from the left byline for Sean Cooke to sweep in the opener with his left foot, a great team goal.

Grantham almost equalised in bizarre circumstances. What looked a definite cross from Goncales spun and looped in the wind and bounced off the top of the crossbar, with Hall stranded.

The visitors did find an equaliser eight minutes before half time.

The ball bounced off the heel of a Dabbers defender and came to Westcarr, who buried the opportunity and levelled the score before the break.

After the restart, nothing really changed until substitution just before the hour mark. Danish striker Valdemar Schousboe was brought on for his debut for Joe Malkin.

The big Dane made an instant impact, he could have scored two minutes after coming on but his hot was blocked.

An imposing presence that Gratham never got to grips with, Schousboe was instrumental in the Dabbers retaking the lead.

A free kick won on the left by Walsh after one of many mazy runs was sliced back out to Cooke by Schousboe who looked more likely to score.

The ball was kept alive and came out to Ben Harrison who had stayed up and he fired into the roof of the net.

Schousboe then got onto the scoresheet himself just over ten minutes later.

He was found in space in the box and finished confidently into the bottom left corner in front of a rapturous home support.

The sub could have conceivably had a debut hat-trick, another dominant aerial battle was won by the Dane, and his powerful shot was saved brilliantly by Nicholson.

Just before the end, the big man was involved again, winning a penalty after being hacked down.

Man of the Match Cooke fired the penalty over but luckily the result was never in doubt.

The Dabbers go into the hat for the 2nd Qualifying Round draw which takes place this Monday.

Nantwich Town: Greg Hall, Joe Davis, Matty Devine, Ben Harrison, Josh Langley, Caspar Hughes (C) (David Webb 87′), Joe Mwasile (Will Saxon 68′), James Lawrie, Joe Malkin (Valdemar Schousboe 58′), Sean Cooke, Luke Walsh. Subs not used: Troy Bourne, Clayton McDonald, Matt Bell, Joel Stair

(Photos courtesy of Mark Welton)

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