Joel Stair winner against Witton 2 - by Martyn Wilson

Nantwich Town left it late as they came away with a deserved New Year’s Day victory away at Witton Albion, writes Ryan Batty.

The Dabbers staged a repeat of their Boxing Day win over Stafford Rangers, which also saw two late goals.

This time, Nantwich claimed another three points thanks to late goals from Sean Cooke and Joel Stair (pictured) in the final 10 minutes at Wincham Park.

With a number of players missing, Dave Cooke made two changes from Stafford with Joe Mwasile and Caspar Hughes coming in for Ricardo Fuller and David Webb.

Opponents Witton came into the game having not won in three.

They had the first half chance of the game as Danny Mitchley glanced Isaac Baldwin’s curling cross wide of the near post.

Much of the first period was played in the Witton half and Mwasile had the Dabbers best chance of the game shooting over following good play from Matty Devine.

Mwasile was once again involved as he supplied Cooke with a great chance to score but the midfielder shot wide from 10 yards.

Despite dominating the game, the Dabbers found themselves behind in the 24th minute in confusing circumstances.

Referee Michael Crusham blew for a head injury to Tom Owens, and awarded the home side a drop ball.

It caught the Dabbers out and Mitchley had the chance to fire home from six yards after a cut back from James Foley.

Stair was inches from an equaliser as his header was tipped onto the crossbar by Witton ‘keeper Chris Renshaw following Cooke’s right-wing free kick.

The second half continued with the visitors enjoying most possession but unable to breach a stubborn Albion defence.

Renshaw was the busier of the keepers as he made a fine save to his right denying Cooke’s close range free kick which looked set for the far corner.

Mwasile tested Renshaw as he cut in the left following a fine through ball from Cooke, but the winger’s effort drew a comfortable save.

Cooke was denied a certain goal as his half volley was heading for the top corner but for Adam Anson’s head, with the Witton defender preventing a leveller.

But as the game entered the final ten minutes it was Cooke who finally found the equaliser.

Sean Cooke leveller against Witton - by Martyn Wilson

Sean Cooke leveller against Witton

He brilliantly swept home James Lawrie’s cutback after great work on the left wing from Devine.

The Dabbers were quick to grab the ball in search of a winner with substitute Danny Griggs brought on and he nearly found the net but for a goal line clearance by James Short.

However, Nantwich didn’t have to wait too much longer as Stair arrived at the far post in stoppage time to head Devine’s cross into the net and send the travelling faithful wild.

The hosts had one final chance with Kyle Sambor’s long range volley flashing past the post.

But the Dabbers held on to claim an important three points and claim a rare league double over rivals Witton.

The Dabbers are back in action on Saturday as they make the trip to the Don Amott Arena to take on Mickleover Sports.

Nantwich Town: Hall, Offord, Devine, Davis (Saxon 68’), Langley, Stair, Lawrie, Hughes (c), Malkin, Cooke, Mwasile (Griggs 87’ (Bourne 90’)). Subs not used: Hawkins (GK), Webb

(Images courtesy of Martyn Wilson)

Joel Stair winner against Witton - by Martyn Wilson

Joel Stair celebrates winner

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