v Grantham Second-half - Nantwich goal - Sean Cooke celebrates his goal with teammates (1)v Grantham Second-half - Nantwich goal - Sean Cooke celebrates his goal with teammates (1)

Nantwich Town made it four home wins on the bounce and five games without conceding with a 1-0 win over Grantham Town, writes Liam Price.

The Dabbers went into last night’s bang in form, and looking to continue that at their opponents’ expense.

The game started off well for Grantham as they knew exactly what they needed to do, and only a win would do for them otherwise they would be as good as relegated.

After just three minutes, Lee Shaw for the away side saw his shot go just wide of the Dabbers stand in keeper, Sam Tickle.

Then a huge blow for the home side after just 12 minutes as striker Shaun Miller pulled his hamstring, to be replaced by Connor Heath.

Elliot Durell for the visitors was causing panic in the home side’s defence.

After 16 minutes, he had a chance that thankfully Tickle was able to save.

It was that man again on the half hour mark who had a shot from the edge of the area just wide of Tickle’s far post.

Another chance came before the half time whistle for the Grantham as Thomas Unwin had a header that was just wide from a scramble in the Nantwich box.

In the second half the game came alive.

Second-half - Nantwich goal - Sean Cooke scores for the Dabbers (1)
Second-half – Nantwich goal – Sean Cooke scores for the Dabbers

Grantham looked for that vital opening goal with Shaw forcing a good save from Tickle after a smart turn to force a corner just two minutes into the half.

Then there were good chances for both teams from that corner. One for the away side, and then a fast counter attack saw Jake Bickerstaff shoot just wide.

The next chance fell to Heath for Dabbers as he raced through one on one with Pollard in the away goal who expertly saved.

Troy Bourne was forced off with an injury, to be replaced by Jonathan Moran, making his return after six years away.

Moments later Nantwich made the breakthrough.

Sean Cooke found himself running into the area, twisting past two players, before slotting the ball home to put the home side one up 12 minutes into the second half.

From there the tempo changed as Grantham’s heads went down, and there were more chances for the hosts to double the lead.

v Grantham - Second-half - Jamie Morgan on the attack (1)
Jamie Morgan on the attack

First Joe Robbins tried his luck from distance, which went just wide.

Then Moran saw his very fiercely struck shot cannon off of the bar.

Both Robbins and Bickerstaff saw further good chances just not find their way past Pollard in the away goal.

Another very good chance came to Bickerstaff who was one on one with Pollard, but again the keeper managed to thwart the onrushing player.

Late on, Cooke had a tremendous free-kick well saved by Pollard down to his right hand side, palming it to safety.

It was the final action and Nantwich had clinched five clean sheets in a row – for the first time in league football in 57 years.

Next up for the Dabbers is the game away to Lancaster City on Saturday March 26.

(Images courtesy of Jonathan White)

Second-half - Jake Bickerstaff chips Grantham keeper Jim Pollard but the shot is just wide of the post (1)

Second-half - Connor Heath shot at goal is blocked by Grantham keeper Jim Pollard (1)

First-half - Matt Bell puts pressure on Grantham captain Elliot Durell (1)

Full-time - Dabbers Manager Dave Cooke with winning goal scoring son Sean Cooke - a winning combination! (1)

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