Nantwich Women cup final against Macclesfield

Macclesfield scored a 96th minute goal to win the Cheshire FA Women’s Challenge Cup with a 1-0 victory over Nantwich Town at The Swansway Stadium, writes Liam Price.

A record Dabbers Women’s crowd of 324 watched as the vastly superior resources of Macclesfield did not translate onto the pitch for the majority of the game.

In fact in the first half Nantwich were the better side in terms of using the ball and defending as a unit.

Almost nothing of note happened in the first half an hour as both teams adjusted to the big occasion and one of the hottest and most humid days of the year so far.

Julia Lebron shot over from distance in the first effort of the game for Macc.

Keane Harrison had Nantwich’s first shot with a free kick that probably should have been swung into the box rather than fired over the bar as it was.

Unfortunately the first half was punctuated by two big stoppages, one a drinks break because of the heat and the second a lengthy break due to Harrison picking up a nasty looking injury.

She twisted her knee while attempting to turn and chase back and immediately required attention, and eventually had to be helped off the pitch.

As the game ticked into added minutes, Harriet Knight had the best chance of the half, poking the ball wide inside the six-yard box from a Nantwich corner that started a scramble.

The fine margins of a final went against the Dabbers there.

Nantwich Women lose to Macclesfield

A Macclesfield corner was whipped in dangerously but well headed away, before Megan Rowley was slid in down the right but just couldn’t measure the cross towards a team mate.

Sears had the final shot of the half for the visitors, letting fly from outside the box and forcing Kara Townsend into a save, she palmed it down but seemed to lose track of where it was before diving on it on the second attempt in the end.

In the second half, Macclesfield came out stronger, sweeping an effort wide just a couple of minutes in.

The league champions were testing Townsend more and more, she was off her line more than once to clear or block promising attacks.

Libby Bulkeley went for a lob from outside the box but got it slightly wrong and the keeper was able to claim.

More stoppages due to Dabbers injuries stuttered any progress for either team in the half, three in total making it an unlucky day for the Nantwich team.

It also meant there were more than 20 minutes of additional time played across the two halves.

Cup final - Nantwich Women and Macclesfield

Kerry Green did well to block behind a cross at the end of a slick Macclesfield move as Nantwich increasingly started to look tired and drop back to hope to push it to penalties.

A quick Macc free kick very nearly caught them out and ended with the post being struck and away.

Adora Yau hit the woodwork again for Macclesfield just a couple of minutes later, this was a great strike that had Townsend well and truly beaten.

In the third minute of stoppage time another almighty scramble somehow didn’t result in a Macclesfield goal from another corner.

The visitors got their winning goal in the 96th minute of the final.

Cup final late winner against Nantwich Women

Yet another shot off the post bounced favourably to Yau to tuck it home from no distance at all.

It was deserved but that made it no less painful for everyone in green.

The clock didn’t stop for another nine minutes but the Dabbers were running on empty and couldn’t muster much momentum for an equaliser.

Macc hit the side netting as they tried to take advantage of the players throwing themselves forward.

The visitors saw it out to complete a league and cup double.

But Nantwich have plenty to be proud of including a fourth place league finish and a first ever cup final.

(Images by Peter Robinson)

Nantwich Women at end of cup final against Macclesfield

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