FC United of Manchester
FC United: Dave Carnell, Liam Brownhill, Adam Jones (Lee Neville 72), Dean Stott (c), Tom Davies, Charlie Raglan, Joe Fox (Matthew Wolfenden 65), Callum Byrne, Mike Norton (Matthew Walwyn 82), Jerome Wright, Tom Greaves. Subs: Astley Mulholland, Nelson Mota.
Nantwich Town: Steve James, Andy Pearson, Andy White, Andy Keogh (Josh Eastwood 82), Alex Frost (c), Mat Bailey, Harry Clayton, Oliver Devenney, Aaron Burns (Peter Green 77), Steve Foster (Ben Deegan 58), Max Harrop. Subs: Earl Davis, Sam Wilson.
A failed attempt to play offside allowed FC United’s Mike Norton to put his side in to a victorious 2-1 lead in a dominant second half despite Nantwich threats to take the lead themselves in the first 45.
United’s Callum Byrne had the first notable effort of the game on six minutes with a long ranger that whistled over Steve James’ right stanchion.
An Oliver Devenney corner was met at the near post by striker Steve Foster on seven minutes but his bundled effort was cleared.
Nantwich threatened again with Harry Clayton wriggling in to the Rebels area on 10 minutes but his lay off was intercepted.
Devenney profited from a quick turnover of possession deep in United territory on 14 minutes to cross to the back post for Aaron Burns whose header back in to the danger zone was cleared.
Byrne’s second effort, from just outside the Nantwich box, tested James more than his earlier effort with the ‘keeper on loan from Preston forced to save at full stretch.
There were rejected shouts of ‘back pass!’ from home fans on 18 minutes when Mat Bailey was forced to divert a shot towards James.
A huge roar went up from the Rebels’ fans when on 23 minutes when Tom Greaves sliced a corner across the face of James’ goal.
Bailey was lucky on 25 minutes as he saw his defensive header fly narrowly wide of his own post.
Greaves who looked lively since kick-off sprung clear of the Nantwich defence on 28 minutes to slot in the opener to the delight of the expectant home crowd. It was something from nothing that was over in an instant.
Even after the goal the Dabbers’ support were the louder.
After suffering a dangerous Tom Davies foul on 37 minutes Burns slotted in the leveller a minute later after the resultant freekick bounced to his feet.
Nantwich somehow did not go 2-1 up on 41 minutes after Burns rounded ‘keeper Dave Carnell to square for Harry Clayton whose shot was cleared off the line.
Carnell seemed happy to play ‘sweeper keeper’ when necessary but it looked dangerous.
Joe Fox blazed over on 48 minutes when he should have done better just inside the Nantwich area.
Only a few minutes later Byrne had an almost identical effort but with more time however he fired over too.
Number nine, Mike Norton, swept past James on 53 minutes to make it 2-1 when it looked like the Dabbers’ defence had played him offside.
BEN DEEGAN ON STEVE FOSTER 58.
Harrop put in an inviting cross on 67 minutes but Bailey headed narrowly wide.
You could sense the tension in the FC United fans with only 15 minutes remaining – they were desperate for a win as they saw their play-off chances slipping away.
Clayton was through on 86 minutes after a great through ball by substitute Josh Eastwood but as he squared for Deegan the assistant referee had his flag up.
Peter Green robbed Lee Neville of the ball in stoppage time but luckily for FC United the ball reached Carnell in goal before the Nantwich substitute could make a telling touch.
Report and Photo supplied by James Briscoe on behalf of Nantwich Town FC