FC United 2 Nantwich Town 1
A FAILED offside trap resulted in Dabbers’ eventual defeat, despite threatening to take all three points at Gigg Lane.
Instead, FC United’s Mike Norton gave his side a 2-1 lead in a dominant second half, which was enough to secure the Evo-Stik Premier Division victory.
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 post.
An Oliver Devenney corner was met at the near post by Nantwich striker Steve Foster on seven minutes, but his bundled effort was cleared.
The visitors threatened again when Harry Clayton wriggled into 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, though his header back into the danger zone was cleared.
Byrne’s second effort, from just outside the Nantwich box, tested James more than his earlier effort and the on-loan Preston keeper was forced to save at full stretch.
A huge roar went up from the Rebels’ fans when, on 23 minutes, Tom Greaves sliced a corner across the face of James’ goal, before Bailey was lucky to see his defensive header fly narrowly wide of his own post.
Greaves, who had looked lively since kick-off, sprung clear of the Nantwich defence on 28 minutes to slot in the opener to the delight of the home crowd.
But the goal proved to spark the visiting fans into life and their support was rewarded less than 10 minutes later, when Burns slotted in the leveller after a free kick bounced fortuitously at his feet.
Dabbers would come to rue a missed chance to make it 2-1 shortly before the break, when Burns rounded United goalkeeper Dave Carnell to square for Harry Clayton, whose shot was cleared off the line.
Instead, Norton swept past James on 53 minutes to make it 2-1 and that was enough to secure the win and give the host’s play-off chances a boost.
Tension was in the air when Clayton went through on 86 minutes after a great through ball by substitute Josh Eastwood, but as he squared for Deegan the assistant referee put his flag up and ended Dabbers’ final chance of the game.
Nantwich: 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 not used: Earl Davis, Sam Wilson.