Frickley Athletic 2 Nantwich Town 0
DABBERS fell victim to two debatable second-half penalties to leave Danny Johnson’s side ruing their first half profligacy.
Nantwich were greeted by a substantial drop in temperature when they reached Frickley and as the match kicked off strong gusts threatened to play a part.
Frickley started nervously, unsurprising due to their precarious place in the league, and strikers Steve Foster and Ben Deegan showed great movement in the first 10 minutes to give the home side another reason to worry.
Ryan Paczkowski could have headed the home side in front on 11 minutes but he failed to keep a high Andy Villermann cross down.
Max Harrop weaved towards the Frickley goal and shot on 13 minutes during a period Nantwich looked certain to score, but his effort was too close to goalkeeper Ben Simpson.
The pitch bobbled whenever a player tried to dribble, making it difficult for the more creative players on show.
Home winger Ghaichem was put through by Portuguese midfielder Fernando Moke on 24 minutes, but his effort one-on-one could not have been easier to gather for Nantwich’s Steve James.
Dabbers responded a minute later with Foster forcing a goal-line clearance before Andy Keogh floated over.
Nantwich looked likely to score in the first half hour but the longer it stayed at 0-0 the more confident the Frickley players became.
Earl Davis cleared off the line for the Dabbers on 36 minutes from a corner, a scare that made you wonder if all of the visitors’ good play would come to nothing.
Harrop flashed a shot just wide of the left post on 39 minutes, but that was his last action as he pulled up with an injury.
Though he attempted to continue the wide man had to come off just before half time for Osebi Abadaki in a like-for-like change.
Nantwich fashioned an eye-catching move on 58 minutes but Oliver Devenney sliced wide.
The tricky Ghaichem won a penalty on 59 minutes going down in the box and there were few arguments from the Nantwich defence.
Picton slotted the penalty in to the right corner to make it 1-0 and burst the Dabbers’ bubble.
Ghaichem won another penalty on 73 minutes; he seemed to simply run in to Dabbers defender Alex Frost and go down. Picton took responsibility again, scoring to the opposite corner to his earlier spot kick.
Nantwich substitute Abadaki went down in the Frickley box on 79 minutes after a challenge from Luke Jeffs.
There were predictable shouts of ‘dive’ from the home support and another important decision went against the away side.
Nantwich youngster Peter Green showed promise coming on 10 minutes from time winning the ball with tenacious tackles.
Davis received a second yellow and a red on 90 minutes for a high tackle on Frickley captain Joe Wilcox to round off a bad day for the Dabbers.
Davis’ first yellow card seemed harsh as he was punished for impeding the home goalkeeper, Simpson, who had little to do thanks to the aerial presence of the defenders in front of him.
Nantwich: Steve James, Alex Frost (c), Andy White, Andy Keogh, Earl Davis, Mat Bailey, Harry Clayton, Oliver Devenney, Ben Deegan, Steve Foster, Max Harrop. Subs: Andy Pearson, Osebi Abadaki, Aaron Burns, Sam Wilson, Peter Green.