Stafford Rangers 1 Nantwich Town 1
A SPECIAL strike from Sean Cooke helped to earn Nantwich Town a point following a feisty clash with hosts Stafford at Marston Road.
The ex-Crewe Alex winger netted the equaliser in the final minute of the game after both sides had been reduced to 10 men, with Darren Moss dismissed for two bookable offences and ex-Nantwich midfielder Peter Heler received a straight red card for the hosts.
Dabbers host third-placed Chorley on Saturday, with Jimmy Quinn hoping that Cooke repeats the heroics he showed against Rangers on Monday, particularly considering his side have been struggling to find the net.
“It is a great hit and it has got us out of trouble, as we didn’t show enough quality around their penalty box before that," said Quinn.
“To win games you have to show quality in the opposition penalty area and we’re failing to do that.
“It’s a shame as I felt we passed the ball really well.
"We’ll continue to work on the finishing though and it will come eventually.”
The heavy rain made it difficult for Dabbers to exhibit their usually fluid style, with only Matt Lowe able to test the keeper in the opening half an hour when his deep cross almost caught out Rangers keeper Adam Alcock.
It got better for the visitors after 25 minutes when Stafford's Heler was dismissed for a two-footed lunge and the extra man allowed Nantwich to attack through Caspar Hughes and Simon Everall to no avail.
It got worse for the visitors after the break, losing their man advantage on the hour and battling against the increasingly confident hosts.
Nantwich's hearts were broken when Stafford's Alan Nagington smashed home the opener on 86 minutes, with the hosts believing they had won the contest.
That was until Cooke stepped up to earn his side a point, unleashing a 25-metre strike into the top corner and sending the travelling support into raptures.
Nantwich: Brain, Lowe, White, Hughes (Maguire, 65), Moss, McDonald, Urwin (Lennon, 57), MacPherson, Everall (Lane, 85), Cooke, Flynn (c). Subs: Foster, Jack.
Stafford: Alcock, Donnelly, Brown, Espley (George, 80), Dicker, Carr (c), Heler, Street (Blackhurst, 69), Morris, Nagington, Skelton (Kinsella, 80). Subs: Jukes, Read.