Nantwich Town 1 Stalybridge Celtic 0
NANTWICH Town lifted the Cheshire Senior Cup for only the fourth time in their 128 year history with a heroic 1-0 win over Blue Square North side Stalybridge Celtic at Chester’s Exacta Stadium on Tuesday.
Michael Lennon’s first half strike proved to be the difference for Jimmy Quinn’s side after they held on against a dominant Stalybridge team who finished 26 places above them in the non-league football structure.
Celtic will feel disappointed that they were unable to make the most of their chances, rattling the crossbar and having a goal disallowed for offside on 10 minutes after Hobson had nodded Callum Warburton’s curling cross into Jon Brain's net.
Stalybridge had the best of the first half, Jack Rea and Stephen Brogan going within inches of taking the lead and Rhys Meynell forcing Brain into a strong save to keep Dabbers level.
But it was only a matter of time until Nantwich had a chance of their own and thanks to the clinical Lennon they grabbed it with both hands, as he held off a challenge to slot past Budtz just before the break.
The goal made them more assured after the break, with Stalybridge restricted to long-range efforts and captain Flynn going agonisingly close to doubling their lead when his shot was deflected over by Chris Lynch, with Cooke also shooting wide as the Dabbers saw out an entertaining, but tense, finale.
Lifting the trophy was the perfect end to an up and down season for the Dabbers, with their comfortable mid-table finish disappointing after looking at certain points in the season that they would challenge for the play-off spots.
But with an impressive cup win under their belts, there will be no reason why Dabbers cannot build on their improvement in the off-season for a promotion challenge next year.
Nantwich: Jon Brain; Matt Lowe; Zak Foster; Dave McPherson; Neal Maguire; Rod McDonald; Sean Cooke; Chris Flynn; Josh Lane (Simon Everall 70 mins); Michael Lennon (Josh Rowley 90 mins); Tom Unwin. Unused Subs: Rodney Jack; Hayden Teanby; Sam Wakefield.