Second-half collapse key to loss

Eastwood Town 1 Nantwich Town 5

Eastwood fell to their second 5-1 defeat in four days as Nantwich Town produced a commanding display at Coronation Park on Saturday.

There was a huge difference between the two results - the defeat to Buxton almost expected due to a very inexperienced squad but not this one given it featured probably John Ramshaw’s strongest side.

For two thirds of this game there was nothing between the sides. However, lacking leaders on the field, the Badgers contributed to their own downfall in spectacular fashion.

Eastwood started brightly and Gregg Simmons fired wide from TJ Nightingale’s cut back.

Nantwich’s Sean Cooke volleyed wide when Mitch Hanson’s clearance dropped nicely to him but for the most part the game was being played out in midfield.

The first real goalscoring opportunity fell to the Badgers who had a stonewall penalty turned down in the 20th minute.

Nightingale outpaced the back four and as he steadied himself and with the keeper approaching, he was unceremoniously chopped down from behind by former Eastwood player Mat Bailey and Rod McDonald. However, referee Duncan Street waved all protestations away.

Nantwich controversially took the lead on 29 minutes. A free-kick was awarded just outside the box, and the referee was still gesticulating to the Eastwood wall when Cooke stepped up to score.

As everyone waited for him to bring play back, the referee pointed to the centre spot and awarded the goal, sparking mass protests from the home side.

The Badgers ended the half strongly with Nightingale, Paolo Piliero and debutant Matt Harris all having chances.

After the re-start, Nightingale skimmed the Nantwich bar from a Chris Shaw free-kick as the game started to open up.

The visitors had a glorious chance to sew the game up from the penalty spot in the 51st minute Josh Lane was fouled in the area, but Cooke smashed his shot against the crossbar.

But the Badgers then capitualted with three Nantwich goals in six minutes.

First, Kyle Wilson lashed home after a quick break, then Lewis Short scored with ease from Lane’s pull back.

Things got worse six minutes later as Casper Hughes chased a long punt forward, cut inside with ease and shot past Sam Andrew.

The fifth came three minutes from time, when Mark Beesley crossed for Wilson to bag his second of the game.

Adam Somes hit the crossbar for Eastwood before Simmons’ mazy run saw the striker score the goal of the game, but it was mere consolation.

Eastwood: 1 Sam Andrew 2 Josh Raven (Jay Smedley 68) 3 Chris Shaw 4 Danny Elliott (Regan Marriott 63) 5 Romaine Graham 6 Alex Troke 7 Gregg Simmons 8 Mitch Hanson 9 TJ Nightingale 10 Matt Harris (Adam Somes 60) 11 Paolo Piliero. Subs not used: Vijay Selvam

Scorer: Simmonds 88
Nantwich: 1 Jon Brain 2 Chris Flynn 3 Christian Smith (Zack Foster 70) 4 Casper Hughes 5 Mat Bailey 6 Rod McDonald 7 Sean Cooke 8 Fraser McLachlan (Lyndon Campbell 78) 9 Josh Lane (Mark Beesley 70) 10 Kyle Wilson 11 Lewis Short. Subs not used: Darren Moss, Niall Maguire

Scorers: Cooke 29, Wilson 60, Short 62, 87, Hughes 68 Att: 159 Ref: D Street Best Badger: Mitch Hanson

by Andy Cope