Northern Premier League: Nantwich Town 1-1 Corby Town

A controversial penalty converted by Stefan Cooke gave Corby Town a point to extend their unbeaten run to 5 games at the Weaver Stadium against Nantwich, who took the lead a couple of minutes before half-time through Matt Bell.

Nantwich made 2 changes from their 3-1 win on Tuesday night against 1874 Northwich in the Cheshire Senior Cup with Matt Bell replacing Sean Cooke just off the front man with Tom Peers coming in for Oscar Durnin with Ryan Brooke playing from the right wing whilst Corby are unchanged from their 1-0 Northern Premier League win at Mickleover last Saturday.

In the 4th minute, Wayne Riley’s volley from the edge of the area went wide as he went for the spectacular effort. After a couple of strange bookings for Nantwich’s Joe Mwasile and Corby’s Jordan Crawford, there was an early substitution for the visitors as Miles Smith was replaced by Jamie Anton due to an injury.

Midway through the half, Matt Bell’s strong challenge on Connor Kennedy saw a throw-in given rather than a free-kick that the visitors were after before Ben Harrison intercepted the ball on the half-way line with his shot going well wide from 30 yards out. With 10 minutes of the first half left, former Premier League player Stefan Moore hit the post with a left-footed effort from just inside the area.

On 42 minutes, Corby centre-back Aaron Brown drew a fantastic save from Daniel Gyollai diving away to his left which was heading for the top corner. From the resulting corner, it was cleared out to Andy White whose long ball down the line towards Mwasile was controlled by Courtney Wildin with the Dabbers winger stealing the ball off the left back before rounding the keeper and finding Bell who finished from just outside the 6-yard box against the run of play.

Wayne Riley was booked a few minutes into the second half before Brooke heading the ball into the net, only problem was that Aidan Grant had the ball in his hands at the time. Into the 63rd minute which saw a corner from the Corby left which was swung into the back post to captain Phil Trainer which was turned onto the bar by Moore with sub Steven Leslie hooking it towards the goal from a tight angle against Riley – it looked like it hit him on the head from my angle behind the home bench but the linesman on the far side gave the penalty as Riley’s hand was in the air at the time. Moore tucked the penalty home sending Gyollai the wrong way.

The final change for Corby saw Moore replaced by Giuseppe Iaciofano with 20 minutes to go whilst Kennedy could have been sent off for a two-footed lunge on Mwasile, with the midfielder only booked. The final effort saw Bell have a long shot from outside the area that just beat the far post in stoppage time.

Both teams are back in action with away trips in the league next Saturday with Nantwich travelling to Hednesford Town whilst Corby travel to Blyth Spartans, both are 3pm kick-offs.

Nantwich (4-2-3-1): Gyollai; J.Stair, Harrison, C.Jones, White; Hall (c), Riley; Brooke (Cotterill 77), Bell, Mwasile; Peers

Booked: Mwasile 11, Riley 48, Bell 85

Corby (4-4-1-1): Grant; Miles (Anton 17), Brown, Lee, Wildin; Crawford (Leslie 62), D.Bell, Milnes, Kennedy; Trainer (c); Moore (Iaciofano 70)

Booked: Crawford 13, Kennedy 76


League 2: Crewe Alexandra 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers

A late James Jones penalty gave Crewe Alexandra back-to-back wins for the first time since September at the Alexandra Stadium after Adebayo Akinfenwa had cancelled out Chris Dagnall’s first-half opener.

Crewe were unchanged from Saturday’s 5-0 home win against Grimsby so Chelsea loanee Alex Kiwomya was once again on the bench whilst Wycombe made 1 change from Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Stevenage with Alex Jakubak making his first start for the club coming in for Sam Saunders.

Crewe took the lead on 10 minutes as Chris Dagnall held off the Wycombe captain Joe Jacobsen to get a powerful strike off that Jamal Blackman couldn’t keep out neither could full-back Sido Jombati who cleared it from behind the goal-line according to the assistant. After chances for both Jakubiak and Sam Wood, both saved easily by Ben Garratt, Crewe captain Danny Hollands limped off and was replaced by youngster Ryan Wintle.

From the free-kick conceded before Hollands was replaced, Jacobsen found Aaron Pierre whose effort won a corner just before Jakubiak won another corner following a save from Garratt. Crewe right-back Ollie Turton was booked in front of the dugouts for a challenge on Jakubiak during a spell of pressure from Wycombe.

After a half-time change which saw Pierre replaced by Will de Havilland at the back for the Chairboys, midfielder Luke O’Nien was booked for a high-foot challenge on Crewe left-back John Guthrie before Wintle then Wood both went close for their respective teams. The scores were level with 15 minutes to go as Jombati’s left-footed cross from the right was chested down by Akinfenwa, with the forward finishing neatly from just inside the area.

The winner came 3 minutes from time with Crewe defender George Ray tripped inside the area by Jombati which saw Jones smashing it down the middle and manager Gareth Ainsworth sent to the stands for his reaction and Jombati restrained by his teammates after his complaints.

Both teams are in action on Saturday with Crewe travelling to Blackpool with Wycombe hosting Carlisle.

Attendance: 2,869

Crewe (4-3-3): Garratt; Turton, Ray, Nugent, Guthrie; Cooke, Hollands (c, Wintle 21), Jones; Dagnall (Kiwomya 75), Bowery, Cooper (Ng 89)

Booked: Turton 39

Wycombe (4-3-3): Blackman; Jombati, Stewart, Pierre (de Havilland 46), Jacobsen (c); Wood (Saunders 68), O’Nien; Jakubiak, Akinfenwa, Kashinet (Thompson 57)

Booked: O’Nien 51


League 2: Crewe Alexandra 5-0 Grimsby Town

First half braces from George Cooper and Chris Dagnall gave David Artell his first win as Crewe Alexandra manager as Grimsby were made to look like a fish out of water in the opening period in the League 2 game at the Alexandra Stadium this afternoon.

Crewe made 1 change from their 4-0 defeat at Exeter last Saturday as winger Alex Kiwomya was replaced by Dagnall up front whilst Grimsby were unchanged from their 1-1 home draw against Luton following a late penalty save from James McKeown to preserve a point for the Mariners.

It was a dream start from the Railwaymen as a nice passing move containing Cooper, captain Danny Hollands and John Guthrie saw Cooper get in behind right wing-back Ben Davies and finished from a tight angle past McKeown. The first chance for Grimsby came on 9 minutes when former Alex-trialist Jamey Osbourne, one of two players to have followed manager Marcus Bignot (himself a former Alex player) from Solihull Moors to Grimsby, shot straight at Ben Garratt.

The hosts extended the lead on 15 minutes as a Garratt free-kick was headed down by Jordan Bowery and, after a touch from Dagnall to take it past the defender, it was volleyed home from 15 yards. Cooper added his second 8 minutes later as he curled a free kick in from 25 yards and it was 4-0 almost straight away as Cooper’s cross was flicked on by Jordan Bowery and it was turned in by Dagnall at the back post.

After the best period of possession from Grimsby in the opening 15 minutes without creating a clear-cut chance, Crewe had the ball in the back of the net again on the hour but, after a foul by Bowery, Danny Hollands’ effort from the edge of the area would not count. After another double save from McKeown from Cooper and Bowery, the former’s effort from near the half-way line, Grimsby would create a couple of chances that both were fired over from substitute Bolarinwa and Osbourne.

Callum Cooke added the fifth of the afternoon a couple of minutes from time as Crewe sub Callum Ainley stole the ball off Wales international Danny Collins and laid the ball into the path of the Middlesbrough loanee to place into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. This game was the first time since New Years Eve 2011 that Crewe had scored 5 times in a single league game after a 5-2 win at Bristol Rovers.

Both teams are in action on Tuesday with Crewe hosting Wycombe whilst Grimsby travel to Newport County.

Attendance: 4,003

Crewe (4-4-2): Garratt; Turton, Ray, Nugent, Guthrie (Bakayago 76); Cooke, Jones, Hollands (c), Cooper (Ainley 83); Bowery, Dagnall (Kiwomya 83)

Booked: Bowery 61

Grimsby (3-5-2): McKeown; Gunning, Pearson (c), Collins; Davies, Osbourne, Clements, Conley, Andrew (Jones 46); Yussuf (Bolarinwa 46), Dyson (Asante 46)

Booked: Dyson 6, Pearson 36, Gunning 89


Cheshire Senior Cup Quarter-Final: Crewe Alexandra 2-1 Stockport County

Two early goals from Lewis Reilly and Owen Dale saw Crewe Alexandra advance into the semi-final of the Cheshire Senior Cup after a 2-1 win at home to Stockport County despite Jimmy Ball’s free-kick on the half hour mark.

Crewe made 3 changes from the previous round as defenders Ross Woodcock, Marcus Poscha and Ben Nugent all out of the team with Billy Sass-Davies joining Perry Ng at centre back whilst Oliver Finney came into the midfield and Reilly, the goal-scoring hero from the extra-time victory over Stalybridge in Round 1, started up front. Stockport made 4 changes from their 5-4 penalty home victory against Winsford United with defenders Michael Clarke and Chris Smalley missing out with full debutants Tom Whitty and Liam O’Brien coming in at the back whilst Gary Stopworth dropped out for Ball in midfield and Josh Amis dropping out for Kayode Odejayi up front.

Crewe took the lead on 8 minutes after Dale’s shot after coming in from the right-wing was blocked but fell nicely for Reilly to tuck home from 3 yards under pressure from Stockport goalkeeper Ian Ormson whilst they added to the lead 4 minutes later as Dale finished from the corner of the 6 yard box off the inside of the far post after a cross fell to him in the area. The hosts could have added to the scoreline as Dale’s right-wing cross was headed wide of the goal by Harry Pickering.

Stockport got back into the game on 29 minutes from a free-kick given away by Sass-Davies, who was booked as a result, which was curled into the side-netting by Ball which sub keeper Scott Wardley got his fingertips to whilst Ball’s header a couple of minutes later was straight at the young goalkeeper. It was mostly Stockport pressure until half time with Wardley making a couple of saves but Ormson made a save from Daniel Udoh on the half-time whistle.

Into the second half, midfielder Ryan Wintle had an effort from just outside the area for the hosts whilst a free-kick from Max Cartwright deflected into the arms of Wardley. After a double-change for Stockport, Dale forced Ormson into another save from a tight-angle whilst on-loan Kaine Felix and Wardley collided from the resulting break. Another debutant came on for Stockport as midfielder Will Holt came on for Odejayi before efforts from Ainley and Dale both easy for the visitors to defend against.

The 3 remaining fixtures in this round take place next week whilst both teams are in league action on Saturday with Crewe hosting Grimsby (which i’ll be covering on here) in League 2 whilst Stockport travel to Alfreton in the National League North.

Attendance: 325

Crewe (4-4-2): Richards (c, Wardley 20), Wilkinson, Ng, Sass-Davies, Pickering; Dale, Wintle, Finney, Ainley; Udoh, Reilly

Booked: Sass-Davies 29

Stockport (4-4-2): Ormson; Ross (c), Whitty, Cartwright, O’Brien; Felix, Ball (Scott 61), Meppen-Walters (Peach 61), Wardle; Odejayi (Holt 74), Marsden

Booked: Wardle 19

Northern Premier League: Nantwich Town 3-2 Frickley Athletic

Three goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half from Steve Jones, Tom Peers and Joe Mwasile were enough for Nantwich Town to see off Frickley Athletic despite two second half goals from loanee full-back Ross Barrows for the visitors at a chilly Weaver Stadium to move Nantwich into the top 3 of the Northern Premier League table.

Nantwich made 2 changes from their 4-1 home win against Marine with captain Sam Hall missing out through injury and defender Ben Harrison coming in as Joel Stair moved to right back and Wayne Riley moving back into midfield and on-loan Stoke goalkeeper Daniel Gyollai come in for Kristian Burzynski. Frickley made 1 change from their 2-0 home defeat against Corby with Macauley Parkinson dropping down to the bench with Bailey Gooda coming in at centre back with Jack Waters moving to left back.

After a frustrating opening 20 minutes where there were a number of offside calls and wasted chances to get in behind a 5-man defence for Nantwich, they created a couple of chances with Osebi Abadaki going close after beating Barrows down the Nantwich left before the ball was moved out to Riley, whose effort was blocked by teammate Peers and went out for a throw-in.

After Abadaki came off injured at the half hour mark, replaced by veteran Northern Irish winger Steve Jones, a long ball from Curtis Jones was headed down by Stair into the 40 year-old’s path but his overhead kick was weak and saved easily by Sebastian Malkowski, himself capped by Poland back in 2011, before Jones again couldn’t quite turn the ball in at the back post after great work down the Nantwich left by Mwasile and Sean Cooke.

The Nantwich pressure did pay off 6 minutes before half time as Harrison’s through ball from the back beat the back-line allowing Jones to score past Malkowski at his near post. It was 2-0 a few minutes later as Tom Peers got in behind the defence and lifted the ball over Malkowski for his 1st Dabbers goal since his recent move from Droylsden and it was 3-0 before half-time as, again, there was no pressure on the ball in midfield and Mwasile’s run from the left-wing was picked out and another delicate chip over the Pole wrapped up a perfect first half.

At the break, a change in shape for Frickley saw Gooda move into midfield and it wasn’t long before the away bench was up after a crunching tackle from Riley which saw the Dabbers midfielder slide in and take out Barrows which surprisingly didn’t result in a card. He was booked mid-way in the half though for a foul on winger Joe Pugh.

Frickley got back into the game with 18 minutes to go as a long ball was volleyed in by Barrows from the corner of the box and his second, with 10 minutes left on the clock plus stoppage time, attacking the far post beating sub Matty Ashbrook to the ball to set up a frantic finish. A free-kick from Pugh after 87 minutes hit the post from just outside the area, hitting Gyollai on the back before going behind for a corner.

Nantwich enter the play-offs for the first time this season and travel to Sutton Coldfield Town on Saturday whilst Frickley are also on the road as they travel to Buxton on Saturday.

Attendance: 305

Nantwich (4-2-3-1): Gyollai; J.Stair, Harrison, C.Jones, White; Riley, Bell (c); Mwasile (Durnin 58), Cooke (Ashbrook 70), Abadaki (S.Jones 29); Peers

Booked: Riley 67

Frickley (5-2-3): Malkowski; Barrows, Gooda, Fielding, Meynall, Waters; Mangham, Valentine (Lufudu 89); Pugh, Fairhurst, Williams (Porritt 60)


Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round – Crewe Alexandra 1-0 Stalybridge Celtic (AET)

A curling effort from the edge of the area from substitute Lewis Reilly helped Crewe Alexandra advance in the 1st Round of the Cheshire Senior Cup against National League North side Stalybridge Celtic at the Alexandra Stadium.

After a quiet first quarter hour, which included Crewe defender Marcus Poscha replaced by midfielder Josh Lundstram with Perry Ng moving from a defensive midfield position into the back 4, after he clashed with striker Liam Dickinson and went off holding his shoulder. Just after that break in play, Harry Pickering’s left footed free-kick from the right-side of the penalty area went wide of the goal following the first of a series of fouls on Callum Ainley before Pickering’s next free-kick taken from the other side was headed wide of the goal by Ben Nugent with the centre-half adjudged offside.

During the second quarter of the game, Ryan Wintle got a couple of shots off with his left foot from distance which were saved easily by Celtic keeper and player/manager Paul Phillips coming either side of Ainley hitting the side-netting after being played through by the impressive Owen Dale. Just before half time, Stalybridge had their first proper chance of the game as Kieran Dunbar shot wide from 25 yards.

Crewe continued to be the better team in the second half as Lundstram had his effort from just outside the area by Phillips before the keeper was beaten by a Dale shot on the half-volley which also beat the post. After an injury to Callum Ainley which saw him carried off on a stretcher and a triple-sub was made by the visitors, Darren McKnight had a 30 yard effort saved easily by Crewe captain Dave Richards before Chris Baguely had a similar effort also saved by Richards.

Pickering had a shot from distance which flew over the bar before the game’s most controversial moment happened 15 minutes from time. Following a Crewe attack the ball broke to Baguely who lobbed Richards from 45 yards with the keeper on the edge of his area back-peddling and clearing it off the line at the second attempt according to the assistant which was different to what myself and fellow fans on social media thought of the decision.

Into the final 15 minutes of normal time where Daniel Udoh had a shot blocked by Stalybridge captain Keil O’Brien before Ryan Wintle’s left-footed effort from the right-hand corner of the area hit the crossbar following a break from a Stalybridge corner before Daniel Wilkins could have given the win to the visitors in the dying minutes of the second half with Crewe’s Jamie Wilkinson also carried off on a stretcher in the final moments of regulation time.

The first chance of extra time saw Florian da Silva have a one-on-one saved by Richards after being given the ball by Ng in the opening minute before Udoh had a shot blocked by the defender after he beat 2 men inside the area. Crewe took the lead in the 99th minute as Reilly was given the ball just outside the area on the left-hand side before his curling effort hit the inside of the post and across the goal-line, his 13th goal of the season at all levels.

Crewe will play against Stockport County in the next round with the game set to take place during February.

Crewe (4-4-1-1): Richards (c); Woodcock, Poscha (Lundstram 9), Nugent, Wilkinson; Dale, Ng, Wintle, Pickering; Ainley (Reilly 62); Udoh

Stalybridge Celtic (4-4-2): Phillips; Morton, Chalmers, O’Brien (c), Wisdom; da Silva, Dunbar, McKnight, Morning (Oyibo 62); Dickinson (Baguley 62), Gaskell (Wilkins 62)

Booked: Wilkins 105

fa cup trophy

FA Cup 3rd Round Draw 16/17

Yesterday saw the 3rd Round Draw made for this season’s FA Cup with the Premier League and Championship teams entering at this stage. 2nd Round replay fixtures are being played next week whilst the 3rd Round games are being played across the weekend of 6th-9th January.

Draw in full:

Accrington Stanley vs Luton Town
Barrow vs Rochdale
Birmingham City vs Newcastle United
Blackpool vs Barnsley
Bolton vs Crystal Palace
Brentford vs Halifax/Eastleigh
Brighton & Hove Albion vs MK Dons/Charlton Athletic
Bristol City vs Shrewsbury Town/Fleetwood Town
Cambridge United vs Leeds United
Cardiff City vs Fulham
Chelsea vs Peterborough United/Notts County
Everton vs Leicester City
Huddersfield vs Port Vale
Hull City vs Swansea City
Ipswich Town vs Lincoln City
Liverpool vs Newport County/Plymouth Argyle
Manchester United vs Reading
Middlesbrough vs Sheffield Wednesday
Millwall vs Bournemouth
Norwich vs Southampton
Preston North End vs Arsenal
Rotherham United vs Oxford United/Macclesfield Town
Stoke City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sunderland vs Burnley
Sutton United vs AFC Wimbledon
Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa
Watford vs Burton Albion
West Bromwich Albion vs Derby County
West Ham United vs Manchester City
Wigan Athletic vs Nottingham Forest
Wycombe Wanderers vs Northampton Town/Stevenage