Basford United 1-0 Nantwich Town (Northern Premier League) 22.01.22
Mark Clifford’s first home game as manager ended in victory, as Ryan Wilson’s sweet volley being sealed a 1-0 win at Greenwich Avenue, writes Cameron Rutherford.
The hosts – who usually start bright – were eventually able to stamp their authority on the visitors early on after a tense beginning by both sides.
And it didn’t take long for their first chance came when Amber’s skipper Matt Thornhill crossed to Kieran Wells, whose angled header went just inches past the post. United ‘keeper Kieran Preston was only troubled with a half chance from Sean Cooke.
Mitchell Tait drove down the left and his arrowed effort cannoned off the post, leaving Dabblers ‘keeper Matthew Gould stationary after 21 minutes.
It was evident United were starting to impose their will but still, did not yet have anything to show for their dominance, as interplay from Tait and Paddy Webb down the left started to look promising.
By the half hour, United should really have broken the deadlock as Rev James beat his man with ease and delivered a sumptuous cross, which Webb headed just over.
Town’s striker Daniel Cockerline consistently held the ball up well, but the home defenders never gave him any time to create anything of substance.
Tait produced another effort, but Gould parried before grasping easily enough and another chance came minutes later, but Webb’s effort did not phase the Altrincham loanee.
The first half showing conveyed a lot about United’s season, as they showed great dominance but without goals gives the other team a glimmer of hope.
And they were rewarded for their endeavour only for minutes after the restart, as Ryan Wilson finished home a sweet volley by a fine cross from Owen Betts and the hosts were ahead.
Man of the match Tait was able to attack all game, creating yet another chance which was just dragged wide.
Clifford introduced Tyreace Palmer – on loan from Notts County his debut until the end of the season – and he showed the decent Greenwich Avenue crowd his pace.
The striker grew more confident as he displayed positive forward play and linked well with Rev James and Kane Richards either side.
Chances continued to flood the Town goal, as Richards drove with real purpose and slipped through James whose shot was blocked.
The Dabbers left all their best efforts until the dying embers of the game, as fullback Jacob Edwards fired centimetres over the bar.
In stoppage time, ‘keeper Preston made a great save before United’s Dom Roma came to the rescue, as he forced the ball off the line to secure the much-needed three points.
United manager was in full sprits after the game, as he said pleasing the fans with an entertaining brand of football is “what it is about”.
He said: “It is about exciting the fans. They pay their money and want to see an exciting brand of football.
“I hope they enjoyed it. If we would have got two or three [goals] it would have been a bit more enjoyable, but nonetheless we have hung on at the end.
“We probably still could have got two or three more late on the counter. It is probably entertaining from a fans point of view and that is exactly what it is about, and we took the three points, which is even better.”
Clifford spoke on Tait’s efforts, stating: “I am really pleased for him”, as he said his effort which hit the post in the first half was “unlucky”.
“The very minimum requirement is that the lads work hard and that is the starting point. I can accept a lack of quality in areas, I can accept missing chances, but the very starting point is that the lads are prepared to put a shift in first and foremost.
“Everything else will take care of itself.”
United are again at home next week, welcoming Morpeth Town from Northumbria (15:00).
Basford United: Preston, Betts, Roma, Gascoigne, Tait (Dunn 80), Wilson, Thornhill, James, Richards, Wells (Palmer 65), Webb.
Nantwich Town: Gould, Edwards, Devine, Bourne, Langley, Hughes (Mitchell 45), Huxley, Heath (Montefiori 75), Cockerline, Cooke, Robbins.
Venue: Greenwich Avenue (358)
*Article provided by Cameron Rutherford.
*Main image @Papapix Ryan Wilson netted his first goal of the season against the Dabbers.