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Castle get back to winning ways to almost end Dabbers promotion hopes

On a day which started with gloomy grey skies, broke into bright sunshine but remained blustery throughout, it was very much a day for managing the conditions.

We did that a little better than our in-form visitors and as a result we came away with a much - needed victory after a poor run of results. At the same time we virtually called time on Nantwich’s faint hopes of pulling off an improbable late run to the play-offs.

The 1-0 win, which came courtesy of the left boot of the recalled Jack van der Laan, put an end to a sequence of results which had seen us win only win of our last seven and ensure that we gained our second league double of the season, having already beaten Nantwich 1-0 in January.

While there were no outstanding performances today, there were solid 7 out of 10s everywhere you looked. Slinny as always was a monster between the sticks – a superb block from Perry Bircumshaw having already made an initial saveand got back to his feet quickly was the highlight – the recalled Jacks, Derbyshire and van Der Laan played vital roles and we looked relatively comfortable at the back with those two good mates JJ and Stubbsy snuffing out the danger.

But it was a player shielding the back four and staying calm in possession that also helped to make the difference – Jack Sherratt. Jack was back after missing last week’s defeat at Witton and his calmness in possession helped keep the team moving against a side that let’s not forget, had scored 21 goals in their last seven games. The door was firmly shut on them today.

It’s not easy to get up for games when there is so little riding on them, so it is to our immense credit that the boys often looked the more determined of the two teams.

Having said that, the first half was instantly forgettable. Nantwich had the slightly better of it and we needed the big man between the sticks to do his thing but there wasn’t much to write home about. The second half was more open, helped of course by us taking the lead on the hour. A quick break saw Ben Kershaw in space down the right. His cross was perfect for Jack van der Laan, who controlled his finish beautifully into the far corner.

Nantwich came back strong. Callum Saunders headed narrowly wide from a free kick inside the last 20 minutes while sharp-shooter Byron Harrison had appeals for a penalty waved away after he had a shot blocked for a corner.

As gaps started to open up and with the visitors increasingly desperate to find a way back into the game, Nathan Barry on as a late sub for Jake Avery, spurned two chances to make the closing stages more comfortable. Initially, he tripped over the ball when going through on goal then moments later couldn’t quite keep his shot far enough away from Dabbers stopper Ben Garratt in a one-on-one position

It mattered not. The defence held firm and we travel to Vauxhall Motors next weekend in much better spirits.

Team: Slinn, Derbyshire, Ritchie, Sherratt, Jordan, Stubbs, Kershaw, (Smith), Graham, Avery, (Barry) J. van der Laan, (Lewis)

Man of the match: Jack Sherratt – excellent in possession and kept play moving.




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