Basford suffer blow to promotion hopes as Nantwich take the points

Ryan Wilson (right) in action against Nantwich on Monday night.Ryan Wilson (right) in action against Nantwich on Monday night.
Ryan Wilson (right) in action against Nantwich on Monday night.
Basford United's automatic promotion hopes took a hit on Monday night after a disappointing 2-0 loss at home to Nantwich Town.

Prince Haywood opened the scoring in the 84th-minute with a screamer from the edge of the box.

Joe Malkin secured the victory for Nantwich with a 94th-minute goal to send the visitors home with all three points and dent Basford's automatic promotion hopes.

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Basford started the better of the two teams with two efforts from range troubling the Nantwich goalkeeper before hitting the post from a deflected cross.

Nantwich began to grow into the game as the half grew as Fuller and Varian’s link-up play caused Basford problems on numerous occasions.

Nantwich then had their turn to strike the woodwork as Cooke’s free-kick hit the post leaving Preston stranded on his line.

The best chance of the half came on the half-hour mark, however, as a miraculous Lewis Carr block prevented a certain goal as an effort came in from close range

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The second half was a much quieter affair as the tension grew inside the ground, chances became fairly scarce as the teams began to cancel each other out.

With the game on a knife-edge heading into the final minutes, a goal of the season contender from Haywood gave Nantwich the lead. A ball inside from out wide found Haywood unmarked on the edge of the area. The midfielder proceeded to strike the ball with the outside of his foot into the top left corner.

With Basford going all out for an equaliser, Nantwich were gifted a second as keeper Kieran Preston’s scuffed clearance was intercepted by Malkin. The forward still had plenty to do as he lifted the ball over the ‘keeper and into the net from 40 yards out to secure the three points.

The result means Nantwich remain in fifth position, while Basford fail to capitalise on the opportunity to move within two points of league leaders South Shields and remain second.

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Next up for Basford, Buxton FC make the trip south in what is another crucial game in Basford's pursuit of promotion.

Buxton's last game was a 5-1 thrashing of bottom side Stafford Rangers. First half goals from Callum Chippendale and Diego DeGirolamo put Buxton 2-0 up at half time before Conor O'Grady, Liam Hardy and De Girolamo netted in the second half to secure the win.

De Girolamo will be the one to watch when Buxton come down to visit. The Italian has scored 24 times in all competitions this season, including seven braces and one hat-trick.

Buxton are unbeaten in six league games, last losing at the hands of Bamber Bridge in mid-January. Since then, they have picked up four draws and two wins including draws against highflying South Shields and FC United of Manchester.

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Buxton sit in 17th place in the Bet Victor Northern Premier League having picked up just 32 points from 31 games. Their position is largely down to having the third worst defensive record in the league with 52 goals conceded so far this season. However, they are the highest goal-scorers in the league outside of the top four, hitting the back of the opposition net 54 times, and have improved since new boss Gary Hayward took over late last year.

The game promises to be an entertaining fixture with both sides having plenty to play for: Buxton are looking to climb away from relegation while Basford try to close the gap on South Shields at the top of the table.