Six wins in a row for Basford United
Basford United made it six wins in a row on Saturday as Marcus Marshall’s late strike sealed all three points at Nantwich Town.
Appearing as a substitute, the striker pounced 12 minutes from time to tap home after Terry Hawkridge’s free kick was saved by Matt Gould and the win cements United’s place in 8th as they make it nine unbeaten in all competitions.
“I’m a happy man” manager Steve Chettle said. “It was a bit scrappy; it wasn’t fluid, and it wasn’t clean but, listen, we all know what we’re wanting from these games.
“We want to keep clean sheets, score goals and get three points.
“I said at half-time that we need to keep the ball better. We got down into cul-de-sacs, we tried to run down alleyways that weren’t there, and we need to be brighter with the ball when in possession.
“We had to move the ball better and we did that in the second half a little – not as I’d like it to be, and it was challenging at certain times.
“It was a bit sticky, and the lads were getting it caught under their feet and we have to be better, and we want to get better all the time.
Chettle named an unchanged side from the FA Cup win over Mickleover last weekend, though it was Town who started well.
On his debut, the towering Dan Cockerline, a recent recruit from AFC Liverpool, looked to cause some early trouble, but couldn’t keep his 4th minute header on target.
A succession of corners from the hosts yielded little, and Kane Richards may have thought he opened the scoring moments later when he got beyond his man and fired low across Gould; the danger cleared off the line by a retreating Mattie Devine.
Gould, another debutant, then nervously tipped over Ryan Wilson’s cross-cum-shot as the half dwindled into a timid affair, before Aaron O’Connor slotted home for United, only to be correctly ruled out for offside.
In a tie dominated in midfield areas, the dangerous Casper Hughes tested Adam Collin late in the half with a low drive, and Cockerline – eager for a first goal in Dabber green – stung the palms of the veteran ‘keeper as the game sprung into life.
The momentum continued early in the second period and Hawkridge nearly whipped United in front with a superb curling effort – destined for the top corner – but Altrincham loanee Gould matched the effort with an equally impressive save.
Richards then paced beyond a struggling Ben Harrison to find himself in a good area, only for his pull-back to an onrushing Matt Thornhill to let the move down.
With United well on top, it was O’Connor’s turn to capitalise on some defensive hesitancy and he fired across for Rev James who couldn’t quite reach the supply with the goal gaping.
Fifteen minutes from time, Richards broke down the left and was upended by Harrison who lazily trailed a leg right on the cusp of the penalty area.
Appeals for a penalty went ignored by the sheepish officials, however the resultant free-kick lead to a deserved opener on 78 minutes.
Hawkridge’s low shot looked easy for Gould, but he could only parry into the path of substitute Marshall – only on minutes earlier – who had the simple task of slotting home into an empty net.
Some late pressure saw Prince Haywood and Harrison conjure two half-efforts for Nantwich that failed to worry Collin and Basford’s excellent run continues as they prepare for the trip to Warrington Town on Tuesday night (September 28, 19:45).
“We know we have a big three weeks ahead of us,” Chettle concluded. “We’ve got big league games, an FA Cup tie next Saturday and we’re going to need all the boys, and everyone knows they have to be prepared and be ready for every eventuality.
“We go to Warrington on Tuesday night, we’ve got the FA Cup, we’ve got South Shields, FC United, Buxton – it’s a big three weeks for us.
“There will be people disappointed at times but that’s the nature of the beast. We’ve got a good senior squad now and we have too many people for ten outfield shirts, a goalkeeper and five subs.
“It’s a tough challenge for everybody to stay motivated, but we’ve got to be together in this run.
“We had a week off from the Mickleover game and that was nice. Some people could recover a little bit more and every now and then, everyone needs a bit of a breather.
“These games that are coming thick and fast, we’re going to need to rely on people coming into the team, people coming out – people are going to need a rest.
“We’ve got a group, I’m really happy with the group and we’ve got to keep moving forwards.”
NANTWICH TOWN: Matthew Gould, Joel Stair, Matthew Devine, Ben Harrison, Joshua Langley, Ibrahima Sy, James Lawrie (Prince Haywood 81’), Caspar Hughes, Daniel Cockerline (Connor Heath 72’), Sean Cookie, Joe Mwasile (Tommy Montefiori 53’).
SUBS NOT USED: Troy Bourne, Theo Stair
BASFORD UNITED: Adam Collin, Owen Betts, Ryan Wilson, Dominic Roma, Brad Gascoigne, Declan Dunn, Terry Hawkridge, Matt Thornhill (C) (Alex Howes 88’), Aaron O’Connor (Josh Scott 81’), Kane Richards, Rev James (Marcus Marshall 73’)
SUBS NOT USED: Stef Galinski, Jordan Pierrepont (GK)
MATCH ATTENDANCE: 244