On one of the coldest and windiest games seen at Ewen Fields in a number of years, top of the table Nantwich Town came out narrow 2-1 winners over Hyde United.
The visitors set up in a 4-4-2 to counter Hyde’s 4-2-3-1 but in truth, that didn’t really matter as the weather caused problems for both teams. Swirling wind and rain stayed for the entire match, with both teams struggling to find a way to beat it.
The first goal kick in the match showed just how strong it was as Jaaskelainen’s kick held up in the air before racing out for a throw in! A Hyde corner on 15 minutes provided the first chances of the game with numerous shots blocked off the line by the Nantwich defence.
Despite Nantwich dominating possession and controlling play, the tigers took the lead when a whipped cross by Platt found Roberts at the back post who headed past Jaaskelainen. The majority of the half found Nantwich on the front foot but without many attempts to show for it until Cooke went down in the area, fouled by Smalley, winning a penalty. He stepped up and smashed the ball into the roof of the net to level the game.
In the second half, Nantwich were no longer kicking against the wind and they used it to their advantage more than Hyde could in the first half, shown by minimal attempts and possession for the home side after the break.
Nantwich grabbed the goal they were searching for when the wind took hold of a powerful shot by Cooke, hitting Fagbola’s leg then trickling past a helpless Peter Crook, to get his second of the game.
Hyde struggled to find a way to deal with the elements in the entire second half, and the score line may have been more in the end, if it wasn’t for the excellent Crook in the Hyde goal. His trio of great saves from Morgan, Mwasile and then from a 35-yard cracker by Cooke, stopped the score from increasing and kept Nantwich top of the division.
Nantwich manager Dave Cooke commented on his team’s desire to win. “I thought we played some excellent football today and deserved the win, so I’m delighted”. Darren Kelly was happy with the efforts but became “frustrated by the way we played in the second half”.
Report By George Rothwell