9:31am Thursday 18th September 2008
By Toby Robinson
DAVE Walker fired Nantwich Town through to the next round of the FA Cup last night.
The striker's hat-trick sealed their replay at FC United.
Nantwich came away from Gigg Lane last night clutching an extremely hard won victory in their FA Cup First Qualifying Round replay. The result was in stark contrast to the score less draw at the Weaver Stadium last Saturday and the ‘Dabbers’ were under no illusions – they were in for a very tough encounter against the other ‘United’ and so it proved.
Meanwhile, head coach Steve Davis went with an unchanged starting eleven whilst amongst the 7 substitutes defender Richard Smith declared himself fit following recent illness whilst fellow defender Gyorgy Kiss was named in the squad for the first time this season to take his place on the bench.
Nantwich were under pressure from the start – FC United winning 3 early corners but without capitalising on their domination. However, despite the early pressure it was Nantwich who nosed in front in the 14th minute through Dave Walker, who eventually went on to complete a hat-trick in this most pulsating of cup ties. In the build up, a Danny Griggs free kick found Charlie O’Loughlin who turned to head the ball into the path of Dave Walker before firing past United ‘keeper Sam Ashton from close range.
In truth, from the moment the goal went in, Nantwich were largely second best for the remainder of the half but, the ‘Dabbers’ soaked up the pressure to go in at half time holding a slender lead.
Nantwich stunned the home support when they increased their lead in the 47th minute. Midfielder Glyn Blackhurst was the provider for hat-trick hero Walker – delivering a perfectly weighted through ball into the path of Walker who in turn split the centre of the United defence before slotting past Ashton for the second time in the match. But, there was more to come from Nantwich and in the 49th minute, Charlie O’Loughlin rose to plant a bullet header from a left sided corner kick over Ashton into the roof of the net.
But, despite the deficit the home side dug deep to raise a fight back and in the 57th minute Simon Carden took advantage of some wayward defending to reduce the deficit whilst 10 minutes later, the earlier 3 goal margin was restored in favour of Nantwich after substitute Phil Parkinson was brought down in the box – Dave Walker stepping up to the spot before coolly slotting home his first ever penalty for the ‘Dabbers’.
Meanwhile, it was like a cauldron inside Gigg Lane – the fanatical United supporters delivering barrage after barrage of support and in the 73rd minute United’s Danny Self scored to set up an extremely tense finish. Wave after wave of attacks rained upon Nantwich before Kyle Wilson struck in the 89th minute with his 9th goal of the season. Then, the board went up to indicate 4 minutes of added time – more pressure to bear for the ‘Dabbers’ and the noise just got louder but eventually the time ran out for FC United and it is Nantwich who meet FC Halifax Town in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round at the Weaver Stadium on Saturday 27th of September.