PREVIEW | Nantwich Town (A)
A win on Saturday would be a much-needed confidence booster after three defeats in four games for Dunston. It was a 3-1 defeat last time out as Ashington took full advantage of a below par performance from Dunston in league action.
Attention now turns back to The FA Trophy with a long trip to Nantwich. A victory for Dunston would see us reach the Third Qualifying Round for the third successive season. In the previous two seasons, Dunston have been eliminated at the First Round Proper stage.
In the 2021-22 season, Dunston made it past Worksop Town, Workington and Bamber Bridge in the three qualifying rounds before eventually falling short away at Marine. Last season, Dunston made it past Mossley, Bootle and Ashton United before being narrowly edged out by Coalville Town in the First Round Proper.
Therefore, Dunston would need to progress through the next two rounds in order to equal their record in this competition.
Nantwich are a club in fantastic form. Although they currently sit in 16th place in the Northern Premier League West, they have only played four league games, whereas most other clubs have played six or seven.
The main reason for The Dabbers only playing four league games is due to their excellent form in cup competitions. In all competitions, Nantwich have played nine times this season and have won six times, which includes their last three games.
Most recently, Nantwich toppled Banbury United of the National League North in the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round. A 2-1 win for The Dabbers with goals from Troy Bourne and Byron Harrison.
The hosts possess a lot of firepower up front, perhaps no more than AJ Leitch-Smith. The 33-year-old striker played over 100 times in the Football League for Crewe Alexandra, as well as playing for Dundee, Port Vale, Yeovil Town, Shrewsbury and Morecambe.
Jon McDonald spoke after Saturday's defeat at Ashington and mentioned how the first half performance was below the standards that are expected.
"The players know that there aren't any easy games at this level. The first half performance in its entirety was nowhere near that standard that is expected.
"It's always important to bounce back after a defeat. We now focus on the next fixture, which is an FA Trophy game at Nantwich, who had a great result themselves in The FA Cup." McDonald said.
Dunston also welcomed back key players from injury on Saturday such as Jack Maskell and Liam Thear. Chris McDonald and Michael Pearson have also now completed their three-game suspensions.
"It's a massive boost. We've had a difficult period with long-term injuries to Jack Maskell, Dale Pearson, Scrappy and Ritchie Coulson," McDonald said.
"We've also been missing Chris McDonald and Michael Pearson through suspension. In addition, Craig Baxter was injured last Saturday and Jack Elliott was unavailable. We are hopeful that for this game, we will have a full squad to choose from, which hasn't been the case until now."
The match will take place on Saturday September 23rd at Swansway Stadium: Waterlode, Nantwich, CW5 5BS
The game will kick-off at 3pm.
General Admission tickets are priced at: Adults (£11), Concessions (£8), Under 16 (£3). If you wish to sit, it is an extra £1 for adults and concessions. It remains £3 for Under16's.
You can buy in advance here: https://nantwichtownfc.ktckts.com/event/ntfc02/nantwich-town-v-dunston
The coach leaves the UTS Stadium at 9am. Please arrive in plenty of time if you are making the trip with us.
Preview by Callum Pattison
Image Credit - Beauty Time Photography