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Shootout and red card misery as Town exit Trophy

Nantwich Town 0

Stratford Town 0

(Nantwich won 4-2 on pens)

STRATFORD Town bowed out of the FA Trophy on Saturday, hosts Nantwich booking their place in the second round – and a home tie with Chester – after winning the penalty shootout.

Bards boss Gavin Hurren made three changes from the midweek draw at Berkhamsted with Lee Vaughan in for the injured Dan Vann, Chris Hussey replacing Liam Daly and Charlie Williams handed a place in the starting line-up following Riley O’Sullivan’s move to Spalding United.

Nantwich’s 3G surface proved to be a leveller as players struggled to control the ball on their slow carpet but the visitors were able to dominate for long periods without being able to create too many decent goalscoring opportunities with the Northern Premier Midland Division side having the more clear-cut chances.

The Bards had a chance on four minutes when Callum Ebanks laid the ball off to Dan Lafferty who in turn put Williams through on goal only for the ball to get caught under his feet and his shot lacked power.

The Dabbers responded by creating their best chance of the game. From a quick free-kick which caught out the Bards defence, the ball was played in only for Steven Hewitt to be pulled back by Paul McCone on the edge of the area earning the skipper a yellow card. From the resulting free-kick Hewitt then struck the post with Liam O’Brien well beaten.

There was a feisty start to the second half but Stratford settled into their stride and had their best spell in the game around the hour mark as Alex Worley and Lee Vaughan began to maraud down the flanks. Jack Storer and Williams combined with the latter’s cross just eluding Ebanks while Tom Solanke capped his man-of-the-match performance in midfield with two shots from outside of the box which sailed just over the bar.

But having been in control, the game changed with the dismissal of Vaughan on 70 minutes for a second booking.

Worley let fly with a fierce volley on 78 minutes which brought a smart save form the Nantwich keeper while Storer continued to try and inspire the Bards with his trickery.

But there was to be no way through for the visitors leading to the penalty shootout. O’Brien, who had had little to do throughout the game, saved one of the kicks but the home side’s Danny Roberts saved two to edge the Dabbers through.

Nantwich: Roberts, Bourne, Lawton (Rooney 29), Ali, Butler, Heath (Kirby 46), Hewitt, Harrison (Cooke 80), Kay, Evans. Subs (not used): Okome, Speare.

Stratford: O’Brien, Vaughan, Worley, Hussey, McCone, Solanke, Williams, Ison, Ebanks, Lafferty, Storer. Subs not used: Daly, Beresford, Wildbore, O’Sullivan, Barkers.

Referee: Graeme Kearney

Att: 279

Bards Star Man: Tom Solanke

Opposition Star Man: Danny Roberts

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