Pics pay penalty with stoppage time disaster

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By Walsall Advertiser | Friday, September 28, 2012, 09:20


RUSHALL slipped to a second successive Evo-Stik Premier defeat in the space of four days as they gift-wrapped the three points for mid-table Nantwich in injury time.

Following a disappointing midweek reversal at rock-bottom Eastwood, new signing Daniel Bragoli and Ahmed Obeng made their first appearances of the campaign.

The changes seemed to boost the Pics and they started brightly with Dave Walker sending Obeng scampering into the box on 21 minutes but Michael Clarke just failed to make a connection with his cross.

Rushall then had keeper Chris Gemmell to thank for maintaining the status quo two minutes later with a great save to palm away Niall Maguire's well-executed first time volley.

But the visitors did take the lead three minutes before the interval as a telling centre from the right picked out the unmarked Christian Smith and he sent a first time finish beyond Gemmell from close range.

However, the Pics were level straight from the restart as Obeng centred into the path of Walker who drilled a clinical low finish inside the near post from eight yards.

But Nantwich were immediately back in front in a crazy end to the half as Josh Craddock gave away a needless free-kick and although Gemmell saved superbly from Smith's set-piece, Will Jones reacted quickest to head home the loose ball.

Olympic were back on level terms in the 58th minute when Lei Brown's probing through ball picked out Obeng who crossed for Kyle Haynes to ruthlessly rifle beyond Town's ex-Walsall keeper Jon Brain from 12 yards.

Jones's low strike from 12 yards was saved by the legs of Gemmell, while Obeng's pacey drive forced Brain into a fine save moments later as the action swept from end to end.

Both sides continued to look for a winner as Nantwich skipper Mat Bailey's low 15-yard strike was saved by Gemmell, while Brain gathered Martin Naylor's 30-yard free kick.

The end-to-end action continued as Lewis Short drove narrowly wide from an acute angle for the visitors and Brain acrobatically tipped over Hakeem Islam's header.

However, disaster struck for Olympic in the third minute of injury time as Haynes's ill-judged backpass fell short and Gemmell upended the chasing Nantwich player in the box.

Gemmell received a caution for his troubles and worse was to come as Cooke slammed the spot kick down the middle to give Nantwich the points.

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