One of the best things about the FA Cup is the opportunity for us to be paired with unfamiliar faces – like Nantwich Town in 2017. The Dabbers were sent down to us for what was only their second-ever outing in Round One of the competition. Otherwise, the chances of us meeting in any other capacity are extremely restricted due to the fact they compete in the Northern Premier League. And they’d have to get up to the National League to stand any sort of chance of meeting us as equals.
The story of the Dabbers is one that goes back into the 19th century; born in 1884 and a team that takes great pride in its long path to the present day. Much of that journey is an unassuming one; starting out in competitions such as the Shropshire and District League, the Combination, and some junior leagues. The years after World War Two saw the club join the Mid Cheshire League, before competing in the first-ever FA Youth Cup in 1952; drawn against a Manchester United side featuring Duncan Edwards et al.
The Dabbers lost 23-0.
A run of success in the Mid Cheshire League during the 1960s saw them win the title in 1964. After they came second a year later (the third time in four seasons they’d done so), the Dabbers opted to switch to the Manchester League – but were back in the Cheshire League within three years. Their first few efforts were a struggle, but – coupled with the addition of Town to their name in 1974 – they went on to become league champions in 1982.
That same year, the Dabbers became founder members of the North West Counties League. The 1980s, however, were not a great time for them. After immediate relegation from Division One, the club plunged as far down as Division Three; eventually climbing back up and reaching Division One again in 1989. The Dabbers then stayed at this level until 2007, by which point they had secured a maiden FA Vase triumph. And, in 2007, a strong third-placed finish saw them promoted to the Northern Premier League.
How to get to Nantwich Town – Travel Information – Distance: 152 miles
From Stevenage, you’re going to need to work your way across to the M1 by whichever method you prefer. After doing that, travel north (unsurprisingly) and continue to do so until you reach the junction with the M6. Take the northbound M6 and pass through the West Midlands; by toll or no-toll, that’s your choice too.
You don’t need to deviate from the M6 until you reach Junction 16 for the A500. Take the first exit on the roundabout after leaving the motorway, and head along the westbound A500 for around seven miles. On the outskirts of Nantwich, you’ll have a roundabout on which you need the second exit for the A51; this will soon take you straight on to become the B5074. Head into town and, shortly after passing The Leopard on your right, take the first exit at the roundabout for Hospital Street.
At the next roundabout, it’s the first exit for the A534 and then (after passing between Aldi and Morrisons) it’ll be straight over the next roundabout for the B5341. The ground is up this road on the right hand side as the gradual left bend starts to sharpen.
There is a modest car park at the stadium itself, with the advice being to arrive early if you want to take advantage of this. Otherwise, there is a long stay option at the swimming pool you’ll pass on the way towards the ground. The town centre may also be another option for you.
Services to: CREWE (for LONDON EUSTON)
The walk from the station to the football ground is relatively simple, to be fair. And it’ll take you 10-15 minutes depending on your pace. Come out of the station and turn right, walking up to the roundabout. Here, turn left and follow the road around to the right.
Head up to the traffic lights that are situated next to the river. Go across this junction and stay on the main road. Eventually, you will see the stadium appear on your right.
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