Albion splash their way to next round
By Phil Chadwick
Report kindly supplied by PAUL HARPER
Witton Albion made it through to the Second Round of the Integro League Cup after a 2-1 win over Widnes at a rain-soaked Wincham Park. (Thanks to Vijay Anthwal for photo)
Manager Carl Macauley rang the changes giving both Chris Noone and Delial Brewster their first starts of this campaign, recalling Matthew Coughlan from Bootle whilst affording Harvey Whyte his debut appearance.
With conditions difficult, both sides continued to try and play good passing football, which was a credit to them both.
And with that in mind, there were very few opportunities in the opening minutes of the game, Delial Brewster firing wide for the Albion while George Webster fired over for the visitors.
The scoring was opened on 20 minutes through an unlikely source. Left back Matty Devine found himself in an attacking position, receiving the ball inside the penalty area. He took the ball past the goalkeeper before sliding it into the net to give Witton the lead.
And that advantage was doubled soon after. A perfectly weighted through ball found striker Will Jones in on goal and he found the back of the net with an elegant finish, dinking the ball over the outrushing goalkeeper.
Ex-Albion forward Jamie Rainford went close for Widnes. He showed a nice piece of skill to loft the ball over his marker but his shot on goal was wayward and flew high and not so handsome.
The two goalscorers were close to adding to their tallies around the half-hour mark. Firstly, Devine tried his luck from distance only for his effort to be spilled by goalkeeper Richard Mottram and cleared by the Widnes defence. And then a poor clearance by Mottram fell to Jones on the volley. His strike was sweet but narrowly off target.
Widnes had a goal disallowed eight minutes before the break while, at the other end, Brewster was causing problems with firstly a blocked shot and then a piledriver straight at Mottram after a good forward run in what was the final opportunity of an entertaining first half.
During the half-time interval the match officials had a good look at the pitch but thankfully the combination of the monsoon like rain relenting and the superb Albion groundstaff forking the particular area of concern allowed play to continue, much to Witton and their hardy supporters relief.
The visitors pulled a goal back shortly after the restart. A neat through ball saw Dale Korie-Butler one-on-one with Greg Hall and he guided the ball past the Witton shot-stopper with the outside of his boot to half the deficit.
Devine had a couple of half chances, with shots blocked away from goal as Albion looked to restore their two-goal advantage, before Jay Foley was introduced into the fray on 63 minutes to replace Brewster.
His first action of the game was a goalbound effort which was blocked on its way into the bottom corner of the net by a Widnes defender to prevent an instant impact from the substitute.
A spate of substitutions and fouls followed as the flow of the game was halted too often for either team to make a sustained effort for further goals.
Danny McKenna fired wide from 25 yards and Matty Coughlan saw a low shot well saved by Mottram as the game came to its conclusion with Carl Macauley's team making their way into the draw for the next round.