Contrast in fortunes for the Albion's Wills
By Phil Chadwick
Match Report kindly supplied by: Andrew Simpson, Senior Sports Writer, Mid-Cheshire Guardian series - http://www.northwichguardian.co.uk/sport/
WITTON Albion did what they needed to and without fuss.
Given their stumbles, all of them notorious, in years past against apparent no-hopers then they deserve credit for their diligence.
Will Jones’ goal, the only one of the game, was worthy of winning it. The front man still had plenty to do when captain Rob Hopley flicked on goalkeeper Greg Hall’s long kick forward midway through the opening period. However he struck the ball instantly after controlling it, angling a shot low and true out of the reach of North Ferriby United custodian Lewis Exall.
“Job done,” reflected assistant manager Gary Martindale afterwards. Succinct, perhaps, but undeniably true with it.
A distance from the Northern Premier League top-flight's relegation zone is now nine points and Albion still have at least two games in hand on every rival below them apart from second-bottom Workington. Coincidentally, their next destination is Cumbria. It’s a journey they can make with a lighter burden after prevailing in successive Premier Division matches at Wincham Park for the first time this season.
A trend had been set before Jones’ decisive moment; the Villagers, beaten in their previous nine league games before this one, arrived intent on stopping that sequence. Witton dominated possession, but they were kept honest too by James Nichols who prompted Hall to block at his near post after scampering away from Josh Wardle.
Danny McKenna was wasteful after Jones laid off, shooting waywardly, before the home team suffered a blow when Will Booth left the field on a stretcher with a serious-looking knee injury after catching his studs in the turf.
Manager Carl Macauley reshuffled, sending on Osebi Abadaki and switching James Foley to a central role, before referee Richard Holmes turned down Albion’s appeal for a penalty after Jack Mail grabbed a fistful of Tom Owens’ shirt.
Jones was then thwarted by Exall’s smart stop after Owens turned provider. Abadaki failed to hit the target, as did River Humphreys who scuffed his attempt after Exall diverted McKenna’s free-kick into his path.
A list of chances in the second-half was longer still.
Nichols again sounded a warning when he shot straight at Hall but the table’s back-markers did not threaten again.
Instead they rode their luck when Jones fired against the crossbar and Abadaki skewed the loose ball wide. He then wriggled away from a defender and crossed for Owens who fluffed an initial attempt before seeing his second deflected to safety.
Witton’s most coherent move followed when Matty Devine and McKenna combined neatly on the left before the former pulled back and Hopley’s shot on the stretch was blocked instinctively by Exall.
The visitors were then reduced to 10 men when Jake Martindale was booked for a second time after hauling down Abadaki.
Hopley sliced wide after the substitute's lofted pass located him in space before Exall flew across goal to claw away Humphreys’ powerful header.
And there was enough time left for him to intervene again when he sprinted from his line to smother Foley’s shot after Jones cushioned a header into his teammate’s path.
Albion might have won by five or six but the prize would still have been the same.
Witton | 4-4-2 | Hall (GK), Gardner, Humphreys, Wardle, Devine, McKenna (Smart 84), Booth (Abadaki 36), Owens, Foley, Hopley, Jones Subs not used Cobley, Cesaire Goal Jones 22 Booked Wardle (foul), Humphreys (dissent)
North Ferriby | 4-5-1 | Exall (GK), Dan Nichols (Windass 80), Harrison, Mail, Brettell, James Nichols, Jack Smith, Leyland (Leon Smith 78), Martindale, Payne (Vickers 76), Piercey Sub not used Robinson Booked Martindale, Piercey, Brettell (all fouls) Sent off Martindale (second booking)
Referee Richard Holmes Attendance 306
Many thanks once more to Karl Brooks Photography
Also to Vijay Anthwal for his 3 video clips