Will comes off the bench to head the winner
Match Report kindly supplied by: Andrew Simpson, Senior Sports Writer, Northwich Guardian
TIME was running out when Prince Haywood
collected the ball in a position wide right.
He would not be rushed, and Buxton left full-back Andy McWilliams on the seat of his pants with an initial feint to cross. When he did deliver, clipped with his right foot, it was weighted perfectly to arrive at the back post.
Substitute Will Jones
was waiting, and his thumping downwards header left goalkeeper Jan Budtz with no chance of stopping it. (as captured along with the accompanying photo album by Keith Clayton whom we thank once again for his excellent camera work)
Witton have a first win since being promoted to the Northern Premier League’s top-flight, and the goal that secured it was worth the wait. These points, all three of them, feel precious because they were hard-earned. Buxton, resilient and stubborn, made it so.
Carl Macauley unveiled a new-look defence, with captain Anthony Brown
flanked by Michael Wilson
and debutant Nick Ryan
With James Foley
and Ben Hedley
, a teenager who completed a loan transfer from Morecambe earlier the same day, playing for the first time in midfield, the hosts unsurprisingly took time to adjust. The Bucks sensed as much, and Joe McGee’s fizzing low shot prompted custodian Calvin Hare
to scramble low to his left to make a save.
It was congested in the centre of the pitch, and both teams cancelled each other out. However a sweeping move from one end of the field to another was an indication that Witton were feeling more comfortable.
Haywood and Hedley moved the ball swiftly into Foley’s path, and his burst ended with a prod wide for Gardner. His cross was nodded down by Rob Hopley
for Foley, only for Budtz to smother brilliantly when he fired goal-wards.
Hopley had another attempt blocked by Budtz, at close quarters and next to an upright, before the break.
Buxton broke forward when they could, but a safety-first approach often left front man Ant Wilson isolated. Alastair Taylor’s dangerous cross had Gardner scrambling to head clear, while Hare produced a stunning stop – relying purely on instinct – to claw Greg Young’s header to safety from a set-piece.
Albion created little at the other end, although Hopley was unlucky to see a header skim wide of the far post after Hedley had arced a cross in his direction.
Macauley sent on Jones, for a tiring Steve Tames
, to pep up his attack with 11 minutes left. And the striker did exactly that, stationing himself away from a marker to meet Haywood’s centre with a clean connection.
It was a clinical contribution, a trait Witton will need in games with few openings like this one.
Buxton attempted to respond, and threw bodies forward, but they did not get a glimpse of goal again.
Patience paid for Albion, but this victory was not pinched. They have four points from two games, and a win against opponents that finished just short of a play-off’s place last season.
That’s reason to feel optimistic, and then some.
Witton | 3-5-2 | Hare (GK), Michael Wilson
, Brown, Ryan, Gardner, Haywood, Foley, Hedley, Devine, Hopley, Tames (Jones 79) Subs not used Newby, Paul Williams
, Hinchliffe, Neild (GK) Goal Jones 87
Buxton | 4-5-1 | Budtz (GK), Meade, Maguire, Young, McWilliams, Taylor, Ravenhill, Hinsley, McGee (Smith 74), Doran (Tyler Williams 83), Ant Wilson Subs not used Jake Williams, Jameson (GK) Booked Ravenhill, Hinsley (both fouls)
Referee Connor Brown Attendance 336