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Witton Albion
J Bembo-Leta (20' Sent Off), S Tames (61' Pen), R Hopley (93')
Full time
Sat 30 Dec 15:00 - The Evo-Stik League - The EVO-STIK Premier Division Attendance 270

Rob Hopley’s late goal earns draw

Match Report kindly supplied by: Andrew Simpson, Senior Sports Writer, Northwich Guardian

THIS time Witton Albion were happy for history to repeat. Thwarted by a stoppage-time goal on Boxing Day, they savoured scoring one of their own to pinch a point that appeared out of their reach.

They played for more than an hour with 10 men following Joel Bembo-Leta’s dismissal, and fell behind twice.

However an equaliser by Rob Hopley, swept past goalkeeper Michael Turner from James Foley’s cross, was a worthy reward for their resilience.

Witton Albion v Barwell 30-12-17 (By Keith Clayton)
16 photos

It was heartening for Gary Martindale, again standing in for manager Carl Macauley while he recovers from a virus, to see spirit from a side far from their fluid best. There was stamina too and with four senior players ruled out by an injury, Albion’s small squad is being tested.

They were tepid in the first-half on Saturday, although referee Connor Brown didn’t help. He was right to caution Bembo-Leta for handball after quarter of an hour, although a decision to repeat the trick less than five minutes later was unduly harsh.

The ball squirted unexpectedly off an opponent before striking the defender’s arm, and he had no time to react. To rub it in, Matt Stenson bent the resulting free-kick into the bottom-corner to put the visitors in front.

Hopley switched to a role in defence, alongside Michael Wilson, when Witton reshuffled. They were invisible in attack, save for when Barwell gifted them an opportunity.

Owen Dale intercepted Declan Towers’ sloppy pass, only for his feeble finish to trickle wide. Instead the hosts went closest when Elliot Percival, under pressure at the back-post, was left to thank custodian Liam Castle after he diverted the full-back’s sliced clearance to safety.

Albion, perhaps conscious their guests were reluctant to risk much despite having an extra man, improved after the interval.

They drew level on 61 minutes when Steve Tames’ penalty squirmed into the net (as captured above by Keith Clayton) after Dale had been felled by Castle in the area. Barwell’s net-minder was concussed by the contact, and suffered a cut above his eye too, and stand-in Turner almost stopped the spot-kick.

The Canaries rallied, and Eddie Nisevic’s low drive prompted Albion number one Calvin Hare to save smartly low to his left. The same player drilled with power straight at the goalkeeper from his next attempt.

Barwell’s spell of pressure did bring a dividend when Heath arced a shot out of Hare’s reach when a free-kick was cleared in his direction.

Albion did not wilt though, and Wilson blazed over after Tom Owens’ attempt deflected kindly. Tames then conjured an chance for Will Jones from the right, only for the front man to miss the target after failing to time his connection.

Witton levelled from their best move of the match. Tames threaded a pass into space behind Nisevic, and Foley picked out Hopley with a precise cross from the right. The striker did the rest!

Witton | 4-4-2 | Hare (GK), Haywood, Bembo-Leta, Wilson, McKenna, Tames, Foley, Owens, Dale, Hopley & Jones. Subs not used: Evans, Devine, Cesaire & Neild (GK). Booked: Bembo-Leta (handball) Sent off: Bembo-Leta (second caution for handball). Goals: Tames 61 (penalty), Hopley 90 (+3)

Barwell | 4-3-3 | Castle (GK) (Turner GK 60), Percival, Stanley, Towers, Nisevic, Hickey, Heath, Hildreth, Whitmore, Stenson (Piggon 66) & Story. Subs not used: Ball, Bates & Warmington. Goals: Stenson 22, Heath 71. Booked: Towers, Castle, Heath (all fouls), Hildreth (dissent)

Referee Connor Brown

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Rob Hopley

Player of the Match

Rob Hopley

Key moments

Red Card Joel Bembo-Leta is sent off for Witton Albion
Scored Penalty Steve Tames scores a penalty for Witton Albion
90:00 +3:00
Goal Rob Hopley scores for Witton Albion

Videos and photos


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90:00 +3:00 Goal 2 - 0
Rob Hopley scores for Witton Albion
90:00 Player of the Match
Rob Hopley is awarded player of the match for Witton Albion
61:00 Scored Penalty 1 - 0
Steve Tames scores a penalty for Witton Albion
End of period 1
20:00 Red Card 0 - 0
Joel Bembo-Leta is sent off for Witton Albion
16:00 Yellow Card
Joel Bembo-Leta is yellow carded for Witton Albion
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Witton Albion
  • Barwell
  • 0
  • Joel Bembo-Leta Yellow Card 16:00'
  • Joel Bembo-Leta Red Card 20:00'
  • Steve Tames Scored Penalty 61:00'
  • Rob Hopley Goal 90:00 +3:00'

Team selection

Hare, Calvin Hare, Calvin
Haywood, Prince Haywood, Prince
Bembo-Leta, Joel Bembo-Leta, Joel
Dale, Owen Dale, Owen
Wilson, Michael Wilson, Michael
McKenna, Danny McKenna, Danny
Tames, Steve Tames, Steve
Foley, James Foley, James
Jones, Will Jones, Will
Hopley, Rob Hopley, Rob
Owens, Tom Owens, Tom

League round up

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Altrincham 46 95
2. Ashton United 46 82
3. Warrington Town 46 82
4. Grantham Town 46 81
5. Farsley Celtic 46 80
6. Shaw Lane 46 79
7. Witton Albion 46 70

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