Albion's feathers get ruffled by the flying Ravens
Match Report kindly supplied by: Andrew Simpson, Senior Sports Writer, Northwich Guardian
WITTON Albion have travelled a long way, both literally and figuratively, so far this season.
However a next step to the Northern Premier League’s summit proved too far at Coalville. They had it in their sights, particularly in an opening period during which both teams created a glut of chances while converting one apiece.
Steve Towers, the Ravens’ captain, swooped to score the winner in the second-half though when he nudged Blair Anderson’s corner into the net from close range.
Their guests, depleted by the absence of goalkeeper Calvin Hare and midfielder Prince Haywood, struggled to recalibrate after losing full-back Matty Devine to injury. They tried plenty of alternatives, but there was a sense by the final whistle that three successive away games – and a formation with one too many players filling in – that they’d run out of steam.
It did not help their cause that Coalville, for whom attacking duo Blair Anderson and Nat Watson were an ever-present menace until their withdrawal, are in effervescent form at the moment. Indeed, Tommy Brookbanks’ men have risen to fifth in the table, drawing level on points with Witton, as a reward for a fifth successive victory. And they deserved it too.
Albion began brightly though, and Devine’s driven shot was blocked by a defender inside the first 60 seconds. Steve Tames then sent Will Jones clear with a clever pass, but goalkeeper Matt Coton was alert to stop him.
Coalville took the lead from their next attack. Watson’s cross from the right flank was perfect, and Tom McGlinchey applied a finishing touch with a firm header.
Albion were level inside five minutes. Paul Williams’ shot ought to have been smothered by Coton, but he spilled it. Jones pounced to steer the loose ball towards Rob Hopley who, falling forwards, guided it over the line with his torso. (Captured perfectly on film by Keith Clayton as the sequence above shows)
Anderson prompted Ryan Neild, standing in for Hare, to jab a boot in the way of his driven attempt before a moment of rare controversy.
Ravens’ right-back Kyle Bryant handled deliberately to prevent Jones’ flick from sending James Foley clear, and escaped with a caution from referee Andrew Dallison. He got lucky!
Daniel Creaney then fluffed a sitter when an Albion defender smuggled off the line after Watson and McGlinchey combined smartly on the right. Devine had tried to turn sharply to chase the latter, and left the field shortly afterwards with what appeared to be a recurrence of a previous hamstring injury.
Coalville conjured their next chance on the opposite wing, and Watson deserved better than for his arcing effort to clatter a post. Towers, left unmarked, sent a header off-target from an Anderson corner before Witton rallied again.
Tames danced away from two defenders before teeing up Jones, and his half-volley was parried brilliantly by Coton. He was ready too when Hopley fired a follow-up attempt his way.
Albion were served a warning shortly after the interval when Dean Freeman redirected Anderson’s set-piece and Neild’s instinctive reaction was fast enough to tip the ball onto the crossbar. However his intervention will have felt in vain when Towers stabbed in the resulting corner.
Albion went closest to pinching a point when Tames’ shot skimmed the woodwork. Coalville could similarly make a case their margin of victory could have been wider had substitute Massiah McDonald not wasted two glorious chances with only Neild to beat.
It did not matter, for his side still inflicted a first away defeat of the season on Carl Macauley’s men.
Coalville | 4-4-2 | Coton (GK), Bryant, Jenno, Freeman, Taylor, McGlinchey (McDonald 79), Towers, Hollis, Anderson (Bassett 83), Watson (Mellors-Blair 79) & Creaney. Subs not used: Pegg & Hannis (GK) Goals: McGlinchey 6 & Towers 54 Booked: Watson (foul), Bryant (handball)
Witton | 4-4-3 | Neild (GK), Gardner, Brown, Ryan, Devine (Evans 25), Hedley, Williams, Foley, Tames (Greenop 86), Hopley & Jones. Subs not used: Coughlan & Wilson. Goal: Hopley 11
Referee Andrew Dallison Attendance 159