Albion Defeat The Gladiators
Steven Tames' very late penalty rebound gives Witton the win.
In what was throughout, a very intense game, Steve Tames' late winner sealed gave The Albion the three points to take back home.
The game started out with both sides testing the waters in each others half with no real chances created until in the 6th minute when Matlock's No.10, Lee Bennett, nearly caught Ryan Neild off his line but his lobbed effort went a fair way over the bar.
It took until the 12th minute for Witton to really get the ball moving as Danny McKenna's whipped in cross after cutting in onto his left foot was met by Owen Dale, only for his header to be saved at point-blank range by MTFC keeper, Phil Barnes, his save resulting in the last touch coming from Owen Dale and out for a goal kick.
A couple of minutes later, Dale opened the scoring with a cracking finish, one that was arched perfectly into the top corner, a finish that got a few Matlock fans applauding.
The Gladiators had their first clear-cut chance of the game when a delivery from Matlock's left side was met by prolific forward, Shaun Harrad only for his stretched effort to go past the near post. The Albion continued to push on for a second goal when Owen Dale put Matty Devine through with a fantastic backheel; Devine drove further forward into the box but his squared pass, aimed towards Rob Hopley, was hit out by an incoming Matlock defender.
The half time whistle went and you had to be surprised with Witton not making most of the chances handed to them.
With the exception of Calvin Hare, Witton had a full squad to choose from, however Ryan Neild coming in for the aforementioned Calvin Hare was the only change in Carl Macauley's starting eleven from the game at Grantham a fortnight ago.
Carl expressed his delight to the Northwich Guardian this week that he had a full squad available for the first time in a while after the plethora of injuries. Macauley said, “I think it’s the first time this season when we’ve had everybody available for selection. That’s definitely a good thing for us as a management team, but it also means there will be one or two disappointed players not involved.”
The Albion kick carried on the momentum from the first half into the second as Owen Dale's cross from the right found Steven Tames but his acrobatically-hit effort was calmly claimed by Phil Barnes.
Witton doubled their lead on the 56th minute when Will Jones made most of Brad-Lee Gascoigne's misfortune and his shot going under the keeper and through the near post sending the away fans into hysteria.
On the 63rd minute, Lee Bennett pulled one back for the hosts with a header at the far post from a corner and then within the space of four minutes, Shaun Harrad's wonderfully executed volley finds it self planted into the far corner leaving Ryan Neild helpless.
The momentum did switch to the hosts for a while but after Will Jones got sent off for an unknown incident, Matlock's intensity dropped and allowed Witton to get a foothold of the game again.
In the 85th minute, Steven Tames and James Foley had efforts on goal, seconds within each other to possibly grab a late winner but neither could find the target.
In the 91st minute, Joe Doyle-Charles picked up a second yellow for a wreckless challenge on James Foley and Matlock were also reduced to 10 men.
The 95th minute came around, with only 5 minutes of added time given, Steven Tames was hauled down in the area and a penalty was awarded to The Albion resulting in mass fury from Matlock players, coaching staff and supporters. After a couple of minutes of drama, Steven Tames' penalty was saved by Phil Barnes but only for the rebound to be smashed in by Tames resulting in numerous fist pumps and plenty of celebrations from The Albion faithful.
The Full-time whistle was blown to give Witton another 3 points on the road and extending our unbeaten away record to 7 games. We move up to 9th in the league with games in hand on Barwell and Farsley Celtic. Next up Witton travel to Mickleover on Tuesday night in the Integro Doodson's League Cup and then Whitby Town in the league on the Saturday.