Marine hold Albion to goalless stalemate
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, for now at least, appear to have stalled.
There were signs things weren’t running smoothly at the weekend and they rarely did more than splutter against opponents for whom a point felt precious. It will alarm Carl Macauley that his side didn’t do more to make them earn it. They haven’t scored now in approaching four hours on the field, and might have lost had Marine – who finished strongly – been more composed when they got a glimpse of goal.
Their determination to impress caretaker manager Ian Johnson, who picked the team following Tommy Lawson’s resignation on Sunday, deserved a share of the spoils. A five-man back-line rarely left gaps for striped shirts to dart into, and Albion didn’t shoot at goal until James Foley dragged an attempt wide of the target on 35 minutes.
Goalkeepers at both ends were more occupied after the interval and Kenny Strickland curled a free-kick narrowly wide for the visitors. At the other end, Rob Hopley fired high with his left foot after taming a pass clipped into his body by James Yates.
Marine attacked when they could, and wing-back James Short scuffed an attempt into Greg Hall’s hands at the end of one foray forward. Macauley responded by sending on Billy Smart and Delial Brewster, switching to a 4-3-3 formation, and almost reaped a reward when Will Jones’ fired past the far upright.
Strickland’s speculative effort, after he received a short corner, dipped a fraction too late. James Murray was next to try his luck, but he couldn’t call Hall into action after ghosting onto Tony Donaldson’s pass.
Witton changed faces again when Anthony Gardner replaced Yates but still failed to run up a head of steam. The substitute did drive one cross into the area that reached Smart and the midfielder was flustered enough in shooting stride by a recovering defender to send his effort too high. Hopley then spun away from Danny Shaw to meet Hall’s long kick only for the ball to flash across the face of goal without a decisive touch.
Growing more desperate, Albion continued to push forward. Their best chance fell to Brewster, who shot low and hard, but Marine custodian Martin Fearon shoved a strong left hand into the ball’s path to divert it from danger. He was similarly brave to throw himself in the way of another Gardner cross, this one driven with pace, in the contest’s dying seconds. A goal then would have been harsh on the visitors.
Witton | 4-3-1-2 | Hall (GK), Yates (Gardner 65), Humphreys, Wardle, Devine (Smart 53), Foley, Cesaire (Brewster 53), McKenna, Owens, Hopley, Jones. Subs not used: Wilson & Noone. Booked: Yates, Hopley (both fouls)
Marine | 5-3-2 | Fearon (GK), Hine, Shaw, Strickland, Doyle, Short, Carney, Donaldson, Hynes (Kinsella 70), Murray (Reid 75), Mitchley. Subs not used: Joyce, Davies & Mendes (GK)
Referee Connor Brown Attendance 241