Albion shut out Trinity during stalemate
By Phil Chadwick
Match Report kindly supplied by: Andrew Simpson, Senior Sports Writer, Mid-Cheshire Guardian series - http://www.northwichguardian.co.uk/sport/
THIS was more like the Witton Albion we’ve grown accustomed in the season’s early stages.
Trouble is, that’s both good and bad.
Carl Macauley said in the summer that he wanted to fortify Wincham Park because enemies found it too easy to pilfer points when they visited. In five games there to date, only one opponent has scored and none have won.
But the scales have tipped, and a return of six goals in eight Northern Premier League fixtures is a concern. In a contest weighed down by attrition, they at least looked more likely to break through than a Gainsborough side that plundered eight goals during a rout of Chasetown in midweek.
There was friction too; six yellow cards and 26 fouls are proof of that. Witton supporters called for a red one too when Joe Maguire scythed down James Foley on 10 minutes.
That would have been harsh, and instead the Albion boss was furious afterwards that the match officials failed to spot Nathan Stainfield grab a fistful of Rob Hopley’s shirt in the second-half.
It was inside the penalty area, and prevented the striker from reaching a crossed ball. In a game of so few chances, it felt significant.
Hopley’s looping header, from Danny McKenna’s cross, dipped too late to trouble goalkeeper Jon Stewart during the early exchanges.
McKenna curled a free-kick past an upright too, while at the other end Albion custodian Greg Hall needed two attempts to gather Alex Byrne’s powerfully-struck set-piece.
However referee Daniel Bruce’s whistle so often interrupted the action that it was little surprise neither side gathered any momentum.
The pattern didn’t deviate in the second-half, and Josh Wardle couldn’t control a header when he met Foley’s free-kick. Byrne jinked inside full-back James Yates at the other end but his attempt from an acute angle flashed over.
And that was how the game continued to unfold; players going for goal with only glimpses of the target rather than having a clear sight of it.
Ashley Worsfold, Gainsborough’s centre-forward, was brave to throw himself in the way of River Humphreys’ goal-bound drive after Stewart had failed to use his fist to divert a cross to safety.
McKenna was unfortunate when, after drifting infield from the right, his curling shot brushed an upright.
Gainsborough’s stamina lasted longer though, and their most threatening spell arrived in the closing stages. Damian Reeves, shooting on the turn, was thwarted by a defender’s deflection that took all power out of his attempt. Alex Simmons’ free-kick didn’t trouble Hall, while Simon Russell’s drive from distance sailed high.
Witton at least summoned the energy to mount a final attack, although Billy Smart’s header was off-target from Will Jones’ scooped cross.
For the teams to be separated at that late stage would have been unjust.
While Macauley figures out a way to eke more goals from his side, he can take comfort from the fact they’re solid enough to buy him more time.
Witton | 4-4-2 | Hall (GK), Yates, Humphreys (Michael Wilson 84), Wardle, Devine, McKenna, Cesaire, Smart, Foley, Hopley, Jones Subs not used Whyte, Noone, Moore (GK) Booked Smart, Devine, Humphreys (all fouls)
Trinity | 4-4-2 | Stewart (GK), Austin, Maguire, Stainfield, Gordon, Byrne, Russell, King, Simmons, Worsfold, Reeves (Clarke 84) Subs not used Hough, Evans, Elliot Wilson Booked Maguire, Gordon (both fouls), Stewart (time-wasting)
Referee Daniel Bruce Attendance 241