Albion suffer season's first home reverse
By Phil Chadwick
Report kindly supplied by PAUL HARPER
Witton Albion fell foul of a poor opening 20 minutes as they were defeated 2-1 at home against Mickleover Sports at Wincham Park.
After the excellent 2-1 win over FC United of Manchester in the FA Cup last weekend, manager Carl Macauley made two changes to the starting line-up with James Yates and Will Booth coming into the side to replace Matty Devine and Cesaire Lingouba.
It was a slow start by the hosts and Mickleover did well to capitalise, scoring twice in the opening 17 minutes.
The first strike came on six minutes with a free kick just to the right of the penalty area. Player-manager John McGrath stepped up to take it and swung a wicked shot which beat Greg Hall and snook in at the near post.
Their advantage was doubled on 17 minutes when a ball over the top found Evan Garnett who burst down on goal. River Humphreys did his best to hold up the striker, but he wriggled himself enough room to square the ball across the penalty area where strike partner Nathan Jarman found himself free to tap home.
The two-goal deficit sprung the home team into life, and soon after, Will Jones found Danny McKenna on the left edge of the penalty area. On his unfavoured right foot, the midfielder struck a dangerous shot which was destined for the top corner of the net until Sports goalkeeper Lewis King raised his hand to tip it onto the crossbar before the ball went out for a Witton corner.
James Foley was next to go close for the hosts, from a similar position to McKenna's earlier effort. This time, McKenna was the provider and Foley's effort flew inches over the crossbar.
Just before the half-hour mark, Witton almost pulled a goal back after Billy Smart closed down goalkeeper King with the ball ricocheting across the face of the goal, only for Mickleover captain Tom Burgin to clear the ball away from the onrushing Jones.
The away side could and possibly should have added a third goal on 30 minutes. Again, good play by Garnett found Jarman in front of goal, he struck a goalbound effort only for a flying diving header by Humphreys to clear the ball off the goal-line. An incredible clearance!.
Garnett remained the dangerman, and when played into the clear again shortly before half time, he forced Hall into a smart save with his feet to keep it at just 2-0 at the break.
Michael Wilson replaced Foley at the beginning of the second half, with Delial Brewster added into the fray 10 minutes in to boost the forward options with Albion looking to get back into the game.
Captain Rob Hopley was close to reducing the deficit on 58 minutes, a knock down inside the penalty area falling to his feet but he couldn't keep his effort down and it went over the bar.
Brewster caught a shot sweetly on the volley midway through the second half which forced another smart save from King to tip it over the crossbar as the hosts began to look likely to get back into the game.
And two minutes later, they did manage to get themselves on the scoresheet. A good ball into the penalty area by Wilson was headed towards goal. King got fingertips to the ball and it went up in the air, before Hopley scrambled it over the line to pull the score back to 2-1.
Chris Noone replaced Booth with 17 minutes remaining and Witton tried to use the momentum to get an equaliser.
But it was the visitors who came closer to a further goal when a smart turn and shot by Jarman went narrowly wide of the target.
The closest Albion came in the latter stages was a dangerous cross by Brewster, deep into stoppage time, which was cleared away for a corner, as they suffered their first home defeat of the season.
Many Thanks to Vijay Anthwal for supplying the couple of video clips