Albion's Dolly Mixture Of A Game Earns 3 Points
By Phil Chadwick
Superb defensive performance after Smart sees Red
Albion had to produce a tremendous rear guard action, playing with 10 men, to defend their lead for over an hour as they play commence a catch-up period in their league programme.
The only goal of the game came in the 16th minute when Altrincham loanee, back for a second period almost five years after his initial one, Liam Goulding saw his near post attempt cleared off the line, the ball arriving at Jay Foley’s feet out on the left and his cross was rifled home by captain Rob Hopley.
Both Foley, his shot pushed away by keeper Jack Simms, and Hopley who cut along the by-line before the ball was scrambled away, saw their efforts produce corner kicks. Following the latter on the half hour mark, Billy Smart went down with City’s skipper Simon Wills and at first there didn’t appear to be a problem.
However claims from the visitors, allegedly for biting, saw referee Kristian Silcock produce a red card for Smart whilst cautioning City’s Glenn Steel in the aftermath. What the man in black failed to spot though was Wills’s upraised foot towards Smart’s groin area!
A further altercation five minutes from the break further incensed the home bench when Craig Stanley was only booked for taking Will Jones out of the game.
Just before the interval Hopley under pressure somehow managed to get a shot away when on the ground that needed a good save from Simms by tipping the ball over the bar.
Although Danny McKenna picked up a booking, for using his arm in a challenge, two minutes after the break thankfully in the second period football prevailed.
A whipped in corner from Foley evaded everyone in a rare Albion attack just before the hour mark but from then on Lancaster launched attack after attack.
Greg Hall needed the assistance of his teammates Goulding, Danny McKenna and substitute Michael Wilson to clear shots off the line from Paul Dugdale and Steve Williams, whilst himself performing brilliantly to maintain his 8th clean sheet of the campaign.
It was Witton though who could have sewn the match up three minutes from time but Tom Owens, having lobbed keeper Simms, also cleared the crossbar.
Must single out Liam Goulding, who’s hardly played since August, for added praise after being pitched straight into central defence when River Humphreys was confined to bed.
So it was three most welcome points following almost a month without a league match and only playing our second home Saturday league fixture. Albion now have two scheduled Tuesday home league matches as they make inroads on catching up all the other division’s teams games played and hopefully climb further up the table.
Many thanks to VIJAY ANTHWAL for providing the couple of interesting video clips together with the still photographs that include our American supporter Shawn Minnier who took in the match in his one day stop in England en route to France for a wee holiday. Also nice to see Witton Willy back on the scene!