Albion concede late in draw with Brig
By Phil Chadwick
Match Report kindly supplied by: Andrew Simpson, Senior Sports Writer, Mid-Cheshire Guardian series - http://www.northwichguardian.co.uk/sport/
KIERAN Charnock, a former Northwich Victoria player, scored an injury-time equaliser for Bamber Bridge to deny Witton Albion a victory.
That he was wearing a shirt belonging to the hosts – the visitors had to borrow a kit after referee Darren Rogers ruled their away jersey clashed with the home team’s colours – didn’t help their mood. By then, Witton were weary.
They were able to name only two outfield substitutes, and one of those had to replace the other when James Yates relieved Delial Brewster only 16 minutes after his introduction. James Foley, Albion’s leading goal-scorer, had been withdrawn shortly before kick-off after succumbing to an injury sustained seven days earlier.
And yet, after falling behind to Ali Waddecar’s perfectly-executed free-kick on the hour, they summoned enough energy to fight back.
Rogers lent a hand when he judged Adam Dodd to have knocked Anthony Gardner off-balance after the full-back had burst into the penalty area.
In Foley’s absence, Michael Wilson stroked the spot-kick into the corner.
Albion took the lead a minute later when Tom Owens controlled Wilson’s deep cross with his first touch before sweeping the ball past goalkeeper Danny Roccia with his second. A surge of adrenaline saw them through the next few minutes before Brig built up a head of steam.
Charnock’s header was saved by Witton custodian Greg Hall from Chris Marlow’s cross before Darren McKnight fluffed a sitter from close-range when he met Waddecar’s centre with a diving header that bounced into the turf and over. Brig almost stole maximum points after Charnock’s goal, but Matthew Dudley failed to make a clean contact with a header after stooping to meet a cross to the far post. It would have been unjust.
Albion can make a case the contest ought to have been over before the break. Will Booth, who stood in for Foley, couldn’t prod towards goal a ball flicked into his path by Billy Smart and Danny McKenna’s drive whistled past an upright during the early exchanges. Roccia steered Owens’ shot to safety before reacting smartly to block Gardner’s blast.
Brig’s first sight of goal arrived when Hall spilled a cross at Marlow’s feet but the wide-man scuffed his shot. The former 1874 Northwich custodian redeemed himself though when he instinctively sprung to his left to parry Waddecar’s powerfully-struck penalty after Chris Noone tripped Dudley.
Albion responded, and Roccia kept out McKenna’s attempt from distance before saving brilliantly low down to divert Booth’s curling shot.
There was relief for the hosts early in the second-half when Hall kicked a clearance straight to Waddecar and his shot dropped narrowly wide with the goalkeeper out of position.
Both teams took a turn to lead before Charnock’s late intervention.
“I’m not unhappy with a point,” mused Witton boss Carl Macauley afterwards. “We had more chances in the first-half and they looked more likely to score in the second.”
Witton | 4-5-1 | Hall (GK), Gardner, Humphreys, Wardle, Wilson, McKenna, Owens, Noone, Smart, Booth (Brewster 55, Yates 71), Hopley Sub not used Eastwood (GK) Goals Wilson 75 (penalty), Owens 77 Booked Smart, Noone (both fouls), Owens (excessive celebration), Wilson (kicking the ball away), Humphreys (dissent)
Brig | 4-5-1 | Roccia (GK), Spooner, Lawlor, Charnock, Dodd, Waddecar, Churchman (Carsley 84), Forbes, McKnight, Marlow, Dudley Subs not used Doughty, Dawson, Argent-Barnes, Young Goals Waddecar 58, Charnock 90 (+1) Booked Dudley, Dodd, Marlow (all dissent)
Referee Darren Rogers Attendance 279