Albion edged out by Town following last-gasp goal
By Phil Chadwick
Match Report kindly supplied by: Andrew Simpson, Senior Sports Writer, Mid-Cheshire Guardian series - http://www.northwichguardian.co.uk/sport/
WITTON’S unhappy record against Warrington at Christmas continued as Yellows did what they always do – score with time running out. An unbeaten run for Carl Macauley’s side ended when substitute Jack Mackreth steered the ball under goalkeeper Greg Hall after running clear in the third minute of added time.
It appeared an unlikely outcome after Evan Gumbs was sent off for the visitors. As it happens, Albion could be forgiven if they ask for a different opponent on Boxing Day next time.
Warrington had manoeuvred themselves into a position from which they will have felt confident of extending a winning sequence when Jack Dunn curled in a ninth-minute opener. His shot arced into the corner, despite Hall reaching it with his fingertips, after Connor McCarthy invited him to take aim.
Witton, with Will Jones restored to the starting line-up in place of Jordan Cobley, were made to feel uncomfortable from that moment on. Their shape in midfield, a diamond with Billy Smart and James Foley tucked in either side of Jordan Lussey, jarred against their opponents’ formation.
Dunn, supported by an adventurous Adam Hughes from left-back, and Dominic Reid on the other side were able to exploit space out wide. They did, and often too. Reid was wasteful when McCarthy teed him up, blazing high, before the latter’s hurried attempt was smothered by Hall after he sprinted to close him down.
The Witton custodian then produced his best to claw away McCarthy’s prodded effort, from Hughes’ perfectly-weighted cross, at the end of a Warrington counter-attack. He was a spectator though when Ben Garrity leapt above Jones to meet a corner with a header that clattered the bar.
It will have irked Yellows’ boss Paul Carden then when his side gifted to the home team an opportunity to level shortly before the break. Charlie Albinson, a net-minder they have borrowed from Blackburn Rovers, panicked when Rob Hopley loomed large in front of him and fumbled the ball. Stricken, he pulled down the front man to concede a penalty.
Referee Jonathan Maskrey curiously decided against further sanction before Foley dispatched the spot-kick to level – his 13th goal of an increasingly-productive season.
It had a placebo effect and Witton, after an interval adjustment, were sturdier in the second-half. They were more threatening too.
Smart tried to tame a corner flicked to him at the back-post rather than shoot, allowing a defender to block. River Humphreys headed over from another set-piece before Foley missed the hosts’ best chance, leaning back as he connected with Anthony Gardner’s cut-back and scooping high.
Carden had sent on Mackreth and Dylan Vassallo, although with negligible impact initially, on the hour in a bid to kick-start his side again. They cursed their luck when Dunn’s effort direct from a free-kick struck the crossbar after Humphreys needlessly nudged over Mackreth.
Gumbs’ dismissal, after Mackrey judged his tackled on Hopley to have used excessive force, didn’t knock them off course. Instead Mackreth found an unopposed path to goal to ensure history repeated itself.
Witton | 4-4-2 | Hall (GK), Gardner, Humphreys, Wardle, Devine, Smart, Lussey (Lingouba 46), Owens, Foley, Hopley, Jones. Subs not used Booth, Yates & Cobley. Goal: Foley 45 (+1) Booked: Smart (foul)
Warrington | 4-2-3-1 | Albinson (GK), Duggan, Raven, Roberts, Hughes, Gumbs, Garrity, Reid (Mackreth 63), Dixon (Vassallo 63), Dunn, McCarthy (Amis 80) Subs not used Evans & Gray Goals: Dunn 8 & Mackreth 90 (+3) Sent off: Gumbs (foul)
Referee: Jonathan Maskrey Attendance 507
Many thanks to KARL BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY for the great match photos