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1st Team - Match centre

Stalybridge Celtic
Witton Albion
Full time
R Hopley (16'), T Owens (63')
Sat 9 Feb 15:00 - The Evo-Stik League - Premier Division Attendance 301

2 goals & 14th clean sheet wins the day

By

Match Report kindly supplied by: Andrew Simpson, Senior Sports Writer, Mid-Cheshire Guardian series - http://www.northwichguardian.co.uk/sport/

THIS was exactly what Witton needed.

If there is a sense that performances have been better than a sequence of five defeats from the past seven matches suggests then they’ve bucked that trend. By the finish, Albion looked authoritative.

They had broken Stalybridge’s spirit during a dominant opening to the second-half that saw them strike a post twice before Tom Owens nudged Rob Hopley’s flick-on into the net to double their lead. It sapped the hosts, who never looked likely to mount a comeback.

Bridge were better in the first-half and can make a case they were unlucky to trail. A linesman’s flag spared the blushes of Dan Cockerline after he steered wide of an open goal from Douglas Nyaupembe’s cross inside the opening five minutes.

Carl Macauley’s men took the lead from their first cohesive move when Hopley glanced a header into the net from Danny McKenna’s beautifully-arced cross. It jolted their opponents and Andy Scott’s attempt flashed wide before Matty Wolfenden, so often Albion’s tormentor, saw his effort whistle wide of an upright after Cockerline teed him up.

Celtic looked vulnerable defensively and got lucky when Will Booth pinched the ball from a slovenly Olly Marx before shooting straight at custodian Paddy Wharton. It might have proved costly had Greg Wilkinson made cleaner contact with Wolfenden’s pass, but instead his scuffed shot was blocked by Witton number one Greg Hall with a knee.

Macauley revealed after the game he had demanded more from his attacking players during the interval and the message certainly got through.

Josh Wardle’s speculative drive hit the woodwork, as did McKenna’s curling effort two minutes later after Osebi Abadaki has skipped away from full-back Josh Solomon-Davies on the left.

The winger puffed his cheeks after a deflection off substitute Liam Tongue saw his own shot drop inches off-target before Wharton instinctively jabbed a boot in the way when Booth drilled low through a crowded penalty area.

Witton needed to score while in the ascendancy and duly did when Owens was alert to meet Hopley’s header after Anthony Gardner launched a long throw into the home team’s box.

A side with a defensive record second only to the Premier Division leaders then did what they do best and shut down dispirited opponents.

Former Albion attacker Scott Bakkor spun and shot narrowly over while Tongue’s curling free-kick scraped a post on its way past. Gardner then stretched fully to prevent Bakkor from turning in Greg Wilkinson’s wicked cross.

Those moments of danger were fleeting, and a seventh victory on the road for Witton will feel cathartic. There is work to do but a distance to the relegation zone, increased to six points, is more remote now.

Stalybridge | 4-4-2 | Wharton (GK), Solomon-Davies (Tongue 57), Marx, Smalley, Nyaupembe, Bakkor, Rule, Wilkinson, Scott (Kengni 57), Wolfenden (Dent 68), Cockerline. Sub not used: Winterbottom (GK). Booked: Rule (foul)

Witton | 4-2-3-1 | Hall (GK), Gardner, Humphreys, Wardle, Devine, Foley, Booth (Smart 90), McKenna, Owens, Abadaki, Hopley. Subs not used: Lingouba, Cobley & Jones. Goals: Hopley 16 & Owens 63. Booked: Wardle, Humphreys (both kicking the ball away)

Referee: Anthony Tankard Attendance 301

Many thanks to Vijay Anthwal for the photographs & video clips

Key moments

16:00
Goal Rob Hopley scores for Witton Albion
63:00
Goal Tom Owens scores for Witton Albion

Videos and photos

Rob Hopley 1-0
00:17
Rob Hopley 1-0
Danny McKenna over
00:06
Danny McKenna over
Nearly 2-0
00:13
Nearly 2-0

Highlights

View 0 new events
90:00 +4:00 Clean Sheet Bonus
Greg Hall keeps a clean sheet for Witton Albion
90:00 +1:00 Sub Off
Will Booth is substituted off for Witton Albion
90:00 +1:00 Sub On
Billy Smart is substituted on for Witton Albion
67:00 Yellow Card
River Humphreys is yellow carded for Witton Albion
63:00 Goal 0 - 2
Tom Owens scores for Witton Albion
End of period 1
40:00 Yellow Card
Josh Wardle is yellow carded for Witton Albion
16:00 Goal 0 - 1
Rob Hopley scores for Witton Albion
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Stalybridge Celtic
  • Witton Albion
  • 0
  • Rob Hopley Goal 16:00'
  • Josh Wardle Yellow Card 40:00'
  • Tom Owens Goal 63:00'
  • River Humphreys Yellow Card 67:00'
  • Will Booth Sub Off 90:00 +1:00'
  • Billy Smart Sub On 90:00 +1:00'

Team selection

Hall, Greg Hall, Greg
Gardner, Anthony Gardner, Anthony
Devine, Matty Devine, Matty
Wardle, Josh Wardle, Josh
Humphreys , River Humphreys , River
McKenna, Danny McKenna, Danny
Booth, Will Booth, Will
Foley, James Foley, James
Owens, Tom Owens, Tom
Abadaki, Osebi Abadaki, Osebi
Hopley, Rob Hopley, Rob

League round up

Other Premier Division results

2
1
Nantwich Town
3
0
Mickleover Sports
Scarborough Athletic
4
1
Stafford Rangers
Warrington Town
3
1
Hednesford Town
Whitby Town
1
1
South Shields
3
3

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
7. Buxton 35 56
8. Basford United 34 51
9. Witton Albion 34 51
10. Hyde United 35 49
11. Whitby Town 33 46
12. Matlock Town 33 45
13. Lancaster City 35 43

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