10 men Albion defeat League leaders
By Phil Chadwick
9th win on the road
Albion dug in hard, especially after going down to ten men, to pull off a notable victory over the league leaders.
So, for the second time in 2019, a trip to the then pace setters has produced maximum points but unlike the New Year’s Day win at Nantwich Town this one came with not only a man short but against a Celtic team that had scored in all their previous 14 home league fixtures, during which they had only lost once before and that back on August Bank Holiday Monday!
Yet another zero, in the goals against column, also extends the fact that, when Witton win they don’t concede, onto 7 in total since beating Hednesford pre-Christmas, with five of those coming when on their travels.
In a pretty lacklustre opening half only really notable for bookings dished out by referee Oliver Noonan for Will Jones, after he’d over stretched into an opponent when chasing the ball towards the touch-line and Billy Smart for a pretty innocuous challenge both inside the opening twenty minutes.
There was also the sad sight of Farsley defender Lewis Turner being stretchered off the field following a not dissimilar to our own Will Booth’s injury the previous Saturday.
It was to be the opening few minutes of the second period when the real talking points occurred. From the restart Albion took the game into their opponents’ territory and within no time had their noses in front.
Skipper Rob Hopley collected the ball to the right of the area, shrugged off Adam Clayton’s challenge, before moving across the box, drawing and rounding keeper Kyle Trennary and coolly and calmly slotting home his 13th goal of this season’s campaign.
The number 13 is also significant, for Rob now has amassed 81 Albion career goals taking him above the legendary Bill Tynan, in the post-war goal scorers’ chart. Take a visit for fuller details on this to: http://www.wittonalbionfc.co.uk/a/playing-records-50634.html?page=4
Three minutes later a Farsley free-kick rebounded off the crossbar and with a whole host of players converging towards the loose ball Nathan Cartman was pushed by Matty Devine, as he looked to try and convert a headed attempt. Referee Noonan decided it was not only, quite rightly, a penalty award but also controversially worthy of a red card, thus questioning the letter of the law in that particular circumstance.
However substitute Ben Atkinson was to be thwarted by Greg Hall who produced his 3rd penalty save of the season by diving to his right, to push the ball around the post.
The home side could possibly have been reduced to ten themselves when William Hayhurst booked a few minutes previous then escaped a second yellow for another reckless tackle.
The blatant ungentlemanly conduct of Jack Higgins, when Hall was attempting to organise his defensive wall, of moving around right in front of the custodian to block his vision also wasn’t deemed worthy of even a word from the match official. One would hope that some guidance from the football authorities is in order on this unsavoury tactic. Clearly, should the free-kick have been converted, then the player, although now retreated from the goal line area, was still in an off-side position when the kick was taken. Now if that’s not seen as interfering with play then I give up!
The home team strived to get back on level terms, Dave Syers in particular had a couple of good chances, firstly heading wide from Hayhurst’s corner then seeing his shot from just inside the area, strike his own team-mate a minute from time.
However it was left to Hall to have the final word in stoppage time diving low towards his right upright to hold on to a Danny Ellis header. This duly earned him his 17th clean sheet of the season, along the way his fifteen league ones ensuring his team remain the second strongest defensive outfit in the NPL Premier Division.
Albion now move into the top ten in the table and will be looking to advance further in their remaining 12 fixtures, 8 of these being at home, starting on Tuesday when another success will take them above visitors Buxton.
Farsley Celtic (5-3-2): Trenerry, L Turner (B Atkinson 28), Hayhurst, Higgins, Ellis, Clayton (Baldwin 90), Syers, C Atkinson, Spencer, Cartman & Parkin (Walker 61).
Subs not used: Bower (GK) & Bett
Witton Albion (5-3-2): Hall, Gardner, Devine, Wardle, Humphreys, Offord, Smart, Owens (McKenna 54), Hopley, Jones (Abadaki 73) & Foley.
Subs not used: Lingouba & Wynne.
Referee: Oliver Noonan Attendance: 343
Many thanks to Vijay Anthwal for the video clip and the photos from this match