Albion denied victory by another late goal.
By Derek Buckley
Points shared as visitors leave it late.
Match Report kindly supplied by Paul Harper.
Witton Albion 2-2 Basford United (23 March 2019)
After racing into a 2-0 lead after just 18 minutes, Witton Albion will be disappointed to have only taken a solitary point from their home fixture against Basford United at Wincham Park.
Strike duo Rob Hopley and Will Jones got the hosts off to the perfect start with a quick-fire double at the beginning of the first half, but a penalty from James Reid and then a last minute strike by Nathan Watson meant the points were shared.
Albion manager Carl Macauley made four changes to the side which drew with Stafford Rangers in midweek. Into the starting XI came Anthony Gardner, Danny McKenna, River Humphreys and new loan signing Lewis Doyle who joined this week from Southport. Fellow new signing Jack Egan was named among the substitutes.
Albion opened the scoring with the first real goalscoring opportunity of the encounter after nine minutes. A trademark long throw in by Anthony Gardner caused problems in the Basford defence, the ball falling at the feet of Rob Hopley who took a touch before firing a powerful effort past Saul Deeney in the visiting goal.
The next attack also ended in a goal as Albion doubled their advantage on 18 minutes. A ball into the penalty area found Will Jones, who outmuscled his defender before firing a sublime volley into the top corner of the net from the right corner of the penalty area. A goal of the season contender for sure.
The visitors tried to get themselves back in the game, a 25 yard free kick from James Reid taking a wicked deflection only for Greg Hall to produce a super save despite having been wrong footed.
Reid did get on the scoresheet a few minutes later as Basford were awarded a penalty. A free kick was played into the Witton penalty area and struck a hand. The referee pointed to the spot and Reid fired home down the middle from 12 yards.
The home side were close to restoring their two goal advantage straight from the restart a s a ball forward found Will Jones who laid the ball back to strike partner Rob Hopley only for a Basford defender to do well and prevent the striker getting his shot away.
James Foley fired wide from distance while more danger following a Gardner long throw almost resulted in a chance for Hopley only for the referee’s assistant to flag him offside as the sides went in at the break with Albion a goal ahead.
The first chance of the second half fell to the visitors. Striker Nathan Watson found himself through on goal but Greg Hall did well to come out, close the striker down and make himself big, blocking the shot towards goal before clearing his lines.
Watson was the danger man and he curled a free kick wide before firing a shot towards goal which River Humphreys had to expertly block away as United began to get on top.
But then followed a good spell from the hosts. Jones fired over the top after Gardner had headed across goal, while Foley’s effort from a narrow angle was denied by Deeney.
As the clock ticked towards 90, Lewis Doyle had a chance to seal the victory for the home team. The ball found its way to the on-loan midfielder 15 yards out but his stinging shot was excellently saved by Deeney to deny a debut goal.
Basford went straight down the other end and made Albion pay for the missed opportunity as they equalised. It was the danger man Watson who got it, sending an unstoppable effort past Hall and into the back on the net.
There was no time to respond as Witton had to settle for their second home draw in a row.
Witton Albion: Hall, Gardner, McKenna, Wardle, Humphreys, Smart, Doyle, Owens, Hopley ©, Jones, Foley. Subs not used: Wynne, Egan, Abadaki, Neild. Booked: Smart (Foul).
Basford United: Deeney ©, Bateman, Wilson, Gascoigne, Galinski, Roma (Hearn 69'), Thomas, Nash (Bell-Toxtle 89'), Grantham, Watson, Reid (Goodson 80'). Subs not used: Carr, Stokes. Booked: Bateman & Reid (Dissent), Thomas (Foul).