A Trip Too Far
By Phil Chadwick
Albion suffer from too many handicaps
A hard fought Saturday match, less than 48 hours later an arduous trip to play opponents who had the luxury of the week-end off. Not the best of circumstances already but then one of your main defenders, River Humphreys, was unavailable due to work commitments on the East Yorkshire coast.
We arrive and whilst warming up on Basford’s synthetic surface, Osebi Abadaki
picks up an injury meaning he can’t figure after he put in a full 90 minutes hard graft when making his starting debut the previous game. Thus manager Carl Macauley now left with just two substitutes, one of whom, leading scorer Jay Foley was still feeling the affects of a knock he’d sustained at Stalybridge.
The game gets underway and to be honest it was at times like watching in fast forward mode with the ball fairly zipping over the freshly sprinkled surface and players tearing after it as they tried to keep control.
Albion’s formation was a strange one with Will Booth
in the back four and Tom Owens
playing left side. However, in the 9th minute and with their first shot of the night they were ahead, Will Jones
hitting a purler from the right side of the box that fairly flew past Saul Deeney.Greg Hall
did enough four minutes later after Billy Smart
’s intended pass to Booth was intercepted allowing Nathan Watson the chance to equalise, the keeper blocking well before Matty Devine
swept the ball to safety.
Booth’s 25th minute free-kick drifted wide of the near left upright as Albion looked to go further ahead instead though, within five minutes the host drew level. This time Watson, who reportedly cost them a 10k fee when signing from Coalville, let rip to replicate Jones’s goal, giving Hall no chance.
In the 34th minute a long ball was headed on to Owens but his hesitancy to shoot straight away gave Deeney the time to save the eventual attempt.
Albion’s cause was further hampered when Rob Hopley
felt a twinge to his hamstring and left the field bringing Jordan Cobley
on to partner Jones. Josh Wardle
was also struggling after he had been caught by a flying boot causing a cut to his foot.
Basford nearly went into the interval ahead but Matt Thornhill’s header came back off Hall’s right hand post and was cleared, ensuring the sides went in all-square.
After the restart Basford gradually gained the upper hand. The 57th minute saw Hall race out of his area to clear the ball only to slice his kick and sky the ball, the danger being eventually cleared. Two minutes later down the other end of the pitch, Jones picked up a flicked-on header but put his shot well wide.
The 62nd minute saw a good run by Jack Thomas only for him to be crowded out. Two minutes later Watson was on the end of a through ball, tried to take it around Hall but the goalkeeper was able to save bravely at the forward’s feet.
The pressure was really starting to build on the Witton goal and a good ball in the 67th minute from substitute James Reid just eluded Shaun Harrad and then two minutes later the latter was on the end of a centre but headed wide.
The 74th minute saw Hall drop a cross, Thornhill picked up the ball that saw an alert Wardle come to the rescue by blocking on the line.
However Basford were not to be deprived of a second goal and this duly arrived ten minutes from time. An in-swinging corner from Reid, with the whole Witton team back in their own box, saw another dropped ball by Hall, captain Lewis Carr being allowed to head home from close range.
Harrad was somewhat fortunate to just pick up a yellow card, also administered somewhat harshly to his victim Wardle, when he took the Albion defender out. This saw a whole mass of players converge, referee Richard Eley and his assistants choosing to ignore some unsavoury encounters, thus saving him a potential long night of home work!
A couple of hand ball claims went unanswered by Eley whilst a centre by Cesaire Lingouba
, from the Witton right in the 85th minute, eluded both attackers and defenders as Albion searched to get back on level terms.
This was the last real threat on the home goal and a third Basford goal arrived in the eighty-eighth minute. With players committed upfield a long ball down the left found Watson clear and all the time to get more central to secure all three points.