Albion defeat higher ranked Moors
Match Report kindly supplied by: Andrew Simpson, Senior Sports Writer, Mid-Cheshire Guardian series - http://www.northwichguardian.co.uk/sport/
IT’S not as if Spennymoor weren’t warned.
Gary Martindale, Witton Albion’s assistant manager, had warned beforehand that his players usually stepped up to the plate for games like this one.
Turns out they were hungry. And that is perhaps damning on their higher-ranked opponents, who strangely seemed rather less so.
If history really is a guide, then Witton reached the fourth qualifying round on the previous occasion these sides met in the FA Cup. For now, Carl Macauley’s men should just savour the moment.
They were better than their guests on pretty much every measure, although it was only when Rob Hopley steered in a second goal with three minutes left that they could relax. Even then, they had to endure a nervy spell after Ryan Hall's header sneaked into the net in added time.
It was indicative of Macauley’s quest for perfection that he allowed it to annoy him. His overriding emotion will be one of pride after Witton completed another of their now trademark knockout wins as underdogs.
They had a first glimpse of goal, and Spennymoor custodian Matthew Gould (the very same keeper that thwarted Albion between the sticks at Stourbridge last season!) reacted smartly to divert Hopley’s firmly-struck shot at his near post after a corner fell kindly.
River Humphreys headed high too from James Foley’s free-kick. At the other end, Moors full-back Stephen Brogan twice arced set-pieces wide of the target after going directly for goal.
A controversial moment followed when referee Kristian Silcock blew his whistle after judging Kris Thackray to have handled when attempting to encourage Humphreys’ long pass back to his goalkeeper. He booked the defender, but bafflingly awarded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area despite contact with the ball clearly occurring inside. Gould diverted Danny McKenna’s resulting shot onto the crossbar.
There was a similar escape for Albion early in the second-half when Glen Taylor directed Jake Hibbs’ cross onto the woodwork.
The home team took the lead shortly afterwards, James Foley dispatching a penalty awarded after Thackray bundled substitute Delial Brewster to the floor after he accelerated inside.
Witton didn’t initially settle for protecting their advantage, and McKenna’s attempt lacked force after Hopley’s cutback failed to pick out Brewster. Albion conjured another opening when McKenna’s gloriously-weighted pass invited Anthony Gardner to burst forward and his driven cross flashed across the face of goal. McKenna also picked out Foley with a cross to the far post where the midfielder planted a header narrowly wide.
Spennymoor sent on Adam Boyes to support Taylor in attack, and they served a warning when Rob Ramshaw’s attempt brushed a post after a defensive header rolled in his direction. Substitute Mark Anderson also blasted against the outside of an upright after McKenna sliced a clearance straight into his path.
The visitors will have felt worse when Hopley applied a finishing touch to McKenna’s cross after Brewster had muscled his way past two failed attempts to stop him on the left.
Shane Henry’s curled cross saw substitute Hall's slight header find the empty net with goalkeeper Greg Hall scrambling to recover after going to ground attempting to catch a corner. However he was in the right place to block Anderson’s drive, sent hard and low, from the contest’s final kick.
Witton | 4-4-2 | Greg Hall (GK), Gardner, Humphreys, Wardle, Devine, McKenna, Cesaire, Smart, Foley, Hopley, Jones (Brewster 45). Subs not used: Yates, Wilson, Noone & Moore (GK) Goals: Foley 50 (penalty), Hopley 87 Booked: Smart (foul)
Spennymoor | 4-4-1-1 | Gould (GK), Hibbs, Curtis, Thackray, Brogan (Boyes 64), Tuton (Anderson 74), Chandler, Henry, Johnson (Ryan Hall 45), Ramshaw, Taylor. Subs not used: Atkinson, Elliott (GK) &Williams. Goal: Henry 90 (+3) Booked: Thackray (handball), Chandler (foul)
Referee Kristian Silcock Attendance 322
Many thanks to VIJAY ANTHWAL for supplying the photos and videos to accompany this report.
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