Albion again denied by late goal
By Phil Chadwick
Both teams perform well in dreadful conditions
by Paul Harper
Witton Albion picked up a point in the final Evo-Stik Northern Premier League fixture of the season with a 1-1 draw against Hednesford Town at a wet and very windy Wincham Park.
Carl Macauley made three changes to the side which began against Warrington Town on Easter Monday. Cesaire Lingouba, Matty Devine and Osebi Abadaki dropped down to the substitutes bench to be replaced by Anthony Gardner, James Foley and Will Jones.
With the wind at their backs in the first half, Witton used it to their advantage in the early stages. Anthony Gardner almost caught out Hednesford goalkeeper Jacob Weaver after three minutes with a cross which almost blew into the top corner of his net.
The visiting number one scrambled back to deny him on that occasion but was unable to prevent Gardner opening the scoring in similar circumstances on nine minutes as his left wing cross flew into the top corner with a little assistance from the breeze.
Albion pressed for further goals, with James Foley denied with a good block as he struck a powerful shot towards goal, while a dangerous looking cross by Rob Hopley caught a gust and landed on the roof of the net.
The visitors came back into the game as the half drew to its close. Bradley Wells had a couple of efforts narrowly off target before Greg Hall was called into action for the first time just before half time to save a shot from Nathan Fox.
Will Jones spurned a good chance to double Albion’s lead a minute before half time, receiving the ball after Foley had done well to win the ball in the penalty area, the striker somehow missed the target from 12 yards.
Wells had another effort wide of the target at the beginning of the second half for Hednesford as they came out looking for an equaliser.
It should though have been 2-0 to the hosts midway through the second period when Hopley picked up the pieces after Weaver spilled a cross. The Albion captain took the ball around the stranded shot-stopper and tried to chip a back-tracking defender only to place his effort just over the top.
Shortly after, Albion had an effort cleared off the line from a left wing corner, Hednesford defender Ben O’Hanlon in the right place at the right time to clear the ball away to deny Witton a second.
But the visitors kept pressing themselves and finally got an equaliser with two minutes remaining, a right wing cross headed home by Kieran Wells from just inside the penalty area.
A point apiece was probably a fair outcome, both sides using the strong wind to their advantage. The result means Witton finish the campaign in ninth position but can take great momentum into next season after a strong finish to 2018-19.
Witton Albion: Hall; Gardner, McKenna, Wardle, Offord, Smart, Doyle, Owens, Hopley ©, Jones, Foley. Subs not used: Lingouba, Abadaki, Neild & Devine. Booked Gardner (foul)
Hednesford Town: Weaver; Vidal, O’Hanlon (Lycett 85’), Harvey, Gatter, Bailey ©, B Wells (Wright 67’), King, K Wells, Hallahan (Curley 75’), Fox. Subs not used: Veiga & Turner. Booked: Vidal (foul)
Referee: Christopher Porter Attendance: 362