Witton Albion 1 Frickley Athletic 1
Witton made a positive start to the new campaign. With eight debutants in the line-up against a side who finished last season strong fans feared the worse at Wincham Park on Saturday.
With the visitors enjoying most of the first half play Albion were fortunate to turn round level. But they more than held their own after the break, though the struggled to create chances.
It all started well enough with Scott Willis pulling the strings in midfield and Steve Settle, a winger standing in at centre forward, worrying Frickley with his pace.
But the Yorkshiremen got to grips with both threats and, understandably given so many fresh personnel, there was a lack of unity at times and several anonymous performances.
Settle set up Mark Drew who brought a good save from Adam Nicklin in Witton’s first meaningful attack and they scored from the corner. Drew was the taker and Rod Thornley applied a firm header.
But Albion could not maintain their enthusiastic start and Frickley had long periods of domination, creating several half-chances before Rob Pell headed home a Chris Davies free kick in 35 minutes.
Greg Smith saved well from Lee Morris and Settle overran an inviting through ball from Steve Smith just before half-time.
Referee Ian Edwards, too picky by half and not helped by some dubious decisions by his linesmen, did nothing to lift a humdrum game.
Ben Thornley was denied a penalty when tripped by Steve Heath, Nicklin had to be alert to clutch a header on his line from Chris Gowen and Brian Pritchard went close as Albion improved after the break.
Dean Jones wasted Frickley’s only chance of the second period.
WITTON: G Smith; Dunne, Pritchard, Coyne, Donnelly; B Thornley (Gahgan 69), Willis, Drew, S Smith; Settle (Lugsden 85), R Thornley.