Marine 0 Witton Albion 2
AN estimated 200 strong Albion support rejoiced in this win over a depleted in quality but very plucky Mariners team on Friday.
Never really getting into the fluid motion that has been evident most of the season the team still did more than enough in weather conditions akin to mid-winter at times.
Tony Evans, given only his second starting shirt, looked fairly lively but skewed his early opportunity wide of the left post. The 14th minute saw Rob Lloyd deliver an absolute peach of a free-kick from the right but Tony Barras’s headed attempt flew over the crossbar.
However a minute later Witton got their noses in front, a high cross from the left from Steve Brodie caught former Albion and Vics keeper Andy Ralph out and as he ventured too far out of his goal he was totally stranded when his fellow defender and another former Vics player Phil Brazier back header rolled into the unguarded net.
Lovely approach work by Brodie and Liam Brownhill in the 27th minute saw the latter deliver a cross to the near post but Alex Brown’s volley could only find the top of the side netting. Just before the break Rod Thornley saw his shot hacked away from the danger zone.
Early in the second half Brian Pritchard’s challenge on the pick of the Marine team Shaun Tuck was deemed a foul by the assistant referee although whether it was worthy of a caution is open to debate.
Referee John Dowd at least got it right that Pritch hadn’t stopped a goal-scoring opportunity. In the end former Albion player Ian Latham, who possesses a tremendous shot, effort got no further than the Albion’s defensive wall. Marine themselves had a couple of players cautioned in the opening period and just after the hour mark it was two apiece when Dave MacPherson was yellow carded for a foul, his fifth of the season meaning he’ll sit out the Guiseley game on April 12th.
On 68 minutes finally came the moment to send the Albion songsters into raptures. Mark Peers who was surrounded by four home players and seemingly stranded on the left somehow squirmed inside and the ball was quickly switched to the opposite flank for Thornley to centre.
At first it looked to be an easy clearance but the ball’s bounce caused consternation and allowed the alert Brodie to quickly seize the opportunity with a looping header over the flat-footed Ralph.
Jon Kennedy, who’d dealt comfortably with everything that came his way, made a spectacular save to deny substitute Ricky Arnold with five minutes remaining and as a second attempt on goal came in it was Cavell Coo’s clever positioning that rightly ensured Kennedy’s 17th clean sheet of the season was maintained.
WITTON: Kennedy; Coo, Pritchard, Barras, Brownhill; MacPherson, Lloyd (Peers 54), Brown, Brodie; Evans (Rapley 65), Thornley. Sub n/u Kearney.