Witton Albion 4 Radcliffe Borough 1
WITTON did what manager Gary Finley had contended they would eventually do and handed out a thrashing at Wincham Park, on Saturday.
It was a belated home celebration of the New Year, indeed it is their first win there since December 4.
Finley opted for John Stannard on the left flank and Ryan Baker on the right and the team had more balance and bounce about it as both men set about Radcliffe in their respective flourishing styles.
But it was Lee Spike who gave a point to the attack in the first half and his two goals on his full home debut won him the man-of-the-match accolade.
Radcliffe were in good form then, too. In midfielder Richard Battersby and full-back Leon Grandison, registered with Witton Reserves at the start of the season, they had high quality performers.
But Witton started in rhythm and, for once, maintained it throughout. Even the substitutions of first-half stars Stannard and then Baker did not disturb their dominance.
They took the lead on 22 minutes. Stannard cut in from the left on to Mike Moseley's pass and aimed for goal. The ball spun up off Steve Spencer and Spike extended a long right leg to almost lazily volley the ball home from the edge of the area.
Ciaran Kilheeney almost punished hesitancy in the Witton defence before Radcliffe levelled.
On the half hour Spike was unable to apply purchase to his header from Baker's cross and play immediately switched to the other end where Steve Foster drilled home a low shot.
Moseley created a chance for Micky Mellon, but his header lacked power as Albion ended the half strongly and in injury time they restored their lead. Baker delivered the perfect corner for Spike to direct into the net with his head unchallenged.
Witton had to resist some concerted Borough attacks after the resumption, but did well and emerged in charge of the game once more.
But it was not until the 82nd minute that they scored again. Adam Foy darted for a ball ex-Northwich Vics defender Paul Maguire was about to clear and the centre-back tripped the Witton midfielder instead. Moseley made the game safe by sending Danny Hurst the wrong way from the penalty spot. It was his 22nd goal of the season.
Radcliffe's game collapsed. Witton would have been happy to see time run its course, but were happier still when Mellon pierced the visitors' defence with a neat ball that Mike Yates carried into the box and lifted beyond Hurst's right hand into the net.
Even had they not scored again after the break it was a much better Witton performance and they benefited greatly by Baker starting his first game since November, giving Mellon an outlet for his telling passes and by the introduction of Spike. Short on skills perhaps, but he has an undeniable presence.