Witton Albion 1 Marine 0
AFTER beating the fog one week Witton and Marine overcame the effects of rain, snow and a biting wind and also turned in contrasting fare at Wincham Park on Saturday.
They were never likely to produce another seven-goal extravaganza, but the outcome was satisfactory for Witton as they took their place in the UniBond League Cup semi-finals.
After two days of snow and rain the pitch stood up well and the players mastered the conditions.
Albion were as dominant at the start as they were at the finish in the previous meeting, but a single goal - their 100th of the season and their 100th in the competition - was enough to given them victory.
The defence, at its best under spells of pressure, saw the job through.
Rob Lloyd looked to add to his hat-trick eight days earlier, when he tried a lob from 20 yards out that just cleared the crossbar.
Then Andy Ralph initially flapped at a cross but as Carl Frost was shaped the ex-Albion and Vics custodian, destined for New Zealand at the end of the month, charged down the shot.
Liam Brownhill was next up to test the 'keeper but he saved easily at the base of a post. Steve Connors then joined the shooting gallery but sent his fierce drive narrowly over the target.
Just after the half hour Brian Pritchard was on the end of a Lloyd corner but he too was off target, as was Adam Warlow shortly after.
But it was Peter Cumiskey who was guilty of missing the best chance so far as the match entered first half stoppage time. Lee Mulvaney's pass cut out Jon Kennedy but Cumiskey ballooned the ball well over the unattended goal.
Two minutes into the second half Kennedy produced a diving save from Cumiskey's header and Carl Nesbit added to the threat as Marine found their attacking feet.
But the classiest move of the afternoon emanated from Connors in the 54th minute when he turned, advanced several yards before playing Warlow in.
The striker shot instantly but the ball went a whisker past the left upright.
The crowd only had to wait a further four minutes for Albion to score the only goal and thus make it to the semi-finals for only the second time in 27 seasons of trying.
Frost, wide on the right, centred and Alex Brown seemed to have an eternity with the ball at his feet.
Several Marine defenders were in close attendance but not one of them tackled the midfield player. Striker Griff Jones screamed for the ball and when eventually it was laid off to him he converted his 12th goal off the season with a rasping shot.
Brown with a header and Pritchard, benefiting from Mike Moseley's dummy of Marrk Peers' cross, went closest to sealing the tie.
The final minutes saw Marine valiantly attempt to force the tie into extra-time but found Kennedy a massive obstacle as twice Cumiskey was denied.
Finally the scorer of their great goal seven days previous, Darren Brookfield blazed, his shot over the bar with it went the Merseysiders' hopes.
Witton: Kennedy; Hockenhull, Pritchard, Spearritt, Brownhill (Barras 81); Connors (Moseley 75), Lloyd, Brown; Frost (Peers 69); Warlow, Jones G.
Star Man: Brian Pritchard snuffed threats at one end, provided them at the other. Next Best: Jon Kennedy.
Team Raing: 3.
Match Rating: 3.