12:41pm Monday 24th February 2014
By Andrew Simpson
WITTON were second best at Stamford, trailing to a direct rival in the race to avoid relegation after conceding at either end of the contest.
Unlike at Blyth a fortnight ago, Brian Pritchard’s men never looked likely to end a wait for an away win in the Premier Division that now enters a fifth month.
They continue to occupy a position in the drop zone that has been theirs since the turn of the year.
A sluggish start on Saturday did not help; Lewis Carr was left unmarked to meet Jason Ashton’s corner in the second minute, heading in his first goal for the Daniels.
Witton, with Michael Powell deployed in defence while Rob Bodie served a ban, struggled to react.
Stamford almost doubled their tally when leading scorer Ryan Robbins forced goalkeeper Matt Cooper to save his fiercely-hit effort, while at the other end Alex Titchiner at least made stand-in custodian Will Jones worry when he shot narrowly wide.
The hosts plundered a second goal after half an hour following a counter attack led by Shawn Richards, who supplied Robbins.
His centre was placed perfectly for Charlie Binns, who struck the ball on the volley with force to leave Cooper no chance to intervene.
Albion rallied, appealing strongly for a penalty when Danny Andrews was sent sprawling at the end of a clever dribble.
Their best chance followed before the break, Titchiner’s precise attempt from an angle striking the inside of a post and rebounding kindly into Jones’ grasp.
Stamford threatened first after the interval, when Robbins and then Richards went close, though Witton assumed control afterwards.
The visitors thought they had halved their arrears when Jon Dawson sent the ball goal-wards with his head after making the most a defensive mix-up, Jones appearing to claw it to safety after it had crossed the line.
However the match officials gave the Daniels’ shot-stopper the benefit of any doubt.
Pritchard sent on Anthony Sheehan for his first appearance since fracturing a kneecap on Bonfire
Night, pushing Powell forward into a more familiar midfield role too.
A goal followed, Sheehan clipping a pass into Dawson’s path and he finished smartly.
Titchiner went closest to a leveller when his shot scraped an upright before Stamford made safe the points with six minutes left.
Robbins’ blasted free kick was tipped brilliantly onto the bar by Cooper – booked for hauling down Richards to concede the set piece – only for Binns to react first to smuggle in the loose ball.
Witton Star Man: Anthony Gardner. Determined and consistent throughout, something that his teammates must copy.
Stamford Jones (GK), Challinor, Field, Carr, Jarvis, Nwadike, Richards, Robinson, Shariff (Ashton), Binns, Robbins (Cotton) Subs not used Lawlor, Staff Goals Carr 2, Binns 33, 84
Witton Cooper (GK), Gardner, Harrison, Powell, Brown, Andrews, Jackson (Sheehan), Breeze, Dawson, Bakkor, Titchiner Subs not used Plant (GK), Crofts, Moseley, Roberts Goal Dawson 74 Booked Powell (unsporting behaviour), Cooper (foul)
Referee Declan Bourne
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