12:23am Sunday 13th April 2014
By Andrew Simpson
FROM Brian Pritchard’s viewpoint there is consolation, however slight, that his side saved their most miserable performance of the season with safety all but assured.
Just as well, for the result reflects only in part how utterly abject they were.
Trafford had won on three of their previous four visits to Wincham Park in the Northern Premier League, though in none of those could they canter as much as this.
Their lead was already worth two goals by the break, both fruits of an impromptu charity auction by Albion’s backline.
“We conceded ‘You’ve Been Framed’ goals,” rued Pritchard.
“If I had them on video, I’d send them to that show. We were worse than rubbish.”
Trafford scored twice more in the second half, equalling the heaviest league defeat endured by Pritchard since taking sole charge.
It leaves Witton still short of a point that makes certain their place in the Premier Division for another season.
Strange then that a team with four wins from their past five games on this pitch should appear so soporific.
Their guests’ opening goal, a contradiction to the pattern of the previous half an hour, was a blow that prompted the defensive amnesia that followed.
By full time it was a challenge to remember, but Albion were the better team during the early exchanges.
Josh Hancock deserved better than for Steve Mason to block a goal-bound attempt after Danny Andrews and Ross Davidson cut a swathe through Trafford’s defence.
Witton’s top scorer then saw a free kick deflected to safety before an acrobatic attempt flashed past an upright.
Shelton Payne, on his first meaningful contact with the ball, then danced his way past obliging defenders before clipping a cute shot over goalkeeper Matt Cooper.
It was an unexpected jolt.
Albion replied instantly, but custodian Tom Read saved smartly Andrews’ low drive.
At the other end Payne could barely believe his good fortune six minutes later when ex-Trafford full back Ally Brown made a mess of a pass backwards, a present he accepted with aplomb.
He turned provider for Rory Fallon at the start of the second half, only for the former Witton winger to fire straight at Cooper on his 200th start between the posts.
And when Payne was sent clear by Paul Ashton shortly afterwards, the outcome was identical.
Luke Heron fared better when slamming in a ball diverted into his path by Cooper’s fingertips on 69 minutes, again after Payne had drifted into a shooting space.
Andrews’ blast was too close to Read when Witton conjured a chance, though Hancock erred from close range when they had their clearest sight of goal.
Substitutes Chris Palmer and Mark Derbyshire then combined to add gloss to the scoreline with five minutes left, taking Trafford’s tally to a dozen goals from their past three games here.
Pritchard said: “I’m embarrassed by what I watched.
“I didn’t see it coming either, particularly after how we’ve played in the past few games. But errors, comical ones if you examine them, have cost us.”
Witton Star Man: Ross Davidson. Seems almost churlish to pick anybody after such a collective fail, but Davidson’s promptings from central midfield provided a platform for Witton’s better moments during the game’s opening half hour.
Witton (4-5-1) Cooper (GK), Gardner, Powell (Breeze 81), Bodie, Brown, Danny Andrews, Davidson, Sheehan, Jackson (Burleigh 56), Hancock, Titchiner Subs not used Dawson, Bakkor, Moseley Booked Powell, Bodie (both fouls)
Trafford (4-5-1) Read (GK), Welsh (Beadle 52), Mason, Bayunu, Smart, Heron, Schofield (Palmer 71), Martyn Andrews, Ashton, Fallon, Payne (Derbyshire 75) Subs not used Jones, Riley Goals Payne 34,40, Heron 69, Derbyshire 85 Booked Bayunu, Ashton, Fallon (all fouls) Sent off Fallon (handball, second caution)
Referee Matthew Pope
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