BRIAN Pritchard, Witton’s manager, watched his side lose for the first time during pre-season against Bradford Park Avenue – then insisted afterwards it might be a blessing.

After four games without defeat, Albion succumbed 2-1 to higher-ranked opponents after a close encounter.

Pritchard said: “They’re the best team we’ve played.

“We’ve rolled over opponents and had things our own way until now, so it’s good to be pushed.

“I don’t want complacency to set in because we’ve had some eye-catching results.

“If this stops players getting cocky, then I’ll take it.”

That is not to say the hosts were outplayed.

John Deacey’s men, who finished in the Conference North’s top 10 last term, scored twice in the final quarter of an hour to settle the outcome.

Substitute Jon Dawson replied for Witton.

“We passed the ball well, particularly in the first half and it was a decent contest,” said Pritchard.

“Both teams missed good chances, but I was happy considering we had experimented with a couple of trialists in the centre of midfield.

“We looked solid throughout, though one or two small things in the lead up to both goals have given us something to look at in training this week.”

Witton, who were without injured trio Michael Powell (knee), Alex Titchiner (hamstring) and Mike Koral (toe), host Stoke City’s under 21s in their penultimate friendly on Tuesday.

A trip to Conwy completes their pre-season preparation next weekend before Ilkeston visit Wincham Park on the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s opening day.

To read a report on Saturday's game, click here: