BRIAN Pritchard told his players not to panic after they lost the first of a potentially defining double-header against Skelmersdale.

Witton will welcome promotion rivals Curzon Ashton to town next weekend nine points adrift of the Evo-Stik NPL Division One North summit after a 2-1 defeat.

But the manager called for calm afterwards.

“We lost one match, nothing more,” he said.

“The results of teams around us in the table make it an extremely disappointing day but, like we have done previously this season, we’ll bounce back again.”

He refused to blame the blustery conditions, nor an enforced fortnight off following five successive postponements, for the hosts’ lacklustre display.

They are still searching for a home win against Skelmersdale in a league encounter, although Anthony Sheehan’s twice-taken penalty at least gave them a first goal.

Pritchard said: “There are no excuses; we’ve trained plenty of times to stay sharp and played a practice match last weekend.

“I’m more upset that we didn’t deliver in front of a big crowd again. It’s like Groundhog Day.”

In front of their four biggest attendances this term, Albion have now lost three times.

They slip a place to fourth in the table as a result.

Pritchard said: “I don’t think we deserved a draw.

“They were competitive, but we didn’t adapt to the conditions as well as they did.”

Witton did have chances, specifically for Josh Hancock and substitute Mark Buchan, but could not pinch a point despite Sheehan’s spot kick halving their arrears following Josh Hine’s double for Skem.

Pritchard added: “Both goals were a disaster defensively.

“While the service to our front players wasn’t good, we still had more opportunities to score. However we weren’t as clinical.”