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Witton Albion trail by two goals to Worksop Town before second half recovery seals maximum points
IF Witton make the play-offs at the end of the season, then this is a match they should point to for proof as to why.
That Albion, dozy in defence to gift their guests a two-goal interval lead, should prevail demonstrates the team they have blossomed into under Brian Pritchard.
They were lucky in part too, for a penalty – their second of the game – converted by Josh Hancock for the contest’s sixth goal appeared harsh punishment for Steve Towers’ tackle.
That said the intensity of the hosts’ recovery after half time would likely have broken Worksop’s resolve, which proved surprisingly brittle, before long anyway.
Tigers in adversity they were not.
They led though inside five minutes when Josh Glover, under pressure from Leon Mettam chasing to a through ball, directed it past goalkeeper Stuart Plant.
Witton were level in no time, Steve Foster using the pace of Mathew Wood’s driven cross to guide a cute finish, using his right instep, past Worksop custodian Paul Bastock.
Towers, from a close range header, should have restored the visitors’ lead from Mettam’s assist.
When an advantage was theirs again, they were grateful recipients of a gift; Plant, under no pressure, fluffed a clearing kick straight to Tom Denton who instantly steered a smart finish past the net-minder before he was back into position.
A third goal followed four minutes later when Craig King, after hurrying Wood into a mistake, teed up Towers.
His shot, struck cleanly with power and placement, arrowed past Plant.
Witton, without being outplayed, were playing catch-up for a second successive Saturday.
They ought to have been closer on the score sheet by the break, only for Michael Powell’s weak penalty kick – after Foster had been felled by Martin Ball – to be parried by Bastock.
The keeper was quick to react too when blocking Danny Andrews’ attempt from the rebound.
Mettam spun sharply away from Ben Harrison during Worksop’s first forward foray after the turnaround, but blazed wildly off target with a clear sight of goal.
Hancock, placed much closer to it at the other end, sliced horribly after Andrews had combined with Anthony Sheehan.
Pritchard picked Joe Shaw as most likely to change the pattern, putting on the substitute after an hour.
And the dividend was almost instant, his fizzed shot scraping an upright.
When Witton did find the net, the source was unlikely; Josh Glover, never before a scorer, stooped low to ease a header beyond Bastock from Shaw’s free kick.
From Albion’s next attack, they were awarded that second spot kick.
Towers appeared to time precisely his tackle on Andrews after Bastock had bravely beaten Sheehan to a loose ball, but referee Chris Isherwood disagreed.
Hancock, undeterred by his earlier miss, scored with the minimum of fuss.
Meanwhile Worksop, for the first time under sustained pressure, floundered.
So Witton’s winner, although late, seemed inevitable despite the brilliance of its execution.
Sheehan’s clipped assist to split the defence had style, though Tuck’s angled finish matched it for accuracy.
Witton Star Man: Anthony Gardner. Struck a perfect balance between defence and attack, restricting Worksop’s creative force, Ashley Burbeary, to a mere bit part role.
Mention too for Josh Hancock, who showed mental strength to convert a penalty for Witton minutes after shooting skywards with the goal at his mercy.
Witton (4-5-1) Plant (GK), Gardner, Harrison, Glover, Wood (Tuck 66), Andrews, Sheehan, James (Shaw 59), Powell, Hancock, Foster. Subs not used Cooper (GK), Horne, Moseley. Goals Foster 9, Glover 67, Hancock 69 (penalty), Tuck 83. Booked Powell, Harrison (both fouls), James (dissent).
Worksop (4-4-2) Bastock (GK), Clarke, Ball, Miller, Roe, King, Towers, Nyoni (Young 88), Burbeary, Mettam (Robinson 78), Denton. Subs not used Lindley (GK), Potts, Telling. Goals Glover 5 (own goal), Denton 35, Towers 39. Booked Clarke, Denton (both fouls).
Referee Chris Isherwood (Leyland)