10:51am Friday 26th July 2013
By Andrew Simpson
BRIAN Pritchard continued to tinker with his team as Witton Albion slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to higher-ranked neighbours Macclesfield Town on Thursday.
The manager, who picked one trialist in his starting line-up before sending on five more in the second half, said afterwards he remains undecided whether any of those will fill the handful of spaces in his squad for the forthcoming Evo-Stik Northern Premier League campaign.
“They’ll get one more chance to impress,” he added.
“For a couple, Saturday’s game [at Alsager] is a final opportunity to stake a claim to be signed. I know I need to make up my mind sooner rather than later.”
Witton supporters got a first glimpse of new recruit Nicky Platt alongside Michael Powell in midfield, while Kyle Wilson – Pritchard’s other summer signing so far – supported Steve Foster in attack.
Opponents Macclesfield, preparing for a second season in the Football Conference’s national division, sent out a mixed team of trialists and fringe players along with new attacking recruit Connor Jennings.
He was the first half’s outstanding performer, although by the time the on-loan Scunthorpe striker started to shine the visitors ought to have trailed.
But Josh Hancock slipped as stooped to head Powell’s centre, so was unable to direct it on target from close range.
Jennings escaped the attention of Ben Harrison shortly afterwards, but his lobbed finish was collected by ex-Silkmen custodian Matt Cooper after rebounding off an upright.
He was ruthless when another chance followed on the quarter hour, clipping a cute finish into the corner after again wriggling clear of Witton’s backline.
Hancock restored parity though with a thumping header, this time when Anthony Gardner swept in a cross from the right.
Macclesfield edged ahead early in the second period when Max Lonsdale steered an angled finish out of Cooper’s reach, although substitute Stuart Wellstead – unmarked – wasted Witton’s best chance to equalise a second time.
Unmarked, he headed high Hancock’s swept assist.
Pritchard added: “The goals we conceded were soft considering how well we defended previously.
“We’re looking sharper in the final third though, and had enough opportunities to have avoided defeat.”
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