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Dave Walker scores double on Witton Albion debut to secure maximum points at Worksop Town
ALBION, at last, appear to have an attacker that can make them upwardly mobile again.
Dave Walker, signed on a month-long loan from Premier Division rivals Rushall Olympic, only met his new teammates when boarding the bus bound for Worksop.
But he delivered a double, including the 300th goal of Brian Pritchard’s tenure as manager, to end a sequence without a league win that had stretched to six matches.
The hosts ought to have seen it coming; Walker scored twice for the Pics when they visited Sandy Lane last season.
It was a stylish swish of Josh Hancock’s right boot ultimately separated the sides, a strike so clean – and so perfectly-placed – that the substitute would have had cause for complaint had it been anything other than decisive.
That said, Worksop boss Mark Shaw will find defeat hard to take, and justifiably so.
His side ought to have led before Walker opened the scoring midway through the first half, while skipper Leon Mettam squandered a spot kick at the start of the second.
Phil Roe’s free kick sneaked in off an upright on the hour, putting Tigers 2-1 up, but it arrived at a moment when Witton had assumed control.
Pritchard immediately sent on Hancock and Neville Thompson to make sure it stayed that way.
He was rewarded, for the opportunism that served Walker so well before the break was evident again when he reached first Hancock’s knock-down to restore parity soon afterwards.
Worksop, top-heavy with four attackers, were short on numbers in defence when Hancock drifted inside from the left touchline to swerve in an emphatic winner.
Witton had stuttered through September without a single victory, a period that went so well for Tigers that they received a league Club of the Month prize before kick off.
What a difference a week, or a forward, makes.
Walker was Albion’s tenth alternative in attack in only a dozen matches, a run that had yielded a meagre 13 goals.
He was ruthless when Roe made a mess of a defensive header from Jon Dawson’s deep cross on 22 minutes, steadying himself before slamming the loose ball into the net.
At the other end, Worksop had been more forgiving in front of goal.
Conor Higginson’s pass put Tom Denton face-to-face with goalkeeper Matt Cooper in the first minute, but the latter saved smartly.
He did so again when Denton met Jordan Lemon’s cross shortly afterwards.
Higginson, elusive in a free role behind the hosts’ front three, sent a shot against an upright with his instep soon after Walker’s goal.
It surprised nobody that he claimed Worksop’s merited leveller on 35 minutes, a dipping drive from outside of the box.
Mettam, after being tripped by Jon Breeze’s flailing leg, then slammed a penalty against the crossbar seconds after the interval.
It encouraged Albion, and Dawson’s volley scraped a post from Danny Andrews’ delicious assist.
Roe’s goal, arced in from the right without anybody adding a touch, did not deter them.
Witton Star Man: Dave Walker. The on-loan front man met his new teammates for the first time at 1.45pm. By 5pm he’d scored twice to help Albion to a precious points haul. While the goals are important, his awareness of runners around him when holding up the ball allowed Witton’s creative players like Anthony Sheehan and Danny Andrews to flourish.
Worksop (4-2-1-3) Hallam (GK), Lemon, Gaughan, Salt, Roe, Davies, Clarke, Higginson (McKenzie 78), Muldoon, Denton, Mettam (Twell 81) Subs not used Pursehouse, Cottingham, Wall Goals Higginson 34, Roe 63
Witton (4-4-1-1) Cooper (GK), Brown, Harrison, Joseph, Moyo, Andrews, Powell (Hancock 65), Breeze, Dawson (Thompson 65), Sheehan, Walker (Wilson 82) Subs not used Ashworth, Purcell Goals Walker 22, 69 Hancock 75
Referee Matt McGrath (East Riding)
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