Witton Albion's players felt the pressure of expectation at Stafford according to boss Brian Pritchard

Witton Albion manager Brian Pritchard

Witton Albion manager Brian Pritchard

First published in Football Northwich Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Writer

BRIAN Pritchard believes nerves affected Witton Albion’s players during Saturday’s stuttering draw at Stafford Rangers.

The visitors relied on a late goal from Danny Andrews to avoid defeat against opponents resigned to relegation already, leaving them still six points adrift of a position of safety in the Premier Division table.

They host Stamford tomorrow, Tuesday.

“For a long time I thought we were going to lose,” said Pritchard.

“It felt like the same old, same old so I’m relieved to get something from what was an important game for us.

“There are nerves in the group about where we are, which definitely had an impact.

“The lads were lethargic, and only showed any urgency in the closing stages.

“Mind you it’s nice for us to score a goal, instead of conceding one, in the last few minutes for a change.”

Michael Powell smuggled the ball in from close range to put Witton ahead midway through the first half, only for Stafford to twice punish defensive lapses to establish a 2-1 lead in the moments before the break.

Albion toiled to create any chances afterwards, save for Ally Brown prodding wide from close range.

Pritchard accused his players of abysmal defending to allow Rangers, 11 points adrift of their guests at kick off, back into the game.

He said: “As a former central defender, I’m disgusted at the examples of so-called marking that led to us conceding twice.

“It was even more infuriating when you consider we scored at a good time and, while nowhere near the levels of performance we’re capable of, were in control.

“We have to adapt better to what was a poor playing surface better than we did. Yes, the pitch didn’t help but that shouldn’t have been a surprise.

“I expected more, and so did our supporters. I accept they won’t be happy with what they saw, but we still scored a point and are unbeaten now in three league games.”

To read a report on Saturday's game, click here: http://bit.ly/1ipEl0a

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