CARL Macauley admitted after Saturday’s draw with Chester that Witton Albion’s best chance to progress at Blues’ expense had passed.

However he acknowledged his players’ performance after they again came from behind against higher-ranked opponents in an FA Trophy encounter.

“We wanted to get through in front of our own supporters, where we’ve been at our best this season,” he reflected.

“That’s why we gambled in the last 15 minutes or so, and got bodies forward.

“I felt we were unlucky not to win; the desire and determination those lads showed was terrific. They played with so much energy, too.”

Witton fell behind when Jordan Chapell nudged Kane Richards’ header into the net from close range nine minutes before the break.

However Albion deservedly drew level after an hour when Brad Bauress steered in a ball steered into his path by a defender’s goal-line clearance.

The hosts then went closest to scoring a decisive goal, first when Karl Noon’s attempt struck the crossbar and then when Chester goalkeeper Alex Lynch made a stunning save to deny the same player after his shot had been deflected.

Macauley said: “I thought it was sneaking into the bottom corner.

“It’s a fantastic save, one that’s kept them in the competition.

“I wanted us to be more aggressive in our play in the second half, to be braver making runs towards their goal. We did that.

“I couldn’t have asked for more.

“Our heads didn’t drop after we went 1-0 down either, but then this group of players never knows when they’re beaten.

“They’ll never give up; it’s something I’ve instilled into them from the moment I arrived here.”

Chester, ranked 65 places and three divisions higher than their hosts at kick off, will now have home advantage for a replay at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium on Tuesday night.

A draw for the FA Trophy second round precedes it on Monday.

Macauley said: “We’ve given Chester something to think about.

“I felt we could match them at Wincham Park, and we proved that.

“Now let’s see what happens in midweek; I expect it to be open, and we’ll do everything we can to get through.”