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North Ferriby United end wait for a win at Witton Albion as they complete a league double
NORTH Ferriby had never won at Witton before today, nor had Albion boss Brian Pritchard lost twice to the same opponent in a league season.
On a day of firsts, the hosts slipped from the play-offs places after a fifth successive game without maximum points.
Meek in defeat at Marine seven days previous, this performance had the courage, in attack at least, that one lacked.
Shame then that defensive distraction will take attention off that.
Pritchard took a risk to pick goalkeeper Matt Cooper, ruled out last weekend with injury, when he could not kick with his favoured right foot.
The custodian, movement hampered, was hopelessly exposed, and the Villagers punished the home team ruthlessly.
It seems folly then to suggest that the table-toppers were lucky to lead at half time, yet they certainly were.
Danny Andrews’ low shot forced Ferriby keeper Adam Nicklin to save, then Mathew Wood’s cross-cum-shot clipped the crossbar as Witton imposed themselves on their guests.
They were sent a warning when Chris Bolder scrambled wide Ryan Kendall’s centre after he won a race with Cooper to reach Ben Harrison’s header.
When Anthony Gardner scorched from his own half into the opposition penalty area, a bobble blighting his finish, control of the contest was with Witton.
They trailed though when Anthony Wilson steered in a loose ball after Cooper had blocked a shot by Kendall, given a sight of goal after nudging Danny Meadowcroft off balance.
The defender, on his home debut, restored parity less than five minutes later when hammering in a rebound after Nicklin has parried Steve Foster’s header.
When Gregg Anderson’s clumsy trip sent Foster sprawling soon afterwards, Gardner fluffed a chance to give the hosts a deserved lead when his spot kick hit a post.
Undeterred, Witton led anyway when Foster directed Josh Hancock’s drive past Nicklin.
But Albion’s lead lasted less than two minutes, Kendall squeezing the ball past Cooper from the acutest of angles after escaping the attention of Harrison.
When the same player was gifted another goal, this time when Cooper and Harrison dithered in dealing with a pass, the calamity was complete.
Ferriby, passive for the most part, could scarcely believe their luck.
They were forced back at the start of the second period too, Foster shooting too high on the spin before Hancock hurried a finish he didn’t need to with no defender close enough to challenge.
After that, Albion’s lost coherence previously present when they attacked.
The visitors made the most of it, Kendall almost swelling their lead twice on the counter.
First, Harrison deflected his shot to safety before the second fizzed past an upright.
A fourth, deciding goal followed for Ferriby when Anderson swept in a rebound from close range after Cooper had palmed Wilson’s shot into his path.
“We weren’t clinical, but they were,” said Pritchard afterwards.
“Had we scored the penalty, then we might have led 3-1 and been in greater control. Instead it feels like doom and gloom because we’ve lost.”
Witton Star Man: Steve Foster. An example for others to copy; workrate is there each game, but showed desire in spades even without the service he can usually rely upon.
Witton (4-4-2) Cooper (GK), Anthony Gardner, Ben Harrison, Meadowcroft, Wood, Andrews, Sheehan, James (Shaw 79), Hancock (Moseley 85), Foster, Tuck. Subs not used Plant (GK), Clayton, Glover. Goals Meadowcroft 27, Foster 33. Booked Wood (foul), James (ungentlemanly conduct).
North Ferriby (4-4-2) Nicklin (GK), Steve Gardner, Anderson, Foot, Peat, Clarke, King (Fry 63), Bolder, Williams (Ridley 77), Wilson, Kendall. Subs not used Pecora (GK), Bradshaw, Banks. Goals Wilson 23, Kendall 35, 45 (+1), Anderson 78. Booked King, Wilson (both fouls).
Referee Ian Gittins (Morecambe)