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Substitute Mark Buchan scores for Witton Albion to earn friendly draw with Stalybridge Celtic
BRIAN Pritchard felt that his team again exceeded expectation to draw with a higher-ranked rival.
Albion substitute Mark Buchan’s clinical finish cancelled out a headed opener by Stalybridge Celtic triallist Sam Egerton-Wilson to earn the hosts another tie with a team from a division above.
“I can only be encouraged,” said the Witton boss afterwards.
“We robbed nothing by grabbing a goal in what I felt was an even second half.
“The humidity made it hard going at times as the pitch became s bit sticky, but I was pleasantly surprised by how one or two of the triallists did.”
In a first half short on memorable action, winger Danny Andrews fluffed Witton’s best chance when he failed to make a clean contact with Shun Tuck’s assist from the right.
Stalybridge switched sides in the second half, the introduction of familiar faces Mitchell Austin, Dennis Sheriff and Greg Wilkinson providing a cutting edge sorely missing before the break.
The Blue Square Bet North outfit took the lead on 58 minutes when former Lancaster City man Sam Egerton-Wilson applied a headed finishing touch to fellow triallist Christopher Aurier’s curved free kick.
Austin’s attempt from distance thudded against the woodwork, with goalkeeper Matt Cooper a spectator, soon afterwards.
Albion restored parity on 65 minutes, Buchan placing perfectly his shot on the turn after a defender had horribly miscued Mat Wood’s cross into his path.
Substitute Joe Shaw then headed too high Matt Cross’ free kick as the hosts finished the match strongly.
Witton (4-4-2) Cooper (GK), Coo, Harrison (Shaw 46), Glover, Wood (Frost 70), Andrews (Fallon 53), Schofield, Cross (Woolley 70), Hancock (Aspinwall 62), Stott (Buchan 62), Tuck (Steele 53). Sub not used Ratcliffe (GK)
Stalybridge (4-4-1-1) (First half) Branigan (GK), Bleau, Platt, Bembo-Leta, Coleman, Mullan, Barrow, Warburton, Kimbaloula, Pepper, Laird
Stalybridge (Second half) No team details given
Referee Richard Bartlett (Sale)