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Witton Albion remain unbeaten this season after sharing the spoils with Worksop Town
THE last time Witton went home without a point from an away match was November last year, so a draw likely left neither side dissatisfied.
Worksop’s wistfulness will run deeper though, for their – admittedly few – chances to win were better.
Albion, slow to start after spending so much emotionally and physically in their success at Chorley in midweek, improved enough after half time to justify a share of the spoils.
The initiative was with Worksop during the opening exchanges, Matt Young and Massiah McDonald both forcing goalkeeper Matt Cooper to get his gloves dirty.
Leon Mettam flashed the Tigers’ next attempt narrowly over.
Witton went closest to scoring though, Danny Andrews’ arced free kick from 20 yards hitting an upright with the hosts’ custodian Paul Bastock not close enough to argue he had it covered.
It was a catalyst for the visitors, who until then had not found the fluency that made them master the Magpies on Tuesday.
Indeed, the led on 38 minutes.
Josh Hancock swept a glorious pass from one side of the field to another for Andrews, who waited to time his assist to a marauding Anthony Gardner.
A less acute angle than his scoring position four days earlier, the full back’s effort was pushed by Bastock into the path of Shaun Tuck who could not miss.
Had Ashley Stott not sent a hurried attempt too high when he had a clear sight of goal straight from the restart, then the outcome might have already been settled.
Worksop restored parity five minutes later though, when improvisation was rewarded.
Mettam caught out Albion when his clipped free kick sent Steve Towers into a shooting space, the midfielder’s attempt finding the net via Gardner after colliding with a post.
Albion’s adventure was more marked after half time, Rory Fallon’s drive from distance missing the target not by much.
Hancock drifted into a central position from which he forced Bastock to block a skidding shot, Tuck’s instinct allowing him to arrive first at the rebound although not with the same outcome as in the opening period.
Brian Pritchard’s men persisted, Andrews and Anthony Sheehan joining forces on the right to create another opening for Tuck.
The ex-Skelmersdale striker’s shot was on target until defender Luke Shiels, unwittingly, diverted it to safety with a heel.
In a reversal of the first half’s pattern, Worksop made the best chance next.
Towers timed his pass perfectly to split Witton’s defence and send Mettam scampering clear, but his finish was feeble with only Cooper an obstacle to goal.
There was calamity too when the Tigers’ next opportunity arrived, Shiels’ foray forward ending with a cute pass for Owain Warlow.
Away from Gardner’s attention, he slid the ball sidewards when a shot seemed a certainty, but McDonald was surprised and tripped Paul Booth in an attempt to reach it.
Worksop made it a hat-trick of howlers with time running out, Stuart Ludlam and Mettam blocking each other in their bid to reach Shiels’ knock down.
Witton Star Man: Paul Booth. Witton were put under more pressure in this game than either of their previous encounters, so attention turned to Albion’s defence. Booth relished the physical head-to-head with Massiah McDonald, which he edged before Bruno Holden’s introduction.
Worksop (4-4-2) Bastock (GK), Clarke, Shiels, Ludlam, Craven, King (Beeson 74), Young, Towers, Warlow (Holden 77), McDonald, Mettam. Subs not used Chris Wood, Hawes, Telling. Goal Gardner (own goal) 44. Booked McDonald (confronting opponent), Shiels (foul), Beeson (entering field of play without permission).
Witton (4-4-2) Cooper (GK), Gardner, Harrison, Booth, Mathew Wood, Andrews, Sheehan, Fallon, Hancock (Glover 83), Tuck, Stott (Buchan 83). Subs not used Schofield, Woolley, Moseley. Goal Tuck 38. Booked Andrews (handball), Wood (foul), Booth (confronting opponent), Stott (simulation).
Referee Nick Hopton (Derby)