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Witton Albion lose a league match for the first time since February as Chorley avenge earlier defeat
IT was perhaps to be expected that Chorley would vanquish Witton given a chance to so soon after Albion outplayed them on their own pitch.
That fall fresh in their memory, and bolstered by signings in positions that proved feeble a fortnight ago, the Magpies became the first team to win in Wincham since February.
In striker Darren Stephenson and custodian Jack Cudworth, they had the game’s outstanding figures at both ends of the field.
Albion self-harmed too, ceding a soft penalty in the ninth minute when Danny Andrews and Chris Denham collided. Tom Ince’s conversion was assured.
Chorley’s lead was worth twice as much soon afterwards, Stephenson’s geometry just perfect as he squeezed in a shot from an acute angle after Witton keeper Matt Cooper, under no pressure, fumbled the ball into his path.
Referee Iain Siddall then incurred the wrath of Witton fans on 28 minutes when Andrews crashed over inside the box following a coming together with Simon Garner.
The linesman, better placed, flagged for a foul but the official ignored him.
Albion halved their arrears when they next attacked, Ashley Stott steering in at the far post after Shaun Tuck had fizzed the ball across goal.
It was a catalyst for Witton to take control.
Cudworth helped Josh Hancock’s drilled effort around an upright, then Anthony Gardner’s arrowed cross picked out Anthony Sheehan’s clever run.
Chorley’s net-minder blocked brilliantly, Andy Teague throwing himself in the way of Tuck’s shot from the rebound to avert the danger.
Gardner’s drive then scraped a post, but the visitors reached the interval with their lead intact.
Stott stabbed wide Gardner’s assist after the full back swapped passes with Andrews soon after the interval, but Chorley were more resolute.
Their threat increased too when Ciaran Kilheeney joined the attack.
Sheehan chipped over as Witton searched for an equaliser before Stephenson, on loan from Southport, forced Cooper to claw clear a shot after he wriggled away from Mathew Wood.
That strength served him when Chorley added to their advantage, the front man striking with power after Ben Harrison’s tackle had pushed the ball into his path.
Witton did not relent, Cudworth tipping over at full stretch after Hancock had darted into a shooting space inside the area.
The hosts had another claim for a penalty, stronger than their first, when defender Mark Ross felled Stott with a forearm but Siddall signalled for a free kick.
He’d had one of those nights.
And so a 21-matches unbeaten run in the league ends for Witton who, like at Buxton on Saturday, were punished without mercy for defensive distractions.
They have not shut out an opponent, nor have they converted enough chances for their points tally to reflect performances in six games so far.
“We won’t be beating ourselves up as there’s little wrong,” said manager Brian Pritchard.
“It’s frustrating to lose like we did, but the important thing is to bounce back quickly, which is exactly what we did after defeats last season.”
Witton Star Man Anthony Sheehan. His best game to date this season, the Witton skipper was authoritative during the hosts’ best spell shortly after they went 2-0 down. Unlucky not to score, forcing Chorley custodian Jack Cudworth to make a stunning save.
Witton (4-4-2) Cooper (GK), Gardner, Harrison, Booth, Wood (Buchan 78), Andrews, Sheehan, Fallon, Hancock, Stott, Tuck. Subs not used Glover, Cross, Woolley, Moseley. Goal Stott 29. Booked Sheehan (foul).
Chorley (4-5-1) Cudworth (GK), Walmsley, Teague, Ross, Garner, Denham, Vermiglio (Roscoe 45), Whitham, Steve Flitcroft (Kilheeney 59), Ince, Stephenson (Cunliffe 85). Subs not used Foster, Williams. Goals Ince 9, Stephenson 20, 75. Booked Denham, Ross, Whitham (all fouls)
Referee Iain Siddall (Bolton)