WITTON must wait another week for a first win of the New Year after their latest tie – a third in succession – irked manager Brian Pritchard.

The Albion boss said a 3-3 draw at Stocksbridge Park Steels was the right result, although the fact that his team led with two minutes to go left him furious.

“It feels like a defeat,” he said afterwards.

“We climbed a mountain, only to topple over the edge by committing defensive suicide.

“When we went ahead we thought that was it, then self-destructed. It’s unacceptable.”

Witton led for 60 seconds of an absorbing encounter, Josh Hancock’s stunning shot from distance putting them in front after they had twice fought back from a goal down.

But Stocksbridge, better than their guests for the most part, rescued a merited point when Alex Callery blasted through a crowd of players.

Steels have still only won once on their own pitch in the league since March, a statistic Pritchard pointed to in explanation for his players’ poor performance.

“I was unhappy with the players’ attitude before the game; they were flat,” he said.

“They’ve not responded at all to our fans turning up in big numbers to support them, which isn’t good enough.

“I felt we didn’t get started at all, and Stocksbridge were hungrier to be on the ball.

“It took a severe rollicking at half time to wake up people, although even then we were rubbish defensively.”

At 2-1 Callery, who conjured Steel’s opening goal for Matt Hamsahw, directed a header off-target when well-placed.

Witton, in a different formation following Alex Meechan’s introduction in place of Paul Booth, were level soon afterwards when Shaun Tuck swivelled and shot in the same movement.

Pritchard added: “There were a few choice words said at half time; that’s the first time I’ve walked out early [for the second half], I was embarrassed to look at them.

“Despite all of that, I can take some comfort from us playing badly but avoiding defeat. We won’t get away with that often though.”

Witton slip a place to fourth in the table ahead of next weekend’s crunch clash with Worksop.

A visit to Runcorn Town in the Cheshire FA Senior Cup precedes that this Wednesday, kick off 7.45pm.

To read a match report, click here: http://bit.ly/WAT2ML