WITTON Albion’s players have promised to support Nick Ryan after he suffered a broken leg during last night’s game.

The defender was taken to hospital by an ambulance summoned immediately after he had sustained the injury while challenging an opponent for the ball during a 2-2 draw at Marine.

His teammates, some of them visibly distressed, salvaged a share of the spoils after scoring an equaliser in the sixth minute of added time.

Following the final whistle, they agreed to donate money they have collected over the course of the campaign – earmarked for a holiday they have planned together next month – to the 24-year-old.

“This is a special bunch of lads,” said Witton boss Carl Macauley.

“We all want to stick by Nick and make sure we give him our full backing.

“It’s tough as a player to see your teammate get hurt like that.

“We talked about it after the game, and Paul Williams stood up before making a suggestion that they use what they’ve put into the kitty – for social stuff and their trip away at the end of the season – to help him get by.

“It’s a great gesture, and we’re all desperate for him to make a speedy recovery.”

Macauley paused more than once to compose himself while describing the scene in the dressing room after the game, his voice trembling with emotion.

He added: “Everybody was right behind it, and I think that’s brilliant.

“It’s all we can think about – forget about the result – because we know just how hard it is on him.

“He has had so much bad luck; he broke his jaw just before Christmas, and now this – it’s another bad, bad injury. I’m gutted.”

Rob Hopley’s goal established a lead for Witton shortly after Ryan had left the field on a stretcher before James Murray capitalised on a defensive error to restore parity.

James Short appeared to have sealed a victory for Marine when he scored in added time.

However Steve Tames bundled a loose ball over the line on 96 minutes to earn Albion a point they deserved.

Macauley said: “A draw was fair and, while we weren’t at our best, we improved enough in the second-half to take something from the game.

“I’ve talked about it previously, but the spirit this side has means they keep on pushing.

“To do that in those circumstances, when it would be understandably to switch off an worry about what had happened, shows what they’re about.”