AFTER the past few days, this was a fillip Witton needed.

Albion climbed from the table’s bottom four as a reward for a victory secured by a vastly improved first-half performance that yielded goals for Jamie Rainford and Alex Titchiner, the latter ending a wait to score that started more than three months ago.

Witton are unbeaten now in four league matches, their best sequence since Tony Sullivan replaced Anthony Sheehan as manager.

However Stourbridge, despite Reece Hales’ dismissal for shoving Joe Shaw to the floor with two hands, were not subdued without discomfort.

Unease had crept into Wincham Park during the closing stages when a third goal continued to elude the hosts.

Most importantly, they held on.

Such resilience will be needed again in the weeks ahead.

Witton, with Tom Schofield making his second debut for the club after signing from Curzon Ashton and Titchiner recalled to support Rainford in attack, were the better side before the break.

Rainford sent his strike partner clear in the seventh minute, but the Glassboys’ goalkeeper Dean Coleman was swift from his line to divert the striker’s effort.

When Jon Dawson’s pass reached Rainford, he sliced narrowly wide.

At the other end, debutant Chris Lait fired off-target after wriggling past Sam Barnes inside the penalty area.

Rainford supplied Titchiner for a second time on 27 minutes, but Coleman dived to his left to again deny him.

Albion made a deserved breakthrough shortly afterwards, Rainford reacting quickly to gather Luke Clark’s cunning reverse pass before squeezing a shot inside the near upright.

They doubled their lead in the moments before the interval, this time when Titchiner drove with power past Coleman after meeting Dawson’s excellent driven cross.

He had not hit the net for Witton since a 3-0 win at Buxton on November 25.

Stourbridge sent on substitute Kayelden Brown at the break, while Albion were forced to withdraw Rainford with a groin injury, and the momentum changed direction.

Brown sounded a warning when his fiercely-struck shot was tipped brilliantly onto an upright by Andy Robertson.

Given another chance moments later, he speared a fine finish into the corner.

Hales then lost control, reacting with fury to Shaw’s tackle by pushing him over.

Referee Richard Bartlett, stood only metres away, had an easy decision to show a red card.

Stourbridge, initially at least, were undeterred, and Robertson shuffled his feet to block Fitzpatrick’s shot when the away team attacked next.

Brian Smikle headed over from Leon Broadhurst’s looping free kick too.

Albion’s best chance fell to Titchiner, who prodded against a post before a retreating defender blocked Danny Andrews’ follow-up attempt on the line.

Witton have won three of their past five league matches on their own pitch, drawing the other two.

With seven of their remaining 11 fixtures at home, they have reason to feel optimistic of survival.

Witton (3-5-2) Robertson (GK), Barnes, Goulding, John Shaw, Joe Shaw (Roddan 81), Schofield (Parker 90), Clark, Andrews, Dawson, Rainford (Molina 46), Titchiner Subs not used Swift (GK), Simpson Goals Rainford 35, Titchiner 45

Stourbridge (4-5-1) Coleman (GK), Smikle (Wint 85), Miles, Williams, Broadhurst, Benbow, Fitzpatrick, Connolly, Knight (Brown 46), Lait (Canavan 78), Hales Subs not used Morgan-Parker, Quaynor Goal Brown 52 Booked Connolly (foul) Sent off Hales (violent conduct)

Referee Richard Bartlett

Attendance 220