FOR more than an hour on Tuesday, Witton Albion’s progression to the final felt uncertain.

Steven Tames then then struck twice, adding to a lead established by captain Anthony Brown’s header shortly before the break, to remove any lingering doubt.

This wasn’t one of their more memorable performances, although that can be excused after manager Carl Macauley made eight changes to the side that started last Saturday’s league meeting with Matlock.

What mattered was to win, and progress – something they did with plenty to spare.

Barnton played their part too, and Albion goalkeeper Ryan Neild was not unemployed.

Indeed, it is rare for Steve Lloyd’s side not to score.

They had chances to, notably when Jack Irlam’s drive forced the home team’s custodian to parry at full-stretch in the first-half before Ryan Malone fired into the side-netting in the second.

Tames was clinical though, and in increasing his goal tally for the campaign to 11 he showed the Villagers how it should be done.

He stooped low enough to cushion a perfectly-placed header out of net-minder Rob Cooke’s reach when Cesaire Lingouba’s cross reached him unmarked in the penalty area.

The outcome was the same with five minutes left, when the front man steered a cut-back from substitute Will Jones into the corner with an instep.

Job done, and Witton could think about lifting a trophy that has been out of their possession since 2009.

Barnton had chances to level before his intervention though.

Chris Bandell shot tamely at Neild after pouncing on a loose ball before Malone, filling in for injured captain Chris Smith, jabbed narrowly wide after creating a space from which he could shoot.

Witton’s number one was then swift from his line to avert the danger after Bandell flicked a header into his strike-partner’s path.

At the other end, Barnton’s Adam Bayley blocked bravely to deny Micah Evans after replacement James Foley had conjured an opening.

The first-half had been altogether more sedate, save for Cesaire’s early effort flashing wide.

Rob Hopley’s cross was smuggled clear by Adam Coleman after the striker had picked Paddy Hamid’s pocket, while George Mannion’s rising drive warmed Nield’s palms.

A breakthrough arrived on 42 minutes when Brown met Owen Dale’s corner with a thumping header.

It calmed Witton, for whom full-back Matty Devine played an hour following a six-week injury lay-off, and they duly protected their advantage for the remainder.

Witton | 4-4-2 | Neild (GK), Haywood, Brown, Wilson, Devine (McKenna 59), Evans (Will Jones 69), Eves, Cesaire, Dale, Hopley (Foley 59), Tames Subs not used Gardner, Hare (GK) Goals Brown 42, Tames 67, 85

Barnton | 4-4-2 | Cooke (GK), Hamid (Stafford 70), Coleman, Bayley, Mannion, Crofts, Webster (Houghton 64), Jason McShane, Irlam, Bandell (James McShane 83), Malone Subs not used Moores, Chris Jones (GK)

Referee Tom Elliott

Attendance 127