WITTON Albion’s hopes in the build-up were defined by who wouldn’t be playing for them.

However those that did deserve the attention now.

They delivered for Carl Macauley arguably the best result of his tenure as manager, and in thrilling fashion.

When Alty overturned an interval deficit to establish a 3-2 lead midway through the second-half, even the most ardent Albion supporter will have wondered if their chance had gone.

And who could blame them?

Alty hadn’t lost a league game at Moss Lane since the season’s opening day, and no side had prevailed against them in any of their past 16 Premier Division fixtures.

Not that Witton’s players cared.

They conjured another equaliser with nine minutes left when Tom Owens steered in off an upright after Will Jones and Steven Tames had combined to cut open the hosts’ defence.

Settle for 3-3? No chance.

Will Jones’ decisive strike, with two minutes left, was worthy of winning any game.

He still had work to do when former Albion favourite Ben Harrison, under no pressure, skewed a clearing header skywards.

The front man steadied himself by controlling the ball on his chest before thumping a volley where goalkeeper Tony Thompson had no chance of stopping it.

Alty, stunned, could not react.

The Robins had struggled throughout for fluency in fast-deteriorating conditions that left the pitch sodden.

Macauley, because of those absences, was forced to improvise.

He stationed striker Rob Hopley in the centre of defence, and swapped left-back Danny McKenna to the opposite flank to accommodate Matty Devine.

Prince Haywood was tasked with smothering James Poole, and made sure the table-toppers’ creative spark only occasionally flickered.

He was not close enough to prevent an opening goal on six minutes though.

Josh Hancock slipped a pass Poole’s way, and his drive was too forceful for custodian Calvin Hare.

Jordan Hulme reacted swiftly to bury the rebounded ball.

Witton’s reply was instant, and Owens looped a shot in off the post after fooling a defender with a clever feint.

It settled the visitors, and they deservedly took the lead when James Foley jabbed in a loose ball after Jones’ hooked attempt hit the crossbar from Owen Dale’s free-kick.

Hancock had a glimpse of goal from Poole’s pass, but could not hit the target.

Alty adjusted better after the interval, and Poole prodded in a leveller from Hulme’s cut-back.

They edged in front when debutant full-back Andy White stroked low into the corner from outside of the penalty area, apparently catching Hare by surprise.

Albion rallied again though, and Dale’s free-kick flashed over.

Owens timed his run perfectly from midfield to reach Tames’ pass before Thompson, hauling his side level at 3-3.

Jones almost punished the Robins’ custodian for a sloppy clearance, only to shoot straight at the recovering net-minder.

However the striker’s next contribution was worth the wait.

Witton will of course be stronger when those injured players return to action, but their teammates have proven they can cope just fine until then.

Alty | 4-4-1-1 | Thompson (GK), White, James Jones, Harrison, Hampson (Densmore 72), Hancock, Moult, Richman (Peers 90), Johnston, Poole, Hulme Subs not used Miller, Hannigan, Deasy (GK) Goals Hulme 6, Poole 54, White 67 Booked Richman, Densmore (foul)

Witton | 4-5-1 | Hare (GK), McKenna, Hopley, Wilson, Devine, Tames, Owens, Haywood (Cesaire 86), Foley, Dale (Evans 86), Will Jones Subs not used Coughlan, Neild (GK) Goals Owens 8, 81 Foley 24, Jones 88 Booked McKenna (foul)

Referee Daniel Hitchell

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