A FIRST win of the summer will boost Witton Albion’s confidence but their performance against City of Liverpool posed more questions than it delivered answers.

They were not outplayed, but nor did they convince at both ends of the field.

Fortunately, they have four more warm-up games in which they have ample margin for improvement.

None of their shortcomings are new to manager Carl Macauley, and his focus remains very much on finding a forward with speed to fill a vacancy created by Steve Tames’ departure.

Coincidentally, their opponents at Wincham Park on Saturday possessed one with exactly those attributes.

Craig Cairns, a summer recruit for the Purps from North West Counties League Premier Division rivals Runcorn Town, was the game’s outstanding individual player.

His movement caused problems for Albion’s backline all afternoon, and one darting run behind Josh Wardle ended with him firing past goalkeeper Greg Hall to open the scoring.

A linesman’s flag had denied him an opportunity to do exactly the same moments earlier.

Witton restored parity at the end of the best move of the match when Billy Smart steered in James Foley’s cross from close-range after captain Rob Hopley had slipped a pass into the midfielder’s path.

The hosts’ approach play was neat, and they had more possession, but a lack of natural width forced them to be intricate in central positions.

Macauley sent on four substitutes immediately after the interval and one of them, Danny McKenna, conjured the first chance of the second-half, However Will Jones’ header from his cross was off-target.

Albion were incisive again when Michael Wilson’s raking pass invited Matty Devine to sprint into the penalty area from where he rifled a shot goal-wards that custodian Ben Ascroft did well to block at his near post.

At the other end, Cairns brought the best from Hall who diverted the striker’s attempted lob to safety after he had again ran in behind Witton’s backline.

However outcome was settled in the home team’s favour from the final attack of the game when Tom Owens nudged a curling free-kick from McKenna over the line after Smart had flicked on.

Witton | Hall (GK), Triallist A (Gardner 46), Triallist B (Wilson 46), Wardle, Devine, Triallist D (Cesaire 46), Smart, Foley (McKenna 46), Owens, Hopley (Triallist C 70), Jones Goals Smart 43, Owens 90

Purps | Ascroft (GK), Davies, Denson (Spearritt 68), Robinson, Foy, Pepper (Clair 61), McEllin, Holt, McGrath, Cairns, Greenop (Rogers 61) Sub not used Cain Goal Cairns 35

Referee Tom Swift

Attendance 166