A win will boost confidence

Every manager, usually after a defeat it must be said, remarks that results don’t matter during pre-season – and that’s true.

However it can’t do any harm to harness some of the feel-good or, at least ‘feel-better’, from overturning a deficit to record a victory thanks to a last-minute goal.

It’s not that Witton look like a side short on confidence, but failing to protect leads against both Vauxhall Motors and Northwich Victoria – will have irked.

It must be remembered though that they won only once last summer, and the campaign that followed didn’t turn out at all badly did it?

When it clicks…

A move leading up to Witton’s first goal, scored by Billy Smart shortly after Craig Cairns had put the visitors in front, was the best of the match.

It was incisive, with James Foley steering a perfectly-weighted cross into his fellow midfielder’s path after captain Rob Hopley’s pass inside full-back Francis Foy had given the attack momentum.

A lack of natural width – in the first-half it came only when Albion’s full-backs ventured forward – forced them to be intricate in the final third.

When it came off, the Purps were cut open, but that seldom happened.

Seeking security in defence

Carl Macauley stationed Chris Noone deep in front of Witton’s back four in the first-half, although a fluid front three in opposition colours still caused problems.

Cairns’ movement, particularly when he spun into a space behind Josh Wardle, was productive when he timed a run perfectly to blast in the game’s opening goal.

More than once, goalkeeper Greg Hall’s alertness and ability to anticipate averted the risk of a repeat.

Noone’s departure meant there was no specialist in his role after the interval, and Albion looked vulnerable as a result.

A starting line-up that featured four central midfielders – Noone, Billy Smart, Tom Owens and James Foley – will strive for balance in the games to come.

Finding a role for Danny McKenna

His introduction as substitute after the interval almost brought an instant dividend when he conjured a cross from the left that created an opportunity for Will Jones.

A former winger who can deliver quality from wide positions on either side of the pitch, he at least allowed Albion to stretch the visitors’ defence.

And if Witton’s search for a striker doesn’t bear fruit in time for their trip to South Shield’s on the opening day, then his crossing – to exploit the aerial prowess of Hopley and Jones – will be a vital part of Albion’s armoury.

There is time yet

Carl Macauley has fixed in his mind where he would like to strengthen in the coming weeks, and has done for a while.

But nor will he rest on his laurels, and he told the Guardian afterwards that an experiment with a different formation – principally to make his side harder to score against – is an option being given serious consideration.

He did exactly the same last summer, and deployed a five-man defence in the opening weeks of the campaign that yielded three clean-sheets in the first five games.

It worked a treat; they collected 11 points from 15 on offer.