WITTON Albion played for more than an hour with 10 men following Billy Smart’s dismissal before they could celebrate a fourth win of the season.

The points felt precious though after they climbed from the Northern Premier League’s Premier Division bottom three as a reward.

Rob Hopley scored the game’s only goal, rifling home James Foley’s cross from the left after debutant Liam Goulding – signed on loan from Altrincham on Friday – had seen his near-post attempt cleared off the line.

Both Foley and Hopley then saw efforts produce corner kicks.

Following the latter on the half-hour mark, Smart went to ground with a Lancaster defender.

Appeals from the Dolly Blues, who accused the midfielder of biting, persuaded referee Kristian Silcock to show a red card – his second since a summer switch from Marine.

Another altercation five minutes before the break further incensed the home bench, and most of the crowd, when Craig Stanley was booked for taking out Will Jones.

Lancaster piled on the pressure in the second half, during which Albion goalkeeper Greg Hall needed the assistance of teammates Goulding, Danny McKenna and substitute Michael Wilson to divert goal-bound shots to safety from Paul Dugdale and replacement Steve Williams.

Witton might have doubled their tally with time running out only for Tom Owens lobbed shot to loop over custodian Jack Simms and the crossbar.

Witton | Hall (GK), Gardner, Devine, Wardle, Goulding, Smart, McKenna, Owens, Hopley, Jones (Michael Wilson 76), Foley Subs not used Booth, Brewster, Noone, Yates Goal Hopley 16 Booked McKenna Sent off Smart

Referee Kristian Silcock

Attendance 262

Match report by Phil Chadwick