CARL Macauley said his players had delivered a performance he had craved on Saturday when they eliminated AFC Rushden & Diamonds from the FA Trophy.

Witton Albion progressed to the final round of qualifying following a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Cesaire and Zack Reynolds – a full-back for the opposition that sliced into his own net.

It put behind them the disappointment of a defeat against Stalybridge Celtic on the same pitch in midweek.

“We were Jekyll and Hyde on Tuesday,” said the Macauley, Witton’s manager.

“After putting that game in the bin we knew we had to be much better, and we were.”

The Albion boss changed formation with River Humphreys occupying a position in the middle of a back three to allow Anthony Gardner and Matty Devine to attack from full-back.

With Will Jones unavailable and Delial Brewster ruled out by an ankle injury, he recalled Cesaire in midfield and stationed Tom Owens closest to Rob Hopley.

It worked a treat too.

Macauley said: “I wanted us to be more secure at the back because I was so disappointed with the goals we conceded [against Stalybridge].

“If we could be tighter, and at the same time give Anthony and Matty more freedom to get forward, then I felt we could cause them problems.

“We were playing at home, and so I wanted us to take the initiative.

“Bringing in another defender isn’t a negative move; in fact, it’s the opposite, and it allowed us to be positive.”

He told the Guardian that Hopley, Witton’s captain, had succumbed to an injury when he left the field early in the second half to be replaced by Chris Noone.

However he added that the striker should recover in time to line up against Buxton in a Northern Premier League fixture next weekend.

“Rob took a knock but it isn’t too bad,” said Macauley.

“An extra couple of days to recover, because we’re not now playing in midweek, will be of benefit to him.”

Witton had been due to host Farsley Celtic on Tuesday but their Premier Division rivals have to replay an FA Trophy tie with Carlton Town instead following a goalless stalemate this afternoon.