FOR Witton Albion, a first.

Before arriving in Crosby, they had lost every game on their travels in the Northern Premier League this season when their hosts had taken the lead.

Nor had they collected maximum points from a losing position home or away.

A double from captain Rob Hopley on his 150th appearance for the Northwich club changed that statistic and Carl Macauley’s men are unbeaten now in their past four Premier Division games.

They were playing catch-up from the moment Craig Carney fired low past goalkeeper Greg Hall within 90 seconds of the start.

Albion’s custodian was then equal to an effort from Marine skipper Danny Mitchley before the visitors levelled on 18 minutes.

Hopley took a touch to steady himself before steering a curling shot into the top-corner where Paddy Wharton, the home team’s number one, couldn’t reach it.

Tom Owens was then thwarted by a defender’s challenge after slaloming his way into a shooting space before Witton fell behind for a second time.

A set-piece from the right reached Chris Doyle at the near post and his flicked header crept past Hall.

Marine were reduced to 10 men early in the second-half after Doyle was punished for a reckless tackle on Albion front man Will Jones, back in the starting line-up to face his former club after recovering from a neck injury.

The hosts withdrew John Marsden, an attacker, and Mitchley was taken off too shortly afterwards.

In response, Macauley sent on Michael Wilson and switched to a three-man defence.

He also introduced striker Jordan Cobley, recruited from neighbours Barnton earlier in the week, and the visitors gradually took control.

They restored parity on 72 minutes when Owens rolled a shot past Wharton, who ought to have kept it out, from the edge of the penalty area.

And a decisive moment followed five minutes later when Hopley, teed up by former Mariner Billy Smart, converted from close-range.

However Witton were grateful to Hall for preserving a narrow advantage when he produced his best to deny Michael Elstone with time running out.

Marine | Wharton (GK), Tattum, Edge, Shaw, Doyle, Hynes, Carney (Murray 80), Irwin, Mitchley (Kinsella 68), Marsden (Strickland 56), Elstone Subs not used Sang, Mendes (GK) Goals Carney 2, Doyle 41 Booked Tattum Sent off Doyle

Witton | Hall (GK), Gardner, Devine, Wardle, Humphreys, Smart, Lussey, Owens, Hopley, Jones (Cobley 68), Foley (Wilson 58) Subs not used Noone, Booth, Yates Goals Hopley 18, 78 Owens 72 Booked Gardner (foul)

Referee Ian Gittins

Attendance 360