Witton Albion 1-1 Hednesford Town

THIS game turned out to be Witton's season in microcosm.

Albion took the lead, and then kept capable opponents at arm’s length for the most part, before conceding a late goal that cost them victory.

They will feel particularly rueful too after wasting glorious chances to render the Pitmen’s reply pointless.

However to criticise Carl Macauley’s men too harshly would be unfair given that they end the season on the back of their longest sequence without losing a Northern Premier League fixture.

In fact, only Grantham Town have beaten them since the end of February.

It was perhaps inevitable that the atrocious conditions – a swirling wind made heavy rain driving – would assist a goal if one was scored.

Anthony Gardner had already prompted Hednesford goalkeeper Jacob Weaver to back-pedal frantically before tipping over a cross that took an awkward trajectory.

There was nothing the visitors’ number one could do when the full-back did it again on nine minute, the ball arcing over him and into the corner of the net.

Hednesford, feeling confident themselves after losing only one of their previous nine Premier Division fixtures, were not deterred.

Josh Wardle, chosen afterwards by Macauley, and his teammates, as Albion’s player of the season, almost diverted Nathan Fox’s cross into his own net.

Fox was thwarted again when his rising drive was fumbled around an upright by Witton goalkeeper Greg Hall.

Albion then fluffed a sitter.

Weaver was swift from his line to smother Rob Hopley’s shot but James Foley was alert to reach the loose ball and square it quickly to Will Jones.

However the front man steered wide with the goal at his mercy.

Hednesford had a first glimpse of the target in the second-half when Ben Bailey’s raking long pass was taken in his stride by Bradley Wells.

His finish, confused as he poked at the ball with his left boot rather than the right one, was less accurate.

It was then Hopley’s turn to puff his cheeks in embarrassment after he lifted a finish over the bar after Weaver had failed to tame Danny McKenna’s hopeful pass.

Charlie Gatter was relieved when his attempt to intercept Will Jones’ cross saw the ball flashed wide of the far post before Ben O’Hanlon smuggled Hopley’s skidding header off the line from the resulting corner.

The Pitmen finished strongly, and Kieran Wells leapt highest to direct Fox’s cross over the bar.

Fox was more decisive when he connected with substitute Matt Curley’s centre, the power of his header leaving Hall with no chance of making a save.

There was two minutes left on the clock.

Witton | 4-4-2 | Hall (GK), Gardner, Offord, Wardle, McKenna, Owens, Smart, Doyle, Foley, Hopley, Jones Subs not used Cesaire, Abadaki, Neild (GK), Devine Goal Gardner 9 Booked Gardner (foul)

Hednesford | 4-3-3 | Weaver (GK), Vidal, Bailey, Gatter, O’Hanlon (Lycett 85), Hallahan (Curley 75), King, Harvey, Bradley Wells (Wright 67), Kieran Wells, Fox Subs not used Veiga (GK), Turner Goal Fox 88 Booked Vidal (foul)

Referee Christopher Porter

Attendance 362