DESPITE a goalscoring debut from new signing Jesse Dowling, Witton Albion slipped to defeat at promotion-chasing South Shields this evening.

The forward - signed on dual registration from AFC Liverpool yesterday - equalised for Carl Macauley's men direct from a free kick in the 15th minute after Cedric Main had given the Mariners an early lead.

Moments later, he came agonisingly close to giving the visitors the lead as he crashed a shot off the woodwork.

However, two goals either side of half-time from Sam Hodgson gave South Shields a 3-1 victory and stretched Albion's winless league run to seven matches.

He first nodded home Connor Tee's free kick before converting the rebound after Witton stopper Greg Hall had saved Blair Adams' effort.

Before Hodgson's second goal, Callum Saunders had seen two chances to equalise go begging as Albion gave their more illustrious hosts problems to no avail.

Meanwhile, Northwich Victoria remain unbeaten in 2022 but fell short of recording a third win in a row since the turn of the year.

They had to come from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against struggling Ashton Athletic in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

Brad Lynch scored Vics' equaliser just before the hour mark, slotting home Matty Birchall's cross at the far post.

Sam Harding's superb free kick just a minute after the break had given Ashton the lead, but the hosts finished with 10 men after Edwards Servuts was dismissed for a second yellow card