WITTON Albion’s hopes of a play-off place suffered a big blow on Saturday, but manager Jon Macken had “absolutely no complaints.”

He admits his side’s defeat at struggling Hednesford Town was a deserved one, although he believes the 3-0 final scoreline was harsh on his side.

The hosts, who are battling to escape the Northern Premier League West Division’s relegation zone, scored three times in the final 20 minutes to further their own cause and damage that of their visitors.

Matthew Barnes-Homer struck the crucial opener on 70 minutes and as Witton pushed forward in search of a route back into the game, they conceded late goals to Jai Verma and Adriano Moke.

With City of Liverpool – the team occupying the final play-off spot – winning 1-0 at Mossley, Albion end the day trailing the top five by three points.

After the game, Macken was critical of his side’s work in attack amid his dejection at letting an opportunity to stay on the heels of their rivals slip by.

“I’m really disappointed,” he said.

“If I’m honest, I don’t think it was a 3-0 game – it ended up like that as we had to push forward – but we weren’t at the races.

“I’ve got absolutely no complaints about the result and I think they deserved it.

“They showed real grit and determination to win the game. They won a lot of second and third phases, they were strong at the back and they limited us.

“I thought we were really poor in the final third today with our energy and our decision-making, we were trying to force things and it just didn’t click today.

“It’s really disappointing because there’s not many games left and we were in a really good position.

“We’re just going to have to see what materialises but when I look back on it, the disappointing thing is the opportunities we let slip.

“They’re not going to come around again and today was one of them.”

They now move onto an Easter Monday derby against neighbours 1874 Northwich at the U Lock It Stadium – and that is now a game both sides must win.

For 1874, only a victory will give them any chance of delaying their seemingly inevitable relegation from the NPL following their latest defeat this afternoon.

They suffered late heartbreak at Townfield, with Nathan Barry striking the only goal for visitors Newcastle Town with just eight minutes remaining.

1874 are now 15 points adrift of safety with just five games left, meaning anything other than a victory over their neighbours on Monday will see them relegated.

Even that may not be enough, with any points gained by Trafford between now and the end of the season being enough to seal their fate.

Meanwhile, Barnton secured an impressive 2-1 victory at promotion-chasing Sandbach United in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

Two goals in as many minutes from William Igoe just after the hour mark put the Villagers in command and although Niall Cope pulled one back as the game entered injury time, Barnton saw out a 2-1 victory on the road.

Winsford United and Northwich Victoria both saw their matches postponed – Winsford were due to visit Cheadle Heath Nomads while Vics were slated to host Highgate United.

Today’s Cheshire League Premier Division action saw Middlewich Town beat AFC Knowsley 3-2 at Seddon Street thanks to Ben Brown’s brace and a further Jordan Johnson goal while Lostock Gralam drew 1-1 with Poynton, with Aaron Gee on the scoresheet.

In League Two, Winsford Town moved top of the table as a James Dean double helped them to a 4-1 win at Stretford Paddock while Hartford FC thrashed Wigan Town 7-0 at Moss Farm.