WITTON Albion have entered a new era in their history.

Five years ago they lost in a play-off final when a place in the Football Conference was the prize, days after missing out on automatic promotion by a single goal.

They have been relegated and played in two different divisions since but this emphatic, deserved victory is a history-making moment for football in Northwich.

The reaction of Albion fans at full time, a joy fuelled by pride for a team with so much promise, was raw.

Despite pleas from the public address announcer for red and white clad followers not to spill onto the pitch in celebration, those supporters – which made up the bulk of the crowd – did not listen.

Their team, promoted on the pitch as a reward for ending Curzon Ashton’s 26-games unbeaten home run, will now play at a higher level than their neighbours for the first time.

In the midst of it all were two men – manager Brian Pritchard and number two Mike Moseley – who as players had sunk to the turf in despair back in 2007.

Their reaction, at the end of a debut season on the touchline, was in complete contrast to that dark day.

Nor is their achievement a fluke.

Witton scored more goals than anybody else in Division One North this season, ending the campaign with a 17-matches sequence without defeat.

They brushed aside their opponents in the play-offs too.

The side they have put together has broken a list of club records, including new bests for the number of wins – and goals scored – away from home in the Northern Premier League.

Fitting then that they should finish the job on the road.

The visitors were tentative at the outset though.

Prevented by a blustery wind from finding a fluidity in possession that has become their trademark, they might have found themselves a goal down.

But Kristian Dennis, gifted a path to the target by Anthony Gardner’s back header, blazed skywards with only Matt Cooper to beat.

Witton were not so charitable again.

Simon Woodford had twice blocked brilliantly to deny Alex Titchiner and then Ashley Stott before the visitors opened the scoring on 32 minutes, Stott stooping low to head in a loose ball after goalkeeper Josh Ollerenshaw spilled Josh Hancock’s drive.

From that moment, and with their fans in full voice, the outcome rarely was in doubt.

Gardner poked an effort wide and Titchiner was stopped in shooting stride as Witton started the second half with purpose, Ollerenshaw’s clawed save to thwart Stott keeping Curzon, just, in contention.

While focused upon resistance, they mustered next to nothing in attack.

Hancock’s free kick flashed wide via a deflection from Samuel Walker before Albion at last doubled their tally on 72 minutes.

Stott, served by Danny Andrews’ pass after the winger had led a counter raid, finished with a flourish.

When top scorer Titchiner – who else? – left last man Simon Lakeland on the seat of his pants in stoppage time before steering in a third goal, the promotion party had long since started.

Witton’s Star Man Mathew Wood. Played with an energy that set the tone for his teammates.

Diligent in defence and direct going forward, he was Albion’s biggest asset at both ends of the field.

A word too for Ashley Stott, who was clinical when it mattered most.

Victim of at times more than robust defending, the front man has reserved for himself a place in the club’s history books following his double.

Curzon Ashton (4-5-1) Ollerenshaw (GK), Lakeland, Woodford, Watson, Hampson (Goodeve 50), Purcell, Matthew Kay (Nightingale 79), Summerskill (Blackshaw 72), Walker, Fish, Dennis
Subs not used Buckley-Smith (GK), Graham Kay
Booked Summerskill, Blackshaw (both fouls), Woodford (handball)

Witton (4-4-2) Cooper (GK), Gardner, Harrison, Booth, Wood, Andrews, Sheehan, James, Hancock, Stott, Titchiner
Subs not used Glover, Woolley, Cross, Gahgan, Moseley

Referee Ian Hussin (Liverpool)
Attendance 989