WITTON Albion remain in a rut, and on this evidence may be stuck there longer.

They have never lost four successive matches in the Northern Premier League with Carl Macauley in charge, a statistic they hope stays intact when they visit Buxton on Tuesday.

For now, a run of four defeats from their past five Premier Division matches is a reason to scratch heads.

Mickleover’s Jake Scott was sent off in the second minute as punishment for a reckless tackle on Prince Haywood, who limped off shortly afterwards, but the visitors still collected maximum points.

They played the remainder of the opening period with 10 men behind the ball, a measure that proved effective in frustrating hosts that toiled to trouble goalkeeper Lewis King.

Albion were often patient, sometimes ponderous, and went closest when Mickleover winger Jimmy Phillips’ errant back-pass dribbled the wrong side of an upright with King out of position.

Witton’s starting line-up was bolstered by goalkeeper Calvin Hare and midfielder Tom Owens, making a first appearance since returning to England from a spell in Australia, but they still fell behind on 57 minutes.

Player-manager John McGrath’s free-kick picked out defender Pablo Mills, and his header looped into the net.

Macauley responded by sending on Rob Hopley and Micah Evans, in place of James Foley and Will Jones, but with little by way of a dividend.

Indeed, Paul Williams’ attempt from long-range was their best effort.

Sports got lucky with when they doubled their lead on 68 minutes, when Albion captain Anthony Brown appeared to divert McGrath’s free-kick past a stranded Hare and into his own goal.

Macauley lost his first three games after replacing Scott Dundas in the dugout in October 2015, a sequence unrepeated until now.

Witton | Hare (GK), Gardner, McKenna, Foley (Evans 59), Brown, Ryan, Haywood (Hedley 23), Owens, Jones (Hopley 59), Tames, Williams Subs not used Wilson, Neild (GK)

Mickleover | King (GK), Grocott, Burgin, Mills, Turner, McGrath, Scott, Phillips, Dales, Morrison (Garnett 46), Thomas (Alex Morris 46) Subs not used Ben Morris, Belgrave, Draper (GK) Goals Mills 57, Brown 68 (own goal)

Attendance 247