CARL Macauley admitted a goal in the moments before half-time had dented his side’s belief that they could mount a comeback at Buxton on Tuesday.

Sam Smith squeezed a header past Calvin Hare, Witton’s goalkeeper, to double the Bucks’ lead.

It set Albion on a course towards a fifth defeat from their past half-dozen matches in the Northern Premier League’s top-flight.

A fortnight earlier, they had climbed to the Premier Division’s summit following a 4-1 win at home to Stalybridge.

“It was bitter pill to swallow conceding when we did,” said Macauley.

“The lads came in 2-0 down and it hits confidence that is fragile.

“It’s a long way back from there, and even though we gave it a good go in the second half we didn’t create much more than a couple of chances.

“Buxton weren’t much of a threat to us either, but they didn’t need to attack.”

Albion had begun brightly, and both Ben Hedley and James Foley had a glimpse of goal in the early exchanges.

However they fell behind in the fifth minute when Smith teed up Brad Abbott and the midfielder steered past Hare from inside the penalty area.

Joe McGee was wasteful for the home team when well-placed, failing even to hit the target, while Smith fired wide too after McGee had nudged the ball his way.

At the other end, Buxton goalkeeper Jan Budtz reacted smartly to parry an effort that had been deflected by a teammate.

Macauley sent on Micah Evans in place of Hedley after an hour to introduce speed and width to Albion’s attack, but they failed to score for a third successive game.

“We’re vulnerable to crosses from set-pieces at the moment and that’s a concern,” said the Witton manager.

“It’s something we’ve attempted to address in training, but clearly there is more work to do.

“Lancaster made us pay from dead balls last week, and we were undone again [against Buxton].

“It’s an unforgiving league – just look at some of the strange results that come through every match-day – and we’re feeling that.”

Buxton | Budtz (GK), Jake Williams, McWilliams (Meade 46), Ravenhill, Maguire, Young, McGee, Abbott, Smith, Hinsley, Morrison Subs not used Burns, Hardy, Ant Wilson, Kaba Goals Abbott 5, Smith 45 Booked McWilliams

Witton | Hare (GK), Gardner, McKenna, Foley, Brown, Ryan, Haywood, Owens, Hopley, Tames, Hedley (Evans 62) Subs not used Paul Williams, Michael Wilson, Neild (GK)

Referee Ian Johnston

Attendance 238