WITTON Albion, despite being without Matty Devine and Steven Tames, proved too strong for Coalville.

They scored five times, and followed a midweek victory against Workington with another to reach sixth spot in the Northern Premier League Premier Division table.

Tom Owens and James Foley both scored in the game’s opening quarter to help Carl Macauley’s men assume control.

Lee Cox replied for the visitors before the break, only for Rob Hopley to restore a two-goal cushion early in the second half.

Ben Hedley made it 4-1 with his first strike of the season before Dean Freeman sent a header past goalkeeper Calvin Hare from the restart to keep the Ravens’ hopes alive.

However they lasted only until Hopley hooked in his second of the game with eight minutes left.

Here are the main talking points:

Is Witton’s emergency over then?

Was there ever one?

A five-match losing streak was uncomfortable, and certainly a cause for concern when Albion failed to score in four of those games.

However back-to-back victories since have made a narrow reverse at Hednesford feel a lot longer than seven days ago.

Carl Macauley never panicked, and nor did his players despite a sizeable dent to their confidence from the worst run of results during his tenure.

They stayed composed, and never let their work-rate drop.

Their reaction on Saturday to Dean Freeman manhandling Danny McKenna – after the full-back had stayed down following a hefty tackle – was illuminating too.

When the Coalville man turned around, he was faced by a group of red and white-striped shirted foes.

A fast-start leaves opponents playing catch-up

Carl Macauley talks often about how his team’s performances are influenced heavily by how they begin.

Witton have scored 25 goals in 18 matches this season and 11 of those – almost 45 per cent – have arrived in the opening half-hour.

That figure includes seven inside the first 15 minutes.

Coalville were caught cold this time around, and trailed 2-0 midway through the first-half before they had constructed an attack of their own.

Albion are at their best when playing at a high tempo, and the momentum from fast-starts tends to take them to a victory.

The manager opted for a high-energy midfield, made up of Prince Haywood, Tom Owens, Ben Hedley and James Foley, that appeared fitter – certainly hungrier- than a visiting team feeling fragile themselves after four successive defeats.

First goal wins (well, almost)

It’s a pattern that remains striking.

Witton have collected a single point from eight games in which they have conceded first, losing on seven occasions.

Conversely, they have yet to lose after taking the lead.

That has happened on 10 match-days, and eight of those have ended with Albion collecting maximum points.

The other two led to draws; at Mickleover on the season’s opening day and during a 1-1 draw at Workington 10 days later.

The statistic is more a reflection of the competitive nature of the Northern Premier League’s top-flight than a commentary on the team’s ability to fight back – something they proved more than capable of last term.

Spreading the load

Following last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Hednesford, Carl Macauley called on his side to be less reliant on their forwards for goals.

At the final whistle against the Pitmen, Rob Hopley, Will Jones and Steven Tames had contributed 17 of Witton’s 19 goals this term.

“We need to chip in with goals from elsewhere, and lads have to be hungry to get into the area and try to get on the end of something,” he said.

“That would help us.”

Reassuringly, the players appear to have listened.

Tom Owens and James Foley bagged their first goal of the campaign against Coalville by nudging a cross into the net from inside the six-yard box.

In the second-half, Ben Hedley’s forward-run was reward with his maiden strike after Hopley teed him up.

In praise of Danny McKenna

The teenage full-back produced probably his best performance for Witton to date in this game.

His composure is impressive for a young player adjusting to life at this level, a feat that is more impressive considering he has returned to Wincham Park after the season had started.

Without the benefit of pre-season to absorb what Carl Macauley and Gary Martindale expect of him, he is learning on the job.

Gave a glimpse of his technical skill too by curling a direct free-kick onto the woodwork in the first half.

That came moments after he had denied Daniel Creaney a goal at the other end by smuggling the attacker’s shot off the line following a corner.