Pitch inspection

Why should I watch..?

To see if Witton can bounce back following a narrow defeat at home to Warrington Town on Boxing Day, when substitute Tony Gray scored a stoppage-time winner for the visitors.

It inflicted on Albion a fifth defeat of the campaign in a Northern Premier League top-flight fixture at Wincham Park.

They host guests this weekend that have taken four points from their previous two visits.

Barwell have been out of sorts, although they did end an eight-match run without a win in the Premier Division when they prevailed 3-0 at Coalville on Tuesday.

The Canaries sit 16th in the table, but can close to within two points of Carl Macauley’s men if they triumph again.

What they’ve said

“It’s tough to defend for long spells like we had to in the second-half, more so when we don’t make the most of those chances to get forward.

“We held out well when you consider the changes we had to make.

“It’s a setback to lose, of course, but we’ll dust ourselves down and bounce back.

“That’s something we’ve always done in my time here.”

Gary Martindale, Witton Albion assistant manager

“We had to bounce back after losing to Marine, and what better way to do that than in a derby on Boxing Day?

“I asked to see some spirit, and for us to put in a performance.

“We needed to get a win under our belts, and now let’s see where we go from here.”

Jimmy Ginnelly, Barwell manager

Numbers game

A win at Sutton Coldfield last weekend means Witton have now collected more points away from home than they have at Wincham Park this season

Witton team news

The absence of four regulars through injury – Anthony Brown (knee), Anthony Gardner (ankle), Nick Ryan (fractured jaw) and Paul Williams (knee) – leave Witton little room for manoeuvre with their selection.

Joel Bembo-Leta is likely to deputise again in the middle of defence alongside Michael Wilson.

Barwell team news

Luke Foster and Nigel Julien, dismissed in a 4-0 defeat at home to Marine last Saturday, both start a suspension.

Manager Jimmy Ginnelly has moved to strengthen what he has described as a ‘threadbare’ squad by signing teenager Jake Warmington and forward Mitch Piggon.

Ryan Baldwin (ankle) is a doubt.

Man to keep an eye on

Joel Bembo-Leta

The versatile defender enjoyed a discrete debut at the heart of Witton’s backline on Boxing Day, helping Michael Wilson to keep Warrington’s Jamie McDonald quiet.

He is likely to fill in there again with Anthony Brown and Nick Ryan both still ruled out by injury.

Form guide (past six in league)

Witton L W D L W D

Barwell W L D D D L

Most recent meetings

Barwell 0-1 Witton (NPL Premier Division, August 26 2017)

Witton 2-2 Barwell (NPL Premier Division, February 14 2015)

Barwell 0-2 Witton (NPL Premier Division, September 6 2014)

Remember when…?

Barwell visited Wincham Park previously, in 2015, and established a two-goal lead by the break?

It prompted Witton manage Tony Sullivan to introduce new recruit Lucas Porquet-Molina as a substitute, a player that only seven days earlier had played five levels lower in a West Cheshire League second division fixture.

He made an impact though, playing a part in both of Albion’s second-half goals as they fought back to earn a deserved share of the spoils.

They were grateful as well to goalkeeper Andy Robertson for saving a late penalty.

The Guardian was there, and this is how we reported on what unfolded:


Witton 8/11

Draw 11/4

Barwell 11/4

Essential information

When Saturday, December 30

Kick-off 3pm

Address Wincham Park, Chapel Street, Wincham, Northwich CW9 6DA

Admission Adults £10, Concessions (OAP/Students) £7, Under 18s £3, Members of HM Armed Forces Free

Parking Free at the ground