Colne v Witton Albion
Tuesday 6th December - 19:45
Colne face Northwich based, Cheshire outfit, Witton Albion at Holt House in the league, in a re-arranged evening kick-off.
Witton Albion, nicknamed the Albs, play their home games at Wincham Park, which they also lease out to neighbours and local rivals Northwich Victoria. Last season, Albion were plying their trade at step 3 in the NPL Premier division, but after finishing 21st out of 22 sides, they were automatically relegated to the NPL West.
Life in a lower division hasn’t quite gone to plan for Witton, as they have been disappointing so far, winning 6 times, drawing 4 and losing 7. They currently sit in 11th place with 22 points from 17 games. Their victories however, have been impressive, with home wins against Workington 3-2, Macclesfield 1-0, Ramsbottom United 5-1, and Hanley Town 5-1, along with away wins at Widnes 3-2 and Skelmersdale 1-0. After knocking out Tivedale 4-1 in the FA Cup preliminary round at home, Albion then faced FC United at Wincham Park, but lost to a single goal. Stockton Town knocked Witton out of the FA Trophy at the first stage, with a 4-3 away win. In their last game, on Saturday, Albion gained a creditable 1-1 draw at home to Clitheroe with Connor Hughes snatching an equaliser in the 89th minute to cancel out an earlier Reece Webb-Foster strike. In their last away fixture the Albs drew 1-1 at City of Liverpool thanks to a goal from Harry McGee.
Witton Albion players to watch - 21 year old forward Joe Duckworth, has joined this season from Winsford United. He’s also represented FC United and has scored 9 times in 22 appearances this season for Albion.
Skipper and midfield dynamo Kingsley Williams made 17 appearances for Colne in the second half of last season, before leaving in the summer. The 30 year old started his career as a youth at Sheffield United and has represented umpteen non league clubs as well as having spells in Australia and Spain.
Another familiar face, is that of right back Prince Haywood, who played 16 times for the Reds last season. Beginning his career in Italy, Prince - also 30 - has played for Stalybridge Celtic, Colwyn Bay, Ramsbottom, Radcliffe, Nantwich and is now in his second spell at Witton.
Ever present keeper Ollie Martin, came through Man City’s academy before moving to Fleetwood Town. Another with many clubs on his CV, Ollie has played for Stalybridge Celtic, Mossley, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom and City of Liverpool amongst others.
Elliot Rokka came through Man United’s academy. The attacking wide player has played mainly at Macclesfield Town, Radcliffe and Atherton Collieries, with various loans, including a 6 match spell at Holt House last winter. He joined Witton in the summer and has scored three times in 18 appearances.
Right wing back Mike Koral came through Crewe Alex’s academy and he’s played all his career in non league in Cheshire. Mike loves to get forward and has scored 5 times this season for Albion.
Winger/attacker Connor Hughes joined the club just over 3 weeks ago and he’s hit the ground running scoring 5 times in 4 games, including 4 against Hanley Town 10 days ago. Connor had scored 13 goals for Daisy Hill already this season before his move.
19 year old midfielder Cameron Fogerty came through Hyde United’s academy and was an astute signing for the Albs in the summer. The young playmaker is well regarded and represented Hyde 34 times in the NPL Premier division last season.
Long serving manager Carl Macauley left the club in the summer and he was succeeded by former PNE striker Jon Macken and his assistants Joss Hull and Steve Atkinson. Macken managed Colne for 20 games in the second half of last season, winning just 4 times, as the Reds’ play-off aspirations fell apart.
Last time out for the Reds - League leaders and full timers Macclesfield visited Holt House on Saturday as the Reds tried to turn around their home league form this season. Paul Dugdale was rested and replaced by Jake Wallace at left back as Phil Brown stuck with the same formation which played so well at Leek Town the previous week. Macc went for it from the off, kicking down the slope in the first half, but found it tricky to control their attacks. The Reds came right back at them as the game settled down and Lusiama was winning everything in the air for the front three.
And after 21 minutes, his endeavours were rewarded as he unleashed a powerful left foot 20 yarder, which looped over the keeper to give the Reds the lead. Owen Watkinson got into two great positions in the opposition box but his first effort was desperately blocked and the second well saved by Stanway in the Silkmen’s goal. The influential Colne centre back Glenn Steel had to leave the field after half an hour due to a lower leg injury and he was replaced by the returning Harry Winstanley, as the Reds saw out the first half. Dave McNabb rang the changes at half time and replaced striker Nathan Lowe with Nicky Maynard and skipper Laurent Mendy gave way for debutant Ibrahim Bakare. The league leaders stepped up a gear from the kick off and it was quickly apparent that their build up play was much better suited to playing uphill. James Berry had been their most productive outlet in the first half and he ran riot on the left hand side in the second 45, giving right back Tom Fagan all he could handle on that side of the pitch. It was indeed Berry’s free kick from his own half which led to the equaliser, as the searching cross was headed against his own cross bar by Tom Hoyle, and with Winstanley failing to clear, the ball then fell to Bakare to slot home on the hour mark. Phil Brown sent on fresh legs in the shape of Tom McCann replacing Oli Roberts in midfield, and as the away side dominated the last quarter, Paul Dugdale came on to replace striker Owen Watkinson 7 minutes from time to bolster the defence and hold out for a deserved point. Enock Lusiama’s tireless display and fantastic goal earned him a much deserved man of the match.
Who’s on Ashh’s couch? - Glenn Steel had to come off on Saturday, 10 minutes before half-time due to a sprained ankle and cracked rib and he’ll be unavailable.
New signing Ben Anderson wasn’t risked on Saturday due to a minor back issue and probably with tonight’s game in mind.
Luke Stowe is still nursing a hamstring injury and although he’s improved he’ll be out for a few more weeks and brought back slowly.
McDaniel “Danny” Kyobe is recovering from a fractured collar bone and he has been on non contact training since last week.
Aaron Turner is still awaiting a scan, concerning his meniscus knee issue.
Jack Doherty is still awaiting surgery for his ACL injury, that will rule him out for the season.
Hakan Burton is well ahead with his rehabilitation, which may well see him return sooner than first thought. The Colne keeper did some light training last Thursday.
Team news - The loss of Glenn Steel will be a blow to the Reds, but Phil Brown rested skipper Paul Dugdale on Saturday and he should return to the first eleven. Harry Winstanley came on for the injured Steel in defence on Saturday, in his first return since injuring his ankle at Clitheroe back in August and he’s another option in defence, or more likely back up from the bench. New signing Ben Anderson could start on the left if the gaffer reverts to two strikers.
Loan watch - Ellis Wallbank played two full home games for Longridge Town last week; against Bury AFC last Wednesday in the North West Counties Premier league in a 2-3 loss, and against Eccleshill United on Saturday in the FA Vase, where they were defeated on penalties after drawing 1-1.
Matty Kardacz was a late substitute for Padiham on Friday night away at joint leaders Vauxhall Motors in a 0-1 narrow defeat in the North West Counties Premier league.
Witton Albion arrive at Holt House having won 2 away games this season, losing 4 and drawing 3. They are unbeaten in their last 4 league games, gaining a point last Saturday at home to Clitheroe, where their keeper Ollie Martin kept them in the match, as Clitheroe dominated and missed several gilt edged chances. After finally going behind 10 minutes from time, Albion showed their spirit and grabbed an equaliser in the 89th minute, then spurned 2 golden opportunities deep into injury time to win the match. Colne have lost 1 in their last 6 league games and were desperately unlucky to lose that game at 2nd placed Leek Town. They also showed how much they have improved by holding leaders Macclesfield to a 1-1 draw on Saturday. Witton like to keep the ball down and play football and will likely face the same frustrations Macc encountered 3 days ago. The Reds seem to hold the upper hand in the middle of the park, but the Albs have been more potent up front, scoring twice as many goals as the home side. Their front 3 of Rokka, Hughes and Duckworth could well be matched by Weaver, Watkinson and Lusiama for the Reds, so expect an end to end encounter. Having dropped a place to 18th after Saturday’s draw, a win would promote Phil Brown’s men all the way up to 14th spot. A more likely draw would see the Reds jump up to 16th, with a game in hand of their bottom half rivals.
Admission Prices are:
Adults : £9
Concessions & Students with Valid ID: £6
Under 16's: £1
Under 12's: Free
Sat 10th December - 1874 Northwich v Colne - 15:00 NPL West
Tues 13th December - Colne v Workington - 19:45 NPL West
Sat 17th December - Kidsgrove Athletic v Colne - 15:00 NPL West
Today’s other NPL West game - 19:45
Runcorn Linnets v Trafford