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Match Preview: Witton Albion (H)

Andrew’s Match Preview

Colne v Witton Albion

NPL West

Holt House

Tuesday 8th November - 19:45

Colne face Northwich based, Cheshire outfit, Witton Albion at Holt House in the league, in another evening kick-off. The Reds have played 5 times this season under the floodlights in the league and FA Trophy, winning 3, drawing 1 and losing 1.

Witton Albion, nicknamed the Albs, play their home games at Wincham Park, which they also lease out to neighbours and 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 4 times, drawing 2 and losing 7. They currently sit in 16th place with 14 points from 13 games. Their victories however, have been impressive, with home wins against Workington 3-2, Macclesfield 1-0, and Ramsbottom United 5-1, along with an away win at Widnes 3-2. 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 lost a close game at home to 2nd placed Leek Town 1-2, despite outplaying their opponents in the first half and leading through a Jordan Barrow goal. Town however made two subs at the interval and goals from Grace and Oliver secured the points. In their last away fixture, the Albs lost 1-2 at Trafford, who scored the winner in the last minute (highlights of both games available on YouTube on Trafford TV/Leek Town FC).

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 17 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 twice in 14 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. 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 - Following their 5 star performance the previous week, after smashing Warrington Rylands in the FA Trophy, the Reds’ disappointing home league form returned. Bootle arrived at Holt House on a 5 match losing streak, including a 4-1 home defeat in their last fixture. Oli Roberts dropped to the bench, nursing a hamstring issue, and Tom McCann took his place in the middle with Luke Stowe returning to the left hand side. Colne started ok and had some early play before Bootle adjusted better to the wet and windy conditions, kicking downhill on the heavy pitch. The Bucks showed their attacking intent with Nivaldo, McGowan, Hodkinson and Holland getting forward at every opportunity, and it was Jack McGowan who took advantage of a set play corner to arrive round the back of the Colne defence, unmarked, to give Bootle the lead on 19 minutes. Three minutes later, Reds striker Owen Watkinson had to be substituted after a clash of heads left him with a deep cut above his eye. Matty Kardacz came on to sit in the centre of the park, McCann moved to offensive midfielder and Craig Carney joined Lusiama in attack. And it was Enock Lusiama who had Colne’s best chance before the break, pouncing on a dropped ball by Stanway in the Bootle goal, but his goal bound strike was cleared off the line by Jacques Welsh. Ten minutes into the second half and the Bucks should have gone two up. Leading goal scorer Ben Hodkinson rounded Mendes in the Colne goal, but somehow managed to smash his shot over the goal. The Reds then began to take control, and kicking down the slope the pressure mounted, resulting in two quick yellow cards for Bootle’s full back Ben Roberts, who was sent for an early bath. With 20 minutes left on the clock, Jake Wallace was sacrificed as Lucas Weaver joined the Colne attack from the bench, moving McCann over to the right. Bradley Knox was lucky to only see a yellow card for what looked like a very aggressive challenge deep in the opposition half, as the Reds piled forward. This resulted in another red card for the Bucks, when substitute Will Bell was dismissed from the bench for entering the field of play to confront Knox. After 80 minutes, 10 man Bootle were undone by a long range effort from “natural goal scorer” Craig Carney, whose strike from outside the box somehow ended up in the Bootle goal. Colne couldn’t get a second, and a point apiece means that the Reds remain in 18th place with 12 points from 12 games. Despite a silly lunge which could have had a different outcome on another day, Bradley Knox was influential once more in the middle of the park, and he was Colne’s man of the match once again

Who’s on Ashh’s couch? - Oli Roberts missed Saturday’s game against Bootle with a hamstring issue, but hopefully he’ll be back.

Ellis Wallbank is back training fully and he is available if selected.

Owen Watkinson needed staples for a cut eye received on Saturday and he’s likely to miss out tonight.

Harry Winstanley is back to full training, and hopes to be back involved for the visit to AFC Fylde.

McDaniel “Danny” Kyobe is recovering from a fractured collar bone and is a couple of weeks away.

Aaron Turner is waiting to see a specialist concerning his meniscus knee issue.

Jack Doherty is still awaiting surgery for his ACL injury.

Hakan Burton is keeping fit whilst nursing his shoulder injury, and he is responding really well to his rehabilitation.

Team news - The loss of Owen Watkinson will be a big blow to the Reds, but Phil Brown has the option of selecting either Lucas Weaver or Craig Carney to partner Lusiama up front. Hopefully Oli Roberts will be fit enough to return to the midfield with Tom Fagan and Matty Kardacz on standby. Ellis Wallbank should be available back from injury, for the bench.

Witton Albion arrive at Holt House having won just 1 away game this season, and on the back of 2 close defeats. After playing an adventurous 433 early on in the season, results have tempered that enthusiasm and 442 is now the norm. Of that front 2, Macken has tried several forwards to play as a foil to leading scorer Joe Duckworth, the latest of which has seen right back Mike Koral promoted to the attack, and he’s lapped it up scoring 3 in 3. Physically, powerful central midfielder Jordan Barrow was Witton’s best player against 2nd place Leek on Saturday, and he’ll relish the muddy Holt House slope. The Reds are unbeaten in 3 ,and managed to salvage a point on Saturday, despite being a goal behind for much of the 90 minutes; a game they would have lost earlier in the season. The balance of the side was better against Bootle, with Luke back on the left, and the midfield controlling the second half. Another tough game is expected tonight, with both sides struggling to find enough consistency to pull away from the relegation pack, and both manager’s will be focussing primarily on not losing the game. A draw therefore seems the most likely outcome, which would move the Reds up a place in the table. A win would elevate Colne up to 15th spot.

Admission Prices are:

Adults : £9

Concessions & Students with Valid ID: £6

Under 16's: £1

Under 12's: Free

Upcoming games

Sat 12th November - Ramsbottom United v Colne - 15:00 NPL West

Tue 15th November - Newcastle Town v Colne - 19:45 NPL West

Sat 19th November - AFC Fylde v Colne - 15:00 FA Trophy 2nd round

Today’s NPL West game - 19:45

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