UniBond First Division South - Saturday 24th April, 2010 - Att 200
Team: Chris Howarth (Jack Baker 73); Colin McAllister, Carl Ruffer, Brian Pritchard, Danny Warner; Ross Lloyd, Paul Henry, Ollie James, Peter Heler; Brad Maylett & Ronnie Morgan. Substitute not used: Steve Brodie
This final match of the campaign bore an all too familiar pattern to many of this season's disappointing encounters. Dominating the opening stages, taking the lead then failing to extend and allowing the opposition to take their chance before being thwarted by blocked shots and a goalkeeper in fine form. Ultimately seeing the departure of manager Gary Finley as his team, of whom so much was expected, failed to produce the goods!
A forced change to the submitted opening line-up with Ross Lloyd coming in off the bench to replace Darren Jones who'd picked up an injury in the warm-up. Thus Albion's already understrength substitutes' bench was reduced but at least when Chris Howarth got injured, jumping with Danny Jenno to meet a corner-kick, a replacement keeper was thankfully present.
In the 5th minute Brad Maylett evaded the offside trap to burst through from a central position but saw his shot pushed out for a corner by keeper Laurie Pearson. On 11 minutes though Witton got their breakthrough when Peter Heler – later to receive both the Supporters’ and Players’ Player of the Season Awards together with his terrific strike at Matlock acclaimed as Goal of the Season – produced great work down the left before cutting in and delivering a perfect cross for BRAD MAYLETT, despite the ball bobbling slightly on the very hard surface nonetheless, clinically converted his 13th goal of the campaign.
Ten minutes later Ollie James sent a shot over the bar after Heler missed the first chance from a Maylett cross from the right. Dynamo’s first clear chance didn’t come until the 25th minute when left winger Luke Edwards sent his low shot screaming past the far post but his team-mate Carl Adams, just two minutes later, made a howler of a miss sending his shot wide of a gaping goal. Unfortunately Albion failed to take advantage of their good fortune when on 33 minutes, following good build-up work by Lloyd and Paul Henry, the inch perfect cross from Maylett saw Ronnie Morgan spurn the opportunity sending his shot wide of the target. True to form inside two minutes the long suffering Wittoners had to endure an equalising goal. The impressive Edwards evading a couple of challengers before sending in what may well have been a shot come cross that nonetheless was converted from close range by Kris Nurse.
Nine minutes after the break Pearson blocked Morgan’s well struck low shot before smothering the ball as Maylett followed up. At the other end Howarth held on to a good effort from Loz Hale a couple of minutes before he sustained his injury. When played resumed Pearson’s reflexes saw him save a close range Henry shot before Jack Baker produced a good stop from substitute Callum Ross. Shots were raining in on the visitor’s goal but were bouncing off defenders with Man of the Match Maylett the main sufferer however it was to be Baker whom probably produced the best save of the match in the final minute with Hale denied again.
So Witton finish in 7th spot, six points adrift of what most expected at the very least a play-off position when we embarked in August. However with hopefully a new Team Manager in place by this time next month and therefore enough time to assemble a squad of players to make a determined assault on the 2010/11 campaign.