For Winsford United, there was no reward for a performance that in truth deserved one.
Lee Duckworth’s men will wonder quite how they didn’t at least force a penalty shoot-out after spending almost the entire second-half inside Witton Albion’s territory. The player-manager’s strike, hard and true with his left foot deep into added time, was brilliantly parried by Ryan Neild.
The goalkeeper’s intervention felt of equivalent value to a goal scored earlier by James Foley that ultimately separated the sides. It is perhaps fitting that a player considered by Carl Macauley to have been the best performer in his team this season should be one that delivered for Witton a first victory in this competition in close to a decade.
Albion gave only glimpses of their class, although their best moment of the match was decisive. Danny McKenna’s deep cross from right to left was cushioned perfectly by Rob Hopley into Foley’s path and, after taking the ball away from custodian Matthew Green, he nudged it through the narrowest of gaps at the near post.
It was a reminder that Albion could, if pressed, produce the goods.
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