Report: Kendal Town Vs Witton Albion
Kendal come back from two goals down to progress in the FA Cup
Sensational Leadbetter steers Kendal into next round of FA Cup
Kendal Town 4 Witton Albion 2
FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
KENDAL Town are through to the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round after coming from two goals down to beat Witton Albion at Parkside Road.
Kevin Leadbetter was in sensational form as he bagged a hat-trick and almost single-handedly got Town a win that boosts their coffers to the tune of £4,500.
But with half an hour played the idea of playing in the next round of the FA Cup looked nothing more than a pipedream as Kendal were 2-0 down and were totally being played off the park.
The Black and Whites got off to the worst possible start when Ashley Stott lifted the ball over returning keeper Craig Dootson to put Witton Albion in the lead after just 52 seconds when he beat the offside trap.
Kendal were at sixes and sevens all over the pitch and Witton could have doubled the lead when they were awarded a penalty after Alex Randell tripped Daniel Andrews. But Shaun Tuck’s penalty was poor as he dragged his spot-kick wide to give the Parkside Road outfit a let-off.
But no such mistakes were made in the 23rd minute when Dootson made a good save to tip Paul Booth’s header onto the bar. But with acres of time and space and nobody closing him down, Stott finished to make it 2-0.
Witton threatened to run riot on the half hour mark when Marc Joseph headed into his own net but Stott was judged to be offside when the ball was crossed in, which resulted in the goal being scratched off.
With Kendal being run ragged, manager Lee Ashcroft changed the formation to a 4-4-2 after starting with the 4-5-1 that worked so well against Marine last Tuesday night. Danny Williams, who started at left back, was pushed further forward and Danny Wisdom filled the void, with Leadbetter going up top with Alex Taylor.
And the change gleaned immediate results when against the run of play Kendal’s arrears were reduced. Captain Joseph played a long ball, and Leadbetter beat the offside trap to tuck the ball beyond Witton stopper Matthew Cooper to make it 2-1.
Three minutes before half time Kendal were awarded a penalty when Taylor went down under the challenge of Matthew Cross. Leadbetter stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to equalise.
But Town almost took an undeserved lead going into half time when Leadbetter dragged his shot wide after working his way into a glorious position, and he should have scored.
Witton started the better of the sides in the second half when hat-trick seeking Stott put no power into his header at the near post from an Anthony Gardner cross, and Dootson was able to comfortably catch.
The game had calmed down in the second half after the ferocious pace of the first, but the away side still threatened, Dootson coming out of his net brilliantly to deny Tuck when the striker got the better of Paul Alexander.
But Kendal were coming back into the game and from the 73rd minute Leadbetter had a few chances to get his and Town’s third.
Firstly he tried to loft the ball over Cooper’s head when he was one-on-one with the keeper before dragging a half-volley wide with the goal at his mercy six yards out.
But with 15 minutes left, he got his goal with arguably the toughest chance of the lot. After a long ball he ran into an acute angle, but deftly stroked the ball into the back of the net to give Kendal the lead for the first time in the game.
Four minutes later and the Black and Whites had another goal. Leadbetter played a sensational ball for Wisdom, who cut the ball back for Scott Harries on the edge of the box, and the winger swerved the ball past the keeper’s right hand to put Kendal 4-2 up.
The two quickfire goals seemed to knock the stuffing out of Witton, who are ninth in the Evo-Stik Premier Division eight places higher than Town.
There was still time for Joseph to try a piledriver of a free kick that only just went wide, while Taylor’s first touch was woeful when Harries crossed the ball for him, leaving an easy ball to collect for Cooper.
But Kendal had done enough to win and they now eagerly await who they will take on in the next round of the world’s oldest football cup competition.
Craig Dootson, Naim El-Harrati, Danny Williams, Paul Alexander, Marc Joseph (C), Danny Wisdom, Alex Randell, Alex Taylor, Scott Harries, Ian Kilford, Kevin Leadbetter.
Subs: Liam Shields for Randell (83), Dave Foster for Danny Williams (86), Ben Fishwick for Leadbetter (90).
Subs not used: Ed Williams, Rory Winters, Josh Welsby
Key man: Kevin Leadbetter - A virtuoso performance as he single-handedly dragged Kendal from 2-0 down with a well-taken hat-trick and provided all the impetus for Town going forward.
Cooper, Gardner, Wood, Harrison, Booth, Sheehan (C), Hancock, Cross (Moseley 81), Stott, Tuck, Andrews (Fallon 83).
Subs not used: Glover, Buchan, Woolley, Ratcliffe