WITHAM Town gained a creditable 2-2 draw with Heybridge Swifts in an impressive performance at the Aspen Waite Stadium and can count themselves slightly unlucky not to have returned home with a victory, writes JIM PURTILL.

It was an entertaining Pitching In Isthmian League division north contest with a much-improved showing from Witham, whose positive approach and confidence were unrecognisable from recent displays.

Debutants Ramiah Mills and Lewis Duberry excelled and the twin strike force of Mills and Adam Vyse gave the visitors a strong attacking presence that has been lacking since the early part of the season.

The recent form of the two clubs could hardly have been more different.

Heybridge had scored twenty goals in their last six matches and won four of them.

Witham had only gained three league points in November and December but despite this the even nature of this contest was evident from the start.

Heybridge's Lionel Ainsworth shot just over the bar after five minutes and Mills repeated the feat for Witham with an almost identical attempt minutes later.

Neither side established dominance in the first half but the game was played in a good spirit with a lot of honest endeavour.

Darius Ghinea and Ainsworth were the catalysts of the home side's best moves.

The pace and trickery of Mills was used to good effect by the Witham midfield and he created problems for the Heybridge defence whenever he was in possession.

In the 17th minute Mills was thwarted by Heybridge goalkeeper Callum Chafer when a goal looked likely and he shot wide shortly afterwards when he should have hit the target.

Ghinea had a good chance for Heybridge when he received a pass from the right.

He shot wide when he was crowded out at the near post by three Witham defenders.

With half-time approaching Witham had an excellent attack in which Mills, Vyse and Liam Whipps combined well but from the subsequent breakaway, Heybridge scored at the other end when Daniel Walker converted a low cross from the right.

Going into the break a goal down was tough on Witham but they equalised on 55 minutes when Mills lost his marker and chased a through ball.

He showed great composure to control the ball under pressure from Chafer and score.

There were chances at both ends as the match opened up and became a good game to watch.

Matthews shot just wide for Witham while Heybridge’s Tommy Davis scuffed his shot when he should have troubled Madden who had to save with his feet from a Sam Carter attempt on goal.

The pace of Mills created a problem for the home defence and Chafer kicked the ball into touch to prevent danger but the striker scored a second goal for Witham in the 70th minute with another well-taken goal.

The lead only lasted two minutes as Ainsworth equalised for Heybridge with a good finish from the left.

Heybridge finished the stronger of the sides in a match that could have gone either way.

A draw was generally a fair reflection of play but Witham probably just shaded it over the 90 minutes.

Irrespective of that it was a much brighter performance from the visitors who showed some of their best attacking play of the season.

Interim manager Chris Taylor deserves credit for the improvement by setting the team up in an attacking formation and being confident enough to take the game to the opposition for much of the match.

Away matches at Stowmarket and Bury Town on successive Saturdays would prove testing for any side in the division and Witham will now face that prospect.

There are no easy matches in the fixture list but the management team will hope to build on Saturday’s improvement in their quest for league points in the second half of the season.