WITHAM Town were beaten 2-0 at Bowers and Pitsea in Pitching In Isthmian League division north despite a good performance, writes JIM PURTILL.

There was little between the sides and the two-goal margin did not reflect the pattern of play.

Witham manager Garry Kimble will take consolation from a solid performance, particularly as key players in the shape of Rowan Dorling, Luke Ige, Darius Ghinea and Ollie Bell were absent from the side.

The hosts created the early chances. Bowers striker Manny Oluwasemo forced Witham goalkeeper Harry McKie to make a good save in the eighth minute and he narrowly failed to connect with a hard low cross from the right, two minutes later.

After 15 minutes McKie saved well again from Benas Valvada.

Witham created their own attacking threat with the pace and determination of Josh Osude and the physical presence of Andrew Sesay.

A dazzling run down the left wing from Osude was stopped by a tackle from Luke Reeve and Osude almost evaded his marker when he appeared to be fouled just outside the penalty area.

Jeffrey Cobblah on the right supported the attack well and Witham looked dangerous on the break for the first 20 minutes.

Braintree and Witham Times:

The turning point of the match occurred in the 26th minute when a penalty was awarded to Bowers and Pitsea for a foul.

It looked a fairly innocuous challenge but Ben Williamson scored to put Bowers ahead.

Witham did not deserve to be a goal in arrears, as the contest had been evenly matched.

Goals change games and Bowers attacked with greater conviction after going ahead.

The flow of incisive Witham breaks was stemmed and the visitors found it harder to instigate good attacking moves.

Despite that, Osude embarked on an excellent run on the stroke of half-time and his fierce shot went over the bar.

Braintree and Witham Times:

In customary fashion, Witham made a positive start to the second half as they looked to equalise.

Freddie King headed over from a corner and Cobblah shot wide from a dangerous attack.

The visitors’ attacking play was curtailed by strong resistance from Bowers.

The hosts demonstrated their capability as a well-organised unit with a strong midfield core.

As the second half progressed, Witham found it harder to build attacking rules moves through the centre. McKie kept the visitors in the game when he made a good save at the expense of a corner, 15 minutes after the break.

Cobblah made an impressive run for Witham and forced a corner on the right ten minutes later.

Substitute Nathan Fuma added to Witham’s attacking threat when he was introduced from the bench and Billy Roast added substance to the midfield.

With new recruit Archie McFadden enjoying an excellent game for Witham in his full debut at right-back, the visitors gained some momentum in trying to establish parity.

Bowers had most of the second-half possession but were unable to make good use of it.

Witham’s attacks on the break looked more dangerous with the pace of Cobblah and Osude but neither side managed to create convincing chances.

Long balls launched from the Witham defence wasted too much possession but the visitors almost made a crucial breakthrough 15 minutes before the end.

An excellent run by Shakeel Morris on the left resulted in a cross that found Fuma in a dangerous position.

Bowers goalkeeper David Hughes just managed to block the shot. It was Witham’s best chance of the second half and they did not look so close to scoring thereafter. Hughes ran to the edge of the penalty area to beat Osude to the ball as the final whistle approached.

Canny game management from Bowers ran the clock down.

The final few minutes were marked by frustrating stoppages in play before Bowers scored again in added time.

Williamson chalked up his second goal of the match with an admirable strike from distance.

It was a goal of high quality but the outcome was harsh on Witham, who did not deserve to lose by two goals. Last season Witham played 11 league matches between the start of November and the end of January. They lost nine of them, scoring nine goals and conceding 30. They are a very different side now.

After four wins and a draw in their previous seven matches, it is a measure of the improvement under the current management team that manager Garry Kimble was very disappointed to be beaten by a Bowers and Pitsea team that had won six of their previous seven games.