A DOMINANT first-half performance by Witham Town laid the foundation for a 2-1 victory over New Salamis at Coles Park, writes JIM PURTILL.

After scoring twice in the first eight minutes, Town took complete control in the first period of the Pitching In Isthmian League division north clash.

Despite conceding a 71st-minute goal and having to withstand a late onslaught from New Salamis, the visitors thoroughly deserved their victory.

Witham went ahead in the fifth minute after Freddie King jumped to head Liam Whipps's corner but a defender beat him in the air and directed the ball into his own net.

Three minutes later, Witham extended their lead thanks to a dazzling run and shot by Deese Kasinga-Madia.

The visitors took a stranglehold on the match for the first half hour and launched a series of attacks that exerted pressure on the New Salamis goal.

Andrew Sesay on the right had a powerful influence on the action and Kasinga-Madia was full of trickery on the left, while Ollie Bell and Whipps supported the attack on both flanks.

Freddie King and Archie McFadden had possibly their best performances in Witham colours and they were involved in the best attacking moves.

Braintree and Witham Times:

The hosts' Christos Batzelis claimed a penalty when he hit the ground after a challenge by Witham goalkeeper Harry Fairs.

But there was no contact and Batzelis was booked for simulation.

Micah Jackson's shot was saved by Fairs but was guilty of a bad miss on the stroke of half-time when his shot cleared the crossbar.

Three substitutions by New Salamis at the start of the second half changed the pattern of the contest, as they took a more direct approach and competed more effectively in midfield.

Witham could not recreate their first-half dominance but looked comfortable for the first 20 minutes of the second period.

King's fierce shot was turned round the post by Rueben Rabstein but Fairs on his Witham debut was called into action when he made two saves from Kyle Lynch.

The hosts scored in an unorthodox manner in the 71st minute.

Batzelis's free-kick on the right was hit under the wall of Witham defenders who jumped and the ball found its way inside the far post.

The Witham defence was under increasing pressure but as New Salamis committed to attack, they looked vulnerable on the break.

Sesay was dangerous on the right and almost scored ten minutes before the final whistle.

New Salamis had all the play in a frantic final ten-minute period.

Fairs marked his debut with two good saves and the whole Witham side showed great resilience to stand firm and achieve a creditable victory.