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Yellows succumb to runaway league leaders

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WARRINGTON Town’s unbeaten start to 2017 came to an end with a 2-0 defeat at home to runaway league leaders Blyth Spartans.

Two second half goals move the team from the north east 10 points clear at the top of the table, as they avenged the 3-0 reversal they suffered at the hands of the Yellows earlier in the season.

After a stout first half effort from the home side, Blyth flexed their muscle after the break and gradually wore Warrington down in a manner that suggests it will take some stopping them from winning the title.

There was an enforced change for the Yellows from last week’s 1-0 win over Marine – which was followed by a rare Saturday off – as Billy Smart came in for the suspended Lewis Codling.

Blyth started strongly and Damien Mullen had two long-range efforts whistle just over the bar.

Warrington were forced in to a substitution inside 15 minutes as Mitch Duggan went off injured, to be replaced by Dylan Vassallo.

It meant after an uncertain start to the game, the Yellows had to change system and they struggled to find their feet.

Daniel Maguire jinked through and had a shot stopped by Tony McMillan, before the Yellows started to make their way in to the game, without really creating a great deal, a weaving run from Smart ended with a shot curling wide.

As half time closed in, Blyth wide men Robbie Dale and Jarrett Rivers started to look more menacing, and the whistle came at a good time for the Yellows.

The first 10 minutes of the second half passed without much happening of note, but Blyth’s superiority was starting to come through as the Yellows struggled to make it across half way.

The dogged defensive display was eventually broken on 69 minutes, Rivers’ shot blocked and then falling in to the path of Luke Armstrong, who reacted quickest to fire past McMillan from 10 yards.

Warrington had to come out of their shell and push forward, but they still struggled to gain a foothold in Blyth’s half.

The introduction of Samuel Ilesamni from the bench briefly threatened to change the pattern of the game, though barely two minutes after his introduction Blyth had made the points safe.

Rivers travelled a long way down the right and inside along the byline and he pulled the ball back for a simple tap in for Maguire.

The Yellows did have chances, John Shaw most notably forcing a save from Paul Woolston from close range, but it wasn’t to be.

Warrington are away on Saturday at Workington, before making the short trip to Witton Albion on Tuesday night for the Cheshire Senior Cup.

Warrington Town: McMillan, Gumbs, Askew, Ventre, McCarten, Shaw, Harries, Duggan (Vassallo), Jerome, Monaghan (Gillespie), Smart (Ilesamni). Unused subs: Kilheeney, Robinson.

Blyth Spartans: Woolston, Atkinson, Watson, Mullen (Reid), Hutchinson, Buddle, Rivers (Wrightson), Turnbill, Maguire, Armstrong (Laidler), Dale.

evan-gumbs

MoM Evan Gumbs with Chairman Toby Macormac

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Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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