IT was a night that could have been pivotal, but in the end Warrington Town were simply blown away.
After three consecutive league victories had brought the Yellows within five points of second place, fans had started to dare to dream again about sneaking in to the play-offs.
A win at Nantwich, themselves going well in the league, would certainly have put a marker down and dragged Warrington right back in to the play-off mix.
As it was, a bizarre first half that saw floodlight failure, two incredible wind-assisted goals and a Yellows goal bound shot held up by a muddy goalmouth, helped send Paul Carden’s men to a 4-1 defeat.
Carden decided to switch from the 4-4-2 diamond system that has got the results in recent weeks, even if it hasn’t always produced the best of performances – Saturday’s late robbery of Coalville at home being a prime example.
Unfortunately, he was hampered by travel problems affecting super-sub striker and recent double match winner, Ruben Jerome, and Scott Harries, who has provided much more from right back than deputy Adam Carden has in his absence.
Even recent signing Michael Monaghan had to make do with a spot on the bench, as did last season’s Player of the Year Danny Ventre, who apparently seems an underrated part of the Yellows set-up.
It just didn’t work. A treble substitution at half-time sparked the Yellows in to a bit of life, and they ought to have done better having got a goal back within just five minutes of the restart.
Goals and cutting edge have been an issue over the course of the campaign, though the conditions didn’t help anyone.
That said, the play-off dream isn’t over. Such is the competitiveness of the Evo-Stik Premier League, that a run of three wins in four games is good enough to propel almost anyone back in to the promotion picture.
Warrington’s next four league games are Ilkeston (23rd – A), Mickleover (16th – H), Frickley (19th – H) and Sutton Coldfield (22nd – A), while they also have a repeat visit to Nantwich in a fortnight for the semi-final of the Cheshire Senior Cup.
So it is far from season over. But Tuesday night just could have been the springboard for something special.