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Yellows denied at the death

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PICTURES JOHN HOPKINS

AN injury time equaliser denied Warrington Town a second successive win as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Lancaster City.

It was definitely a case of two points lost for the Yellows as they twice squandered a lead to a brace from an unlikely source in Dolly Blues left-back Gavin Clark.

Earlier, Ruben Jerome and Josh Hine had given the visitors a well-earned lead but they were forced to settle for a point.

There was just one change to the Yellows line-up from Saturday’s opening day 2-0 victory over Rushall Olympic, with Caleb Richards, on loan from Blackpool, making his debut at right back.

They threatened from a couple of Sean Williams set pieces early on, James McCarten getting the end of one and drawing the first save of the game from Lancaster ‘keeper Chris Cheetham.

From the resulting corner, the ball was cleared as far as Liam Hynes, who played a nice one-two with McCarten and then put a teasing ball in to the box that was diverted in by Jerome for his first goal of the season.

It was one way traffic in the first half and the Yellows could have had a second when a driving run forward by Williams was followed by a superb slide rule pass for Hine, who had his first time shot well-saved by Cheetham.

Lancaster re-grouped at the break and came out with renewed hope, but they should have been two behind when Williams’ corner fell to Jerome in the box and his firmly hit shot was cleared off the line.

One goal was never going to be enough, and former Warrington midfielder Ryan Winder drew a first save out of McMillan on 49 minutes.

It was Winder who played a key part in the equaliser on 64 minutes, which came off a counter attack from a Warrington corner.

The ball eventually made it’s way left to Clark, who cut inside and let fly a swerving shot through a ruck of bodies that went under an unsighted McMillan for 1-1.

But the Yellows bounced back and entered the final 10 minutes in the lead, after Rory McKeown’s excellent turn in midfield created space for a cross, and when the Lancaster defence hesitated and the goalkeeper in no man’s land, Hine managed to squeeze a header over the line.

The game was open and substitute Dylan Vassallo was unlucky not to score with an improvised chip after Jerome had beaten the ‘keeper to a loose ball, and then at the other end, Ricky Mercer cracked the post with a free header from a corner.

Two crucial interventions by Liam Goulding in the closing stages looked to have done enough to earn the Yellows the win, that was until Clark let fly from 25-yards with an unstoppable effort that McMillan just couldn’t keep out.

Warrington were forced to settle for the point, and will take their unbeaten start to Coalville Town on Saturday (3pm).

Lancaster City: Cheetham, Steel, Clark, Wills, Westwood, Mercer, S Bailey (C Bailey), Akrigg, Wood (Kilifin), Winder, Harries (Tam). Unused subs: Dudgale, Sumner.

Warrington Town: McMillan, Richards, McKeown, Williams, McCarten, Goulding, Hine, Hynes (Vassallo), Jerome, Gray (Barnes), Hughes (Mwasile). Unused subs: Carden, Ascroft.

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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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