STRIKER Jamie McDonald sent Warrington Town on the road to Wembley with a brace of goals to see off Bamber Bridge in the FA Trophy.
A strong second half performance from the Yellows saw them past their opponents from the league below 2-1, after goalkeeper Tony McMillan had saved a first half penalty.
The blustery conditions meant a slow start to the game as both sides struggled to get in to a rhythm, the closest the visitors came to creating a chance was when Alastair Waddecar’s run down the right resulted in an important interception from Evan Gumbs in the box.
Bamber Bridge were trying to make the most of their set piece opportunities and Brad Carsley’s near post header from a free-kick fell wide of the far post.
They were gifted the opportunity to take the lead on the half hour mark when Carsley went down under a challenge from Jack Higgins in the box, and although the referee looked to have played on, the linesman’s flag meant a penalty was awarded.
Up-stepped the visitors’ captain Matthew Potts and after a stutter in his run up, his well struck penalty was well saved by McMillan, pushing the ball around his right hand post.
It was perhaps the wake up call the Yellows needed, Sean Williams drilling a shot in to the side netting, before Carsley forced an easy save out of McMillan.
The half-time break gave the Yellows chance to regroup, and they dominated after the interval.
They came out strongly at the start of the second half and had an early shout for a penalty turned down, when Scott Bakkor was bundled over in the box.
Minutes later, the ball found the back of the net, only for the whistle to go, with the linesman ruling the ball had already crossed the dead ball line.
The hosts didn’t have to wait for a goal for long, on 50 minutes McDonald, who has been watched by sides in National League North and the Welsh Premier League recently, breaking the deadlock with a typically clinical finish.
That added even more momentum to the Yellows’ strong start to the second half, and they almost doubled their lead three minutes later when Barrigan’s pull back found Aboubacar Sanogo arriving late in the box, and his shot was blocked by Lewis Baines.
Shortly before the hour, a tricky run by Daniel Mooney was a timely reminder of the visitors’ threat, but normal service soon resumed.
A delicious cross from the left by Barrigan flashed right across the goalmouth, somehow evading both substitute Tony Gray and Caleb Richards.
The Yellows searched for a second goal to kill Bamber Bridge off, and ‘keeper Rigby pulled off a fine one-handed stop from a Sanogo strike before another fine ball from the left, this time by Rory McKeown, agonisingly evaded a Yellows touch once again.
A clipped ball by Williams was headed straight at the keeper by Gray and then Barrigan’s header was stopped on the line by Lloyd Rigby.
Just as it seemed like the second goal was never going to come, it finally did on 79 minutes, McDonald racing through, rounding the keeper and slotting in to the empty net.
The Yellows could have had more, especially through Barrigan who did everything but score in the final 10 minutes, and although Alastair Waddecar added a consolation deep in to injury time, Warrington secured their safe passage in to the next round.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Carden, McKeown, Williams, Gumbs, Higgins, Bakkor (Gray), Richards, McDonald, Barrigan (Davis), Sanogo. Unused subs: Hine, Goulding, Hughes.
Bamber Bridge: Rigby, Marlow, Dodd, Baines, Mahoney, Potts, Waddecar, Forbes (Milligan), Carsley, Dudley (Linney), Mooney. Unused subs: Vasey, Staunton-Turner, Boyd.