Big Jubilee Lunch

Yellows fight back to open season with a draw

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WARRINGTON Town fought back from two goals down to start their season with a 2-2 draw at Bamber Bridge.

Former Premier League striker Brett Ormerod scored twice as last season’s play-off finalists looked set for three points after 79 minutes.

But Town finished with a flourish, earning a point that their second half endeavours more than deserved thanks to goals from Scott Metcalfe and Ciaran Kilheeney.

Shaun Reid started six new signings in his first team selection of the season, including returning striker Kilheeney, and three new faces in a back four marshalled by skipper Craig Robinson.

Robinson, and particularly midfielder Danny Ventre, were kept busy in the opening quarter, both putting their foot in at crucial moments as the hosts started brightly.

Former Everton and Fleetwood Town midfielder Jamie Milligan was dictating the play for Brig and his left foot was proving more than dangerous from set pieces.

The warning sides has been there before Ormerod, who turned out at this level for Padiham last season, opened the scoring on 16 minutes. He had been flagged offside barely 90 seconds prior, heading just wide when unmarked in the box.

Milligan’s free-kick wasn’t cleared by Town and Glenn Steel’s header was diverted in to the back of the net by Ormerod past an unsighted Karl Wills, who got both hands to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.

It was by and large a disappointing first 45 minutes of the season for Town, with strikers Kilheeney and Steven Gillespie starved of service, the latter being hauled off minutes before the break.

The visitors may well have been happy to have been only a goal down come half time, having seen Curtis Thompson hit the outside of the post from Ormerod’s cross and needing Wills to be quick off his line to deny Alistair Waddecar from Thompson’s lofted through ball.

No doubt a stern talking to from manager Reid at the break fired Town in to action, and they started the second half brightly.

There were a couple of early shouts for a penalty, the first coming when Nathan Burke’s ball from the left struck a Brig hand in the box, the referee deeming that it was accidental.

From then on, Town chucked everything but the kitchen sink at the hosts. Ben Wharton, shifted from wide right to play up front following the substitution of Gillespie, hit the bar with a header from Metcalfe’s corner.

That combination was reversed minutes later, when Wharton picked out Metcalfe with a lovely pass, only for the left midfielder to blaze the chance over the bar.

It was then substitute Chris Gahgan’s chance to squander a couple of guilt-edged chances, first seeing a shot saved by the goalkeeper’s legs and then heading just wide at the back post from a fizzing delivery by the energetic Burke.

Town hit the woodwork for a second time on 75 minutes, Wharton back heeling debutant Ally Brown’s ball forward to Burke, who saw his half volley beat the goalkeeper but come back off the post.

After all their hard work, Warrington were dealt with a sucker punch 11 minutes from time as Ormerod claimed his second in controversial circumstances.

Wills was caught 30 yards from goal having opted to come out for the ball, and after a scramble, the ball found its way to Ormerod who managed to steer the ball past covering defender Brown, with doubts over whether there were two defenders between Ormerod and the goal when the ball was played.

After consulting his linesman, the referee awarded the goal. It mattered little barely 60 seconds later as Metcalfe’s tap-in finally got Town on the scoresheet, and with it gave them the momentum for the final 10 minutes.

Three minutes later it was 2-2, Brown’s pinpoint ball in from the right was met by Kilheeney and his header was guided over ‘keeper Marcus Burgess.

Such was their superiority in the second half, there seemed a genuine belief in the Warrington ranks that they could snatch a winner in the closing stages.

In the end, they were forced to settle for a credible point in a game between two teams expected to be fighting it out for the promotion places come the end of the season.

Town are next in action on Tuesday night, when they host Radcliffe Boro at Cantilever Park (7.45pm).

Their next FA Cup opponents were also revealed today, with Abbey Hey defeating Worksop Town 3-1. It means Warrington will travel to Abbey Hey in the FA Cup Preliminary Round on Saturday August 29.

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Kilheeney celebrates his goal – PICTURE JOHN HOPKINS

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Bamber Bridge: Burgess, Steel, Green, Lawlor, Muscat, Booth, Thompson, Milligan, Ormerod, Waddecar, Marlow (Vasey). Unused subs: Mahoney, Linney, Alexander, Wiles.

Warrington Town: Wills, Brown, McQuade, Ventre, O’Donnell, Robinson, Wharton, Burke, Kilheeney, Gillespie (Gahgan), Metcalfe. Unused subs: McCarten, Roberts, Noon, Collins.


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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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