WARRINGTON Town’s recent revival came to a blustery end with a 4-1 defeat at play-off chasing Nantwich Town.
In driving wind and rain, Nantwich took an early lead before a floodlight failure took the players off the pitch for 10 minutes.
Within two minutes of the restart, Nantwich had trebled their lead with two wind assisted goals that blew away the visitors.
A three goal deficit inside 20 minutes proved too much for the Yellows to recover from, despite a gallant second half effort.
Buoyed by wins over Halesowen, Stourbridge and Coalville, Warrington will have entered this match knowing a win over their Cheshire rivals would propel them firmly in to the play-off picture.
But within six minutes of a crazy first half, they were a goal down – Matt Bell’s left foot shot taking a wicked deflection which looped it high and wide of Tony McMillan in the Warrington goal.
The home side, featuring former Yellows striker Tom Peers up front, started spritely and perhaps a sign of things to come was evident when John Johnston’s wind-assisted free kick travelled all the way through to McMillan.
It looked like Warrington had equalised on their first foray forward, on 12 minutes, when Daniel Hattersley’s goal bound shot was held up in a muddy goalmouth enough to enable a defender to get across and scramble the ball away.
With the wind behind them, the hosts were turning the screw and after they were incorrectly given a corner by the officials, the wind took Johnston’s shot and forced McMillan in to a desperate save, tipping over the bar.
The frantic start came to an abrupt halt on 17 minutes when half of the Weaver Stadium floodlights went out, apparently tripped by the wind, but fortunately for the home side at least, they came back on soon after.
Warrington will have wished that they hadn’t, as they collapsed to two bizarre goals.
First, the wind got under Johnston’s 40-yard free-kick and took it all the way through to the goal, though defender Curtis Jones was credited on the scoresheet having got the faintest of touches at the back post.
Within 60 seconds, it was 3-0 as right back Andy White cut inside and unleashed a left-foot shot which took off with the wind behind it and rocketed past a helpless McMillan.
For a spell, it looked like Nantwich would score every time the ball left a player’s boot.
The Yellows finally stemmed the tide, and almost pulled a goal back when a nice interchange between Lewis Codling and Dylan Vassallo set up a shot chance for Connor McCarthy, which he dragged wide.
But that was a rare blip in the home side’s onslaught, and by half-time they could have been five or six to the good.
McMillan pulled off a trio of fine saves in what was deemed first half injury time, a total of 10 minutes, to keep the score at 3-0, twice denying Johnston and left-back Ibou Touray.
Warrington’s need for change was best reflected by the response of manager Paul Carden, who made a triple sub at half time, bringing on recent goalscoring hero Ruben Jerome, Scott Harries and Michael Monaghan.
Within five minutes, the three had combined to give the visitors a way back in to the match.
Jerome’s excellent cross-field ball ignited a counter attack, Harries took it on and he played it across for Monaghan for a simple finish.
That gave 40 minutes for the Yellows to find two or three more, but after a hint of a revival, their effort soon petered out.
In fact, their only shot on target came from an unlikely source, as goalkeeper McMillan’s free-kick from inside his own half caught the wind and took a wicked bounce, forcing opposite number Dan Gyollai to push over.
They did come close 15 minutes from time when a sweet volley from Hattersley dipped just wide with the keeper beaten, but ultimately Nantwich closed out the game.
They added a fourth in injury time, courtesy of Ryan Brooke from the penalty spot, after Joe Mwasile was brought down for a soft penalty.
Warrington return to action with a trip to Shaun Goater’s Ilkeston on Saturday.
Nantwich Town: Gyollai, White (Stair), Touray, Jones, Harrison, Hall, Johnston (Obadaki), Riley, Peers (Brooke), Bell, Mwasile. Unused subs: Jones, Howell.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Carden, Askew, Williams, McCarten, Gumbs, Codling (Monaghan), Smart, Hattersley, McCarthy (Jerome), Vassallo (Harries). Unused subs: Ventre, Shaw.
Pictures John Hopkins