WARRINGTON Town maintained their position at the top of the Evo-Stik Premier League with a 1-0 win over Stafford.
Brad Barnes’ second half goal was enough to settle a scrappy encounter in a blustery wind and driving rain at Cantilever Park.
Abou Sanogo could have made the game safe late on and while Stafford threatened from set pieces and corners, they struggled to create anything of note.
The conditions were never going to help with a free flowing football match, and it was perhaps a slippery pitch that did for Joe Mwasile on nine minutes when Sanogo’s superb fizzing pass split the defence and he went down under a challenge from a defender when through on the goal.
Mwasile was causing problems down either side and he cut in from the left on 12 minutes to set up Sean Williams, who had his first time shot saved by Adam Whitehouse’s legs.
Impressive striker Tony Gray had the next chance, curling a left foot shot over the bar, before Whitehouse was again called in to action, making a fine one handed save from James McCarten’s header off a corner.
Stafford’s only two forays forward of note in the first 45 minutes came from a free kick that free man Jack Langston headed over, while a trademark long throw from Exodus Geohaghon caused chaos before ‘keeper Tony McMillan was able to see it wide.
Gray, who ran hard all night, curled another shot over the bar in the early stages of the second half before the breakthrough came.
The Yellows broke down the left and when no one could get on the end of a delicious cross by Rory McKeown, Gray recovered it on the right hand side of the box, dummied past his man and then his drilled ball across the goalmouth was diverted in by Barnes for his first goal of the season.
On the hour, Stafford thought they were back in the game when Izak Reid found the net with a rebound from McMillan’s parried save, but the linesman on the far side had his flag up.
Stafford grew in to the game as Warrington sat back, but it was still the hosts who were creating the bulk of the chances.
Gray linked up with Sanogo down the right, and the latter would have been disappointed not to have got more on his first time shot which was comfortably saved.
Sanogo should have eased the home fans worries five minutes from time when Gray picked him out at the back post with enough time to bring the ball down, but he blazed over the bar.
It proved not to be an issue though, as the Yellows closed out their sixth league win of the season and another clean sheet.
They are back in action at home again on Saturday, in the FA Cup second qualifying round against Hyde.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Carden, McKeown, Barnes, McCarten, Goulding, Mwasile (Jerome), Williams (Kinsella), Gray, Hughes (Richards), Sanogo. Unused subs: Vassallo, Beeley.
Stafford Rangers: Whitehouse, Griffiths, Davis, Morris, Geohaghon, Langston, I Reid, Abadaki, Westwood, Sherratt, Batchelor. Subs: Bailey, Thomas, L Reid, Briscoe, Gregory.