WARRINGTON Town went top of the Evo-Stik Premier League with a 2-1 win over Whitby Town.
Second half goals from James McCarten and Josh Hine secured the three points on a wet afternoon at Cantilever Park, with 341 in attendance on Non-League Day.
The afternoon was made even sweeter by defeats to closest rivals Shaw Lane and Stourbridge as the Yellows recorded a third straight win, and their ninth in 14 league matches so far.
The game matched the conditions for the first half hour, with both sides battling to get control of the game.
Whitby’s forwards weren’t getting much change out of Jack Higgins and James McCarten, and as half time closed in, the Yellows started to assert authority.
Sean Williams’ first time strike from the edge forced a good save out of Shane Bland, and from the resulting corner, Higgins headed just wide of the far post.
From another half cleared corner, Rory McKeown had a low shot blocked and then the hosts had the ball in the net – James Barrigan converting nicely from Shaun Beeley’s right wing cross, only to be flagged offside.
The early stages of the second half were disrupted by a knock to striker Jamie McDonald, though Williams did have a half chance on 54 minutes when he tried to loft the ball over Bland from the edge of the box.
The breakthrough came on 59 minutes, a free-kick from the right by Williams was spilled by Bland under pressure from Higgins and a couple of his own defenders, and the ball fell for McCarten to tap in to the empty net.
Barrigan then had two chances on the outside left, dragging a shot wide across goal, before his pull back to Caleb Richards was cleared by a defender.
Though Whitby weren’t creating a great deal in terms of clear cut opportunities, you felt that the Yellows needed a second goal to put it to bed, and so it proved.
A mistake in midfield by David Carson saw the ball fall to Josh Hine, and he didn’t need a second invitation to nip in and beat the ‘keeper one-on-one for 2-0.
Hine almost had a second minutes later when he nipped in between a defender and the keeper to head over them both goalwards, but it didn’t have enough steam to cross the line and was cleared away.
Whitby kept battling and they set up a nervy spell of injury time when Matthew Tymon bundled the ball home from a right wing corner.
But the Yellows held on and move above Shaw Lane to the top of the table, ahead of their trip to Ashton on Tuesday night.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Beeley (Goulding), McKeown, Gumbs, McCarten, Higgins, Hine, Richards, McDonald (Hughes), Williams, Barrigan (Sanogo). Unused subs: Carden, Kinsella.
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, May, Blythway, Snaith, Gell, Carson, Weledji, Hume, Risborough (Tymon). Unused subs: Bullock, Fryatt, McGoldrick, Dixon.
Goals: McCarten 59, Hine 79; Tymon 90.
Man of the Match: Jack Higgins (Warrington Town)
Entertainment Rating: 2/5