WARRINGTON Town gained ground on league leaders Altrincham with a 2-0 win at Hednesford Town.
Goals from Tony Gray and Sean Williams earned a routine victory at Keys Park, with the hosts finishing with 10 men following a late red card for Joe Fitzpatrick.
With Altrincham held to a 3-3 draw at play-off rivals Ashton United, the second placed Yellows have reduced the gap at the top of the table to seven points.
Both Gray and fellow striker Jamie McDonald set their stall out early doors, causing problems for the Hednesford back four with their hustling of the ball in the final third.
It was the pair’s work rate in getting the ball back that set up the first half chance of the game on four minutes, Devarn Green’s pass to Williams being sliced well wide from the edge.
The biggest chance of the opening exchanges fell to McDonald, Shaun Beeley’s ball from the right falling at his feet just inside the box and with just the ‘keeper to beat, McDonadl tried to take it round him and the ‘keeper did well to get on the ball.
It mattered little though as the Yellows broke the deadlock just two minutes later, a neat reverse ball by McDonald hooked in to the back of the net by Gray for 1-0.
Gerard Kinsella blazed one over the bar from a corner before Luke Pilling in the Yellows goal was called in to his first meaningful action, going down to his right to save a Sam Oji header.
The Yellows would have two other good chances before the break, Gray showing good vision to release Green on the left and after waiting an age for the ball to come down, his half-volley was deflected behind for a corner.
Gray was then denied from a goal bound first-time shot after McDonald had won the ball back on the right and waited patiently for his strike partner to arrive in the box.
Hednesford had their best chance within five minutes of the restart, a mistake by Adam Carden allowing James Fitzgibbon to bear down on goal, but he didn’t even hit the target to the frustration of the home fans.
He was made to pay on 56 minutes when the Yellows doubled their lead. Some tidy football down the right hand side saw Gray play the ball in to Williams, and he created space for himself on the edge of the box and fired a low right-footed shot across the ‘keeper and in off the inside of the far post.
The final quarter turned in to a scrappy affair full of niggly fouls and contested decisions.
Hednesford came close to pulling a goal back on 71 minutes when a free-kick went high in to the air off Tom Thorley, Pilling came out and dropped it, and with him stranded Reece King’s shot was cleared off the line by Beeley.
Gray was perhaps fortunate to stay on the field after a foul which would have been his second yellow card, and the home faithful no doubt had that on their mind when Fitzpatrick was shown a straight red for a nasty studs up foul on substitute Will Hayhurst.
The fall-out from that decision saw Hednesford manager Paul Casey dismissed to the stands too, as the referee lost control of the game in the final stages.
Warrington closed the game out for victory, and will now turn their attention to two games in two days in midweek – the re-arranged Cheshire Senior Cup tie against Winsford United on Monday and then a league trip to Grantham Town on Tuesday night.
Hednesford Town: Wren, Curley, Campion, King (Harris), Oji, Gatter, Fitzpatrick, Thorley, Butlin, Graham (Glover), Fitzgibbon (Bailey). Unused subs: Lawrie, Law.
Warrington Town: Pilling, Carden, McKeown, Williams, Higgins, Goulding, Beeley, Kinsella, McDonald (Piggott), Gray (Bakare), Green (Hayhurst). Unused subs: McMillan, Barnes.