IT’S a long season in football.
Warrington Town sit second in the Evo-Stik Premier League after seven games, but there are still 35 games to go.
After a slow start, the Yellows have kicked on in recent weeks, winning four consecutive games and keeping six successive clean sheets.
But it’s been the manner of the wins – 5-0 and 4-0 wins over North Ferriby and Burscough, and incredibly comfortable 2-0 defeats of Workington and Hyde – that makes you think that maybe, just maybe, this team can go all the way.
It will be an extremely competitive league this season, and so putting together runs of wins will make a huge difference come the end of the season.
The way Paul Carden’s new look team has come together, especially since Jack Mackreth and Dave Raven became available, has been impressive and that’s despite the budget cuts the club had to take over the summer.
The starting 11 are keeping their places in the team through their performances. The Yellows have won every game that Mackreth and Raven have played, while they are yet to concede a goal with Raven in the centre of defence with Mark Roberts, who my esteemed colleague Matt Turner described as a “Rolls Royce” in one of the recent wins.
Shaun Beeley has for me been the stand out player for the Yellows, contributing with an all-action display in midfield every week. Assured on the ball, the former Barrow man knows what his job is and gets in the face of the opposition both on the ground and in the air, particularly for someone of his size.
Beeley and Garrity are providing such protection for the back four that when the defence are given work to do, they’re sweeping it up with relative ease. In fact, the only time the Yellows have looked like conceding in the past week was when Adam Hughes and Tony McMillan left the ball for each other off a cross in the early stages of the second half on Tuesday night.
With Mackreth’s pace and Dylan Vassallo’s trickery, you always feel there will be a chance to create something, while Carden was keen to praise the contributions of Josh Amis in how his team have managed to shrug off the goal shy tendencies of last season, and admittedly the early part of this one.
Carden said: “I think Josh has a big part in what we do going forward. I think last season if we had to play big and play the percentages a little bit in games, the ball was coming back on us because we weren’t as big.
“Josh gives us that presence and even if their defence does win the header, it’s not dropping as far as what it would do against Jamie (McDonald) or Tony from last season.
“We’ve got energy and pressure on the ball, we’ve got Dylan’s energy, we’ve got Jack (Mackreth), Beeles (Beeley), Ben, you’ve got good energy around the ball because you’ve got good players and it’s sustained in the opposition half.”
Ensuring the goals keep coming will be key, as the defence looks resolute even with reinforcements still to come.
Tony Gray has three goals so far this season and if he can contribute a goal every other game come the end of the campaign, the Yellows shouldn’t be far away.
And based on Mackreth’s displays so far, if Warrington can keep hold of him for the whole season, he looks a shoo-in for team of the year already.
The Yellows have won three from four away from home and they’ll be keen to put on a show for the home fans this Saturday when Marine come to town.