LIFE is never easy in the world of non-league football.
After going 15 hours without conceding a goal earlier in the season, Warrington Town goalkeeper Tony McMillan will have a prolonged period without conceding any more, unfortunately because he will be unavailable for selection due to a broken jaw sustained in an incident at work.
The veteran stopper had been absent for the past few weeks with a nasty leg injury picked up in the FA Cup defeat at Halifax Town, and has been deputised by on-loan Blackburn ‘keeper Charlie Albinson, who sat out Tuesday night’s Cheshire Senior Cup loss at home to Stockport County for youngster Joe Williams.
With goalkeepers at a premium, efforts are being made to extend Albinson’s loan deal and, though his form has been unconvincing to date, he did keep a clean sheet in the win at Grantham Town.
Having a sustained presence between the pegs will probably benefit the Yellows more than chopping and changing, and the fact Albinson has at least become familiar with the rock solid Warrington back-four will no doubt help his cause and enable him to grow in the coming weeks.
It adds another headache for boss Paul Carden, who is still desperate to add to his goalscoring options at the other end of the pitch.
Still the best team in the league in terms of average points per game, despite lying fifth in the table, the Yellows have scored 21 goals in 14 games – while league leaders are averaging more than two goals a game having plundered 39 in 18.
With Matlock banging the goals in following their recent signings of Chris King, amongst others, finding a regular goalscorer is a priority if Warrington are to avoid the disappointment of last season.
Of course, scoring less goals isn’t as much as an issue if your defence is as resolute as Warrington’s have been, the previously mentioned run of clean sheets means they have conceded just six goals in 14 games.
Strikers are hard to find, not just because they’re a rare commodity, but because even clubs with out of favour frontmen are reluctant to let them go.
Former Yellows striker Daniel Hattersley has been at Cantilever Park on a handful of occasions since his return from Australia, though he is perhaps not the fox in the box, poacher type striker that the team needs right now.
The tireless Tony Gray plays better when he drops deep to link with the midfield, the problem is that there hasn’t been much in front of him; with Josh Amis struggling to establish himself and Richard Brodie having been released earlier in the season.
Jake Kirby has been deployed out wide and he may be worth a go in the number nine shirt, while there were thoughts in pre-season that Jack Mackreth would take that role, though he is currently Warrington’s most successful outlet on the right hand side.
In the meantime, there will be nothing wrong with scraping ugly wins, like they managed at lowly Grantham Town last weekend.
Saturday’s trip to Hednesford Town will prove a much sterner test.