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Town Talk: Goals no longer a Gray area?

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THE busy festive period is just around the corner, and Warrington Town look like they have their mojo back.

A clean sheet and a comfortable 2-0 win over Marine at the weekend has the Yellows well placed in fourth in the table, though they do have the second best points average in the league, only marginally bettered by Farsley Celtic.

With three games to go until they reach the halfway point of the season, it is remarkable that they have still only conceded nine goals, and that is even with the injury blow suffered to regular ‘keeper Tony McMillan.

His deputy, Charlie Albinson, was drafted in from Blackburn and his loan has recently been extended.

It’s at the other end where Warrington have the most issues, and they’ve scored just 26 goals in their 18 games so far – considerably less than those around them, including Basford (48 from 19 games), Scarborough (42 from 21 games) and Farsley (39 from 17 games).

But a tweak to the system in recent weeks has showed signs of promise, with Tony Gray scoring two in the last two. The non-league veteran is a proven one in two goalscorer, and just needs the shape around him to create the chances.
Such is his impact as an all-round player, he often looks to come deep to help the midfield, and part of that weight has been taken off his shoulders by the improved performances of Bohan Dixon, excellent in the win at the weekend.

Wingers Jack Mackreth and Jake Kirby have been pushed right up the pitch and told to come inside at the top end and it’s paying dividends – though unfortunately, it looks unlikely that Kirby’s loan deal from Stockport will be extended.

That will force boss Paul Carden to look for reinforcements, and with a free weekend coming up (December 15th), that gives them some time to address the issue and also get some energy back before the traditionally busy festive period, which has seen a trip to Basford squeezed in between the Boxing Day game at Witton and the New Year’s Day home clash with Bamber Bridge.

There are ongoing talks with a striker that may be resolved in time for Christmas, and Dylan Vassallo and Dominic Reid are both options having been sidelined by the form of Kirby and Mackreth, probably the Yellows’ stand out player this campaign.

On Mackreth, he is now targeted by every team he faces such has been his impact, but he has shown the ability to adapt his game and even more impressively, increase his work rate in defence – highlighted by a fantastic chase back to thwart a Marine counter attack on Saturday.

It’s clear that a defensive ethos is central to the Yellows progress and the discipline that instils in the team was perhaps best shown by Dixon of all people dropping back to fill in at left-back after Adam Hughes had been sucked across field chasing his man during the second half at Marine.

If Gray can stay among the goals, the Yellows may well have enough to maintain their push for promotion – but I’m sure a striker will be on Carden’s Christmas list.

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Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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