Pictures John Hopkins
WARRINGTON Town made it six league wins in a row in a festive thriller at Basford United.
Both sides led in a four-goal first half, but it was Ben Garrity’s header after the break that eventually settled it at 3-2 in another performance that outlines the Yellows’ promotion credentials.
Basford had lost just once at home all season before this one and they finished with 10 men – Ciaran Keane sent off for a rash challenge on Tony Gray 14 minutes from time.
On their artificial pitch, newly promoted Basford, who started the day just outside the play-off places and seven points behind the Yellows, got off to a great start. James Reid’s inswinging corner was nodded in by Matt Thornhill at the near post after just eight minutes.
Their joy was shortlived though as Warrington responded within a minute with their first real foray forward. A foul in midfield enabled Jack Mackreth to clip the ball in to the box, and Dave Raven laid off the second ball for Garrity to fire first-time, low past the keeper.
The goals had woken Warrington to life and they very nearly had a second a minute later when Jack Dunn nipped in between two hesitant Basford defenders but could only stretch to poke it over the bar.
On 13 minutes, a deep corner by Dunn was headed wide by Tony Gray with half the goal gaping and then Kieran Preston pushed wide Dunn’s deflected shot.
Warrington got the second goal their efforts deserved on 35 minutes when a lovely move down the right saw Dylan Vassallo get in behind and his pull back was left by Dunn for Gray to fire past the keeper from eight yards out.
But as had been the case when Basford scored earlier, the lead was shortlived.
Three minutes later, a harmless free-kick was floated in to the box and the referee blew his whistle for a penalty, spotting an infringement by Mark Roberts on Basford captain Stefan Galinski.
Reid took his penalty well, despite Charlie Albinson going the right way, and it was 2-2.
Basford started the second half on the front foot, though after the first seven or eight minutes, Warrington started to exert the control they had showed for long parts of the first half.
They weren’t creating any chances of note though, a wild Dunn free-kick being hammered over the bar about as close as they went.
That was until the 62nd minute when Dunn’s delivery was glanced in by Garrity off the inside of the far post, in a not too dissimilar fashion to how Basford opened the scoring.
Basford had to commit men forward, but the Yellows had all the answers, and if anything, were looking even more threatening on the break.
One such move brought an end to the afternoon for Basford’s left-back Keane, who chopped down Gray on the edge of the box with a man overlap on his right and a sure chance on goal – a yellow card would perhaps have been fair, but the referee showed red and Basford’s task got even harder.
With 10 men, and the constant hounding Basford were put under by amongst others, substitute Josh Amis, they struggled to sustain any pressure at the other end of the pitch.
The closest they came was on 86 minutes when Reid’s clipped ball in was headed over the bar by Thornhill.
Bohan Dixon could have made sure in the 90th minute, his shot well saved by Preston after Dunn and Amis had put him in, but in the ended it didn’t matter, as the Yellows held on for their 15th win of the season.
Basford United: Preston, Bateman, Keane, Thornhill, Galinski, Roma, Thomas (Meikle), Goodson, Watson, Tempest (Lambert), Reid. Unused subs: James, Deeney.
Warrington Town: Albinson, Duggan, Whittle, Garrity, Roberts, Raven, Mackreth (Dixon), Evans, Gray (Amis), Vassallo (Gumbs), Dunn. Unused subs: Hughes, McCarthy.