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New Year, same old winning feeling for Warrington Town

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Pictures John Hopkins

WARRINGTON Town set up for Saturday’s mouth-watering top of the table clash at Farsley Celtic with a 2-0 win over Bamber Bridge on New Year’s Day.

A second half brace by Connor McCarthy was enough to secure the Yellows a seventh straight victory, and they move within a point of leaders Nantwich Town.

They had been thankful to ‘keeper Charlie Albinson for the opportunity though, his penalty save from Alistair Waddecar in the first half keeping it goalless at the break.

Warrington entered this one on the back of seven games unbeaten and six straight wins, including a 3-2 win at Basford United on Saturday, while Bamber Bridge hadn’t been in action since their Boxing Day defeat to Marine.

The Yellows made a few changes, one enforced due to a hamstring injury sustained by Jack Mackreth at Basford, which meant Dominic Reid started, as did striker Connor McCarthy.

It was in-form Jack Dunn that would have the first sighting of goal on seven minutes, the ball finding him in space on the left corner of the box and his well struck shot was beaten away by the ‘keeper, with Dunn firing the rebound well wide with his right foot.

Bamber Bridge had made an encouraging start and they would warm the fingertips of Charlie Albinson in the Yellows goal on 15 minutes, the ‘keeper first flapping at a corner from the left before pushing away a Matthew Dudley effort high to his left.

Dunn looked the most likely for the Yellows, his disappointing free-kick coming back off the wall for Dylan Vassallo to hit sweetly on the volley but well over.

From another free-kick, this time on the right side and won by Vassallo, Dunn swung the ball in low and just too far for Mark Roberts at the front post, Danny Roccia falling on it inside his goalmouth.

Brig would then hit the Yellows on the break, a curling shot by Alistair Waddecar well saved by Albinson, before the hosts turned the table again, a lightning counter launched by Dunn involving Reid and McCarthy ended with Dunn clipping a shot just wide.

The best chance would go to the visitors on 37 minutes and it was from the penalty spot. For the third successive game, the Yellows conceded a spotkick as Roberts felled Matt Lawler in the box from Matthew Dudley’s right-wing free-kick, in not too dissimilar fashion to how the Yellows skipper conceded a penalty on Saturday.

Unlike Saturday though, the Yellows got away with it as Albinson got down well to his left to save a tame spotkick from the usually reliable Waddecar.

Half time came at a good time for the hosts and within two minutes of the restart they were in front.

Dunn created space for himself down the left and brought it inside, putting it on a plate for McCarthy to score his first goal since his return to the club and he won’t have an easier one all year.

The Yellows front four were starting to click and after McCarthy had been hounded out in the box, Reid’s deflected shot came off the top of a defender’s head on the way to hitting the face of the crossbar as Roccia’s goal lived a charmed life.

The ‘keeper himself wasn’t helping, he made a meal of a Robbie Evans up and under which enabled McCarthy to retrieve possession and attack the goal, his shot whistling just over the bar.

A mistake would eventually lead to the Yellows’ second goal, McCarthy being released after nice play by Reid, Dunn and Vassallo in midfield, and his weak left-foot shot was allowed to trickle through his hands by Roccia, who was left with New Year’s egg on his face.

It was routine from there on in, substitute Josh Amis should have got on the scoresheet from Dunn’s ball in, while the closest McCarthy came to his hat-trick was from a low driven shot via a corner that was blocked in the area.

Warrington: Albinson, Duggan, Whittle, Garrity, Roberts, Raven, Reid (Dixon), Evans, McCarthy, Vassallo (Amis), Dunn (Gumbs). Subs: Gray, Hughes.

Bamber Bridge: Roccia, Spooner, Dodd, Lawler, Doughty, Dawson, Waddecar, Forbes (Churchman), Dudley, Navarro (Young), Marlow (McKnight). Subs: Linney, Rigby.

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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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