Pictures John Hopkins
WARRINGTON Town went top of the EVO-STIK League Premier Division with a 4-1 thumping of Gainsborough Trinity.
Tony Gray rolled back the years with a vintage performance, scoring one and setting up another, to send the Yellows on the way to the three goal win they needed to leapfrog South Shields at the summit.
With only three games in the division played due to the weather, Warrington put in a commanding performance against a Trinity side that had only lost three times at home all season and who are just a point off the play-off places.
A disjointed opening, partly caused by a stoppage for Gainsborough ‘keeper Jon Stewart to remove an underskin that the referee wasn’t happy with, meant it was nine minutes until the first sighting of goal, Will Longbottom’s header from a central position well tipped over by Tony McMillan.
The first quarter hadn’t really indicated a one-sided contest was to follow, with the Yellows only real sightings from Jack Dunn crosses.
But they took control of the game with two goals in three minutes.
First, on 19 minutes, Josh Amis and Dylan Vassallo linked up to flick the ball through for Gray, who forced wide in the box, cut in and then drilled a low shot in to the centre of the goal to make it 1-0 with the visitors’ first shot.
Then two minutes later, Gray picked up the scraps from a half cleared free-kick, created space on the right and whipped in a lovely cross which was brilliantly headed in to the corner by Jack Dunn from 12 yards out.
The Yellows were rampant and Gray sent Dunn through in the middle, the in-form winger not realising how much time he had, heading the ball wide when well placed, before Stewart was out quick to snuff out a chance for Amis after Ben Garrity’s marauding run through midfield.
Gray was running the show and he turned Simon Russell inside out before hitting a shot across goal that was cleared.
But Gainsborough fired a warning on 35 minutes, a teasing ball by Alex Byrne was headed over by Trinity’s top scorer Ashley Worsfold from just six yards out, when a header down would have been a certain goal.
That proved a mere blip in the Yellows’ procession, and Garrity again progressed through midfield and had Gray to his left, Amis to right, he passed right and Amis had a low shot that Stewart got down well for.
Half time gave Gainsborough time to regroup, but within four minutes of the restart the Yellows had extended their lead.
This time it was Alex Whittle who went a long way down the left hand side, he got a quality ball in under pressure from a defender and Amis headed home for his sixth goal in his last five appearances.
That meant Warrington would go top, and for a spell it looked like they would decide how many they would score.
Whittle had a shot blocked and Amis almost had his second, heading wide from Dunn’s ball in.
Gainsborough gradually worked their way back in to the match and substitute Damien Reeves made a real difference, he nearly scored within five minutes of coming on, denied by McMillan before Shaun Beeley got in an excellent block to deny Russell.
Warrington heeded that warning by making it 4-0, Gainsborough failing to pick up the ghosting run of Vassallo, who raced on to Dunn’s slide rule pass, rounded the keeper and passed it in to the back of the net.
The hosts’ afternoon was perhaps summed up by a needless red card for Ben Gordon, sent off for raising his arms at Mitch Duggan after being followed by the Yellows right back.
But they would at least get on the scoresheet, Reeves getting the reward his personal efforts deserved, though it was a goal that Warrington boss Paul Carden won’t have been happy with. Dave Raven and Beeley got in each other’s way for a routine headed clearance off the edge of the box, and the ball fell for Reeves who scored albeit via a deflection off Mark Roberts.
With none of their title rivals in action due to the weather, Warrington go top ahead of next weekend’s visit of Hednesford Town.
Gainsborough Trinity: Stewart, Austin, Gordon, Clarke, Evans, Stainfield, Byrne, Russell, Worsfold, Watters (Reeves), Longbottom. Unused subs: Ture, Wilson, Casburn, McEwan.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan, Whittle (Carden), Beeley, Roberts, Raven, Vassallo, Garrity, Gray (Dixon), Amis, Dunn (McCarthy). Unused subs: Benjamin, Evans.