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Warrington Town move clear at the top of the league

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Pictures John Hopkins

WARRINGTON Town went two points clear at the top of the Northern Premier League with a 3-1 win over Hednesford Town.

Josh Amis bagged a brace to make it eight goals in six games, as title rivals South Shields were held at home by Bamber Bridge.

Dylan Vassallo had earlier exchanged goals with Shane Benjamin in an opening first quarter of the game, but the Yellows proved too strong for the visitors in the end.

Warrington were unchanged from the 4-1 win at Gainsborough last week as they looked to avenge the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture against a Hednesford side who have struggled this season and undergone significant changes to their squad since the arrival of new boss Nicky Eaden last month.

The first opening would fall to the Yellows, Tony Gray’s ball in behind chased down by Josh Amis who got to it ahead of Kieran Preston, the ball coming back for Gray who went down under a challenge but the referee waved it away.

Hednesford were playing some nice football from the start and it was some smart build up down the right that would create their first chance six minutes in, Shane Benjamin letting the ball run through for strike partner Kieran Wells, though he didn’t quite catch his shot as he would have liked and Alex Whittle got in to clear before it even reached Tony McMillan in the Yellows goal.

The opening goal would come on 16 minutes, a scruffy ball in by Jack Dunn for the left finding Gray, who held off his man and laid the ball off for Dylan Vassallo to calmly fire home from six yards out.

That really opened up the game and after forcing a couple of corners, the Pitmen equalised just five minutes later.

Alex-Ray Harvey’s corner was only half cleared and Reece King’s half-volley from the edge of the box through a ruck of bodies was too hot to handle for McMillan, albeit with two of his own defenders impeding him, and the rebound fell for Benjamin who gleefully buried the chance.

The Yellows went straight up the other end from the kick-off, Ben Garrity heading over from a Dunn cross, and then Amis missed a golden opportunity, denied by Preston after bearing down on goal from the left corner of the box.

Hednesford were creating openings too and they hit the Yellows on the counter attack on 23 minutes, the chance eventually falling to Benjamin who perhaps should have done better, shooting wide from point blank range under pressure from McMillan.

The visitors were starting to have the better of the play, Benjamin playing a one-two with defender Danny Lupano from a free-kick, the latter fizzing a drive goalwards that was tipped over by McMillan.

But it would be the Yellows that found the third goal of the game, a boot up field by Garrity catching Preston in two minds, and Amis chased the ball down, saw his first shot saved by the ‘keeper, but then headed in the rebound for 2-1, which is how it remained at the break.

The Yellows settled things down after the break and largely had control of the game, without creating anything clear cut, Garrity heading over the bar from a Dunn corner on the hour.

There was a heart in mouth moment shortly after as Shaun Beeley’s header almost beat his own keeper, McMillan clinging on at full stretch, but in truth that would be the closest Hednesford would come.

On 71 minutes, Warrington got themselves some breathing space as Garrity headed Dunn’s free-kick back across goal for a tap-in for the in-form Amis.

That virtually ended the game as a contest and the Yellows closed things out to secure three points ahead of their mouth-watering trip to South Shields next week.

Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan, Whittle, Beeley, Roberts, Raven, Vassallo (McCarthy), Garrity (Benjamin), Gray (Evans), Amis, Dunn. Unused subs: Carden, Dixon.

Hednesford Town: Preston, Melbourne, Lupano, Harvey, Moran, Bailey, Vidal (Archer), King, Benjamin, Wells, Ellis (Hallahan). Unused subs: Veiga, Gatter, Fox.

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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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