Pictures John Hopkins
WARRINGTON Town made it four wins in a row as they beat Scarborough Athletic 2-0 to dent the Yorkshiremen’s play-off hopes.
Tony Gray’s first half goal gave the Yellows the advantage and Jack Dunn made sure in injury time as they moved within a point of second placed South Shields.
With three games of the regular season to go, Warrington may not win the title but they are likely to enter the play-offs with some real momentum if this form continues.
After his spectacular winner in midweek, Marcus Cusani was handed his first Yellows start and Josh Amis was brought back in to the starting line-up, in place of Jack Mackreth and Bohan Dixon.
The league’s top scorer, James Walshaw, fired an early warning shot when he had a speculative effort at goal from a good 25 yards from a hopeful ball over the top, forcing Tony McMillan in to an early diving save.
It was a game played at a good tempo throughout and the Yellows forced the first corner of the game inside three minutes off Ross Killock, who nipped in front of Cusani after Tony Gray had kept alive a Mitch Duggan free kick.
Walshaw had his second chance from a subsequent counter attack, a slip by Robbie Evans in the centre circle creating a two-on-one with Michael Coulson, and with Dave Raven blocking the pass, Walshaw shot for goal, didn’t get hold of it properly and Raven was able to get back and clear.
Raven would be an unlikely taker of the next chance, a marauding run from his old right back position set the Yellows on the front foot and all of a sudden he was through on the edge of the box, via a link-up between Amis and Gray, but the former Liverpool full-back could only scuff his shot wide of the far post.
Scarborough were having plenty of looks down their right hand side and it was from a half cleared Wayne Brooksby cross that Ryan Watson fired a well-hit shot over the bar.
Watson would then attempt to turn provider, his fizzing corner causing problems and McMillan just got around Walshaw to put behind for another set piece.
The Seadogs would force four corners in a short spell, but would concede the opening goal from a counter attack off the fourth.
Duggan got a good header away at the front post and Gray flicked on for Dunn, who evaded the challenge of Luke Dean close to the left touchline, played it across for Gray. The striker cut on to his left foot and fired past Thomas Taylor to give the Yellows the lead.
Scarborough almost hit back immediately, Brooksby keeping it in at the byline and his cross was cleared as far as Coulson, who had his first shot blocked and then a second cleared off the line by Raven.
McMillan made a very good save to his left from Ross Killock’s header off a corner, while at the other an acrobatic Mark Roberts effort was well pushed away by Taylor.
The game started to quieten down and Warrington enforced a bit of control going in to the second half.
Chances were at a premium, with Gray twice cutting inside from the left to try and beat Taylor inside his near post, only to be denied both times by the ‘keeper.
Both sides made a flurry of substitutes which fractured the game a little, and it was the 78th minute until the next real sight of goal, Dunn’s shot from the edge deflected just wide.
Scarborough’s best chance came a minute later, sub Flynn McNaughton getting the wrong side of Adam Hughes and shooting across McMillan, who tipped wide.
The Yellows were relatively settled and they made sure of the points in the first minute of injury time, Raven clipping a ball over for Connor McCarthy to hold up. He played inside for Jack Mackreth, who flicked around the corner for Dunn who finished well.
A late penalty rescued a point for South Shields at home to Basford United which puts them on 80 points, a point ahead of Warrington, with Farsley still top on 83 points after they beat Grantham Town 4-0.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan, Hughes, Garrity, Roberts, Raven, Cusani, Evans, Gray, Amis, Dunn. Subs: Benjamin, Dixon, Mackreth, McCarthy, Vassallo.
Scarborough Athletic: Taylor, Gooda, Lacey, Dean, Burgess, Killock, Brooksby, Watson, Walshaw, Coulson, Valentine. Subs: Lofts, Cadman, McNaughton, Merries, Johnson.