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Warrington Town move within two points of the leaders as title race hots up

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Pictures John Hopkins

WARRINGTON Town will take the Evo-Stik League title race down to the wire after a 2-1 win at Stalybridge Celtic.

Tony Gray masterminded a crucial victory to bring the Yellows within two points of league leaders Farsley, who drew at home to Hyde.

The Yellows are now second in the table after South Shields also drew, away at Stafford, to enable Warrington to move a point above them.

With just three games to go including this one, noting but a win would do on a baking hot day at Bower Fold.

The first chance fell to Stalybridge striker Neil Kengni, who battled to win a loose ball and then shot low at Tony McMillan, and McMillan also had to be alert two minutes later to deny Kengni after Mark Roberts hadn’t got enough on a header back.

Warrington’s first chance fell to Gray, his outstretched left foot didn’t quite get enough on Jack Mackreth’s drilled ball in and fell wide.

In between the referee’s whistle and a flurry of yellow cards, Stalybridge had a few pot shots from range in a seemingly shoot on site policy, before a chance fell for Mackreth down the middle, his left foot shot going agonisingly wide of the far post.

From one of their long range efforts, the blocked ball fell kindly for Glenn Rule who slid Josh Solomon-Davies through but his shot was poor from the right corner of the six-yard box.

The deadlock was broken on 24 minutes and in some style. A free-kick was won by Jack Dunn on the edge and after he dummied to take it, Gray hammered a wonderful strike in to the top corner.

There wasn’t much else of note to happen in the first half and the Yellows continued to look comfortably going in to the second half.

They created a number of half chances in the opening minutes, Dunn having a shot deflected wide before Garrity had a shot and a header go over the bar.

Kengni fired a timely reminder with a shot from 20 yards out that was again comfortably saved low by McMillan, but two minutes later the lead was doubled.

A raking long range pass by Gray in to the box was brought down well by Dylan Vassallo, and he kept his cool to guide the ball past Paddy Wharton and in to the far corner.

It could have been three by the hour, a cross from the left by Dunn seemed to have Vassallo in a great position in the middle, he let it run though for Mackreth, and the ball got away from the winger.

The final quarter was a lot more nervy than it should have been, Kengni firing home off a corner with 14 minutes to play and the Yellows held on, while also missing a few chances of their own.

Warrington host Witton Albion on Easter Monday before finishing the regular season away at Buxton next Saturday.

Stalybridge: Wharton, Solomon-Davies, Nyaupembe (Cockerline), Wilkinson, Smalley, Tongue, Bakkor, Rule, Kengni, Wolfenden, Howard (Scott). Unused subs: Marx, Lees, Winterbottom.

Warrington: McMillan, Duggan, Hughes, Garrity, Roberts, Raven, Mackreth (Benjamin), Evans, Gray (McCarthy), Vassallo, Dunn (Casani). Unused subs: Dixon, Whittle.

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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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