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Town Talk: Time to finish the job


JOSH Amis, goal machine.

Those were the words uttered by myself to the big man, almost tongue in cheek, as he departed the scene away at Farsley Celtic in January, after his brace off the bench had secured a fine comeback to earn a 3-3 draw, not the first or last time the Yellows would leave it late to get a reward during the season.

By his own admission, Amis had struggled in the early stages of the season, scoring away at Lancaster City in the second game of the season but only managing the late third at home to South Shields after that until Christmas.

It’s unlikely anybody had him down as the lynchpin and play-off final winner heading in to the New Year, but an attitude and a desire that matches his style of play has carried him through.

A burst of goals in January and February, starting with the draw at Farsley but also including a 22 minute hat-trick against Grantham Town, and a brace at Hednesford Town, helped fire and keep Warrington in the title race as those around them threatened to expose their lack of goalscoring.

Amis would end up scoring in all three meetings against South Shields, coming off the bench in last weekend’s play-off final when half fit to strike an 87th minute winner.

The former Altrincham and Stockport forward was visibly trying to lift his team-mates during Saturday’s come-from-behind win, his glancing header to a Jack Mackreth shot falling to Dylan Vassallo to fire home the crucial equaliser midway through his second half.

He probably typifies large sections of this Warrington squad.

Trusted by manager Paul Carden, not sulking when not in the team, and doing his best to make an impression when given that opportunity.

For that also see Robbie Evans, who spent a large chunk of the New Year as second fiddle to Ben Garrity and Shaun Beeley, but has shown his undoubted quality by grabbing a number of games by the scruff of the neck, particularly in the second half.

There were times on Saturday when both Evans and Garrity puffed their cheeks out and probably wondered whether their efforts would be in vain.

Their energy and enthusiasm though was backed up by the guile and experience of the Rolls Royce of centre halves, Mark Roberts, and his team of the year partner David Raven, who has been exceptional all season.

Raven particularly had a steely determination about him in the second half that no doubt contributed to what was a relatively calm Yellows display, especially as they were chasing the game.

Veteran striker Tony Gray has played his part in the whole campaign, scoring a number of crucial goals, not least the injury time free-kick that caught the attention of David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane in their latest Adidas advertising campaign.

One summer signing that caught the eye was Jack Mackreth, who with still his best years ahead of him and having played in League Two and the National League, it might have been thought his stint would have been short term.

He expected to score more goals, though probably from a central position like that of another former Grimsby winger in Marcus Marshall at Matlock, but Mackreth’s work rate and desire to play for the team has developed significantly over the course of the season after a blistering start soon had him targeted by opposition defenders.

It was Mackreth’s hassling of the defence at South Shields that won the free-kick for Amis’ winner, and he was a constant menace.

There isn’t a weak link in Carden’s side. This season, he has been able to replace injured players with more than capable squad players, squad players who have continually pressed for inclusion in the first team.

That contrasts to last season when he simply ran out of players going in to the play-offs.

Their victories over Nantwich and South Shields should have been enough for promotion, but the Yellows won’t be resting on their laurels and those results will count for nothing if they don’t turn over King’s Lynn in front of a full house at the weekend.

The famous FA Cup win over Exeter City remains the most memorable moment in the club’s history, but a win on Saturday could well make occasions like that the norm for Warrington’s football club.


About Author

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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