Pictures John Hopkins
WARRINGTON Town registered their first win of the season, as they beat Atherton Collieries 4-2 on a sodden Tuesday night.
Three goals in 15 minutes leading up to the break put them in control, with Louis Barnes’ goal on debut the pick of the bunch.
Matthew Chadwick scored his first goal for the club on the hour to seemingly put the game beyond doubt, before Colls threatened an unlikely comeback.
The Yellows will have mixed feelings about the win, pleased at the way in which they led 4-0 after an hour, but concerned by the second half wobble that almost let Colls back in to the match.
After Saturday’s flat season opening display that resulted in a 3-1 home defeat to newly promoted Morpeth Town, Yellows boss Paul Carden shook up his starting 11 with five changes.
In came Shaun Beeley, Louis Barnes on his return from suspension, James McCarten, Matthew Chadwick and Jack Mackreth, with injured pair David Raven and Dylan Vassallo sitting out, and Josh Amis and Mitch Duggan dropping to the bench.
New forward pairing Chadwick and Tony Gray showed signs of promise early doors, linking up well in the fourth minute to free Chadwick in the box, his pull back falling for Alex Byrne, who had his shot blocked.
The hosts, who were West Division champions last season and opened the season with a credible 2-2 draw at relegated Ashton United, fired two long-range warning shots to the Yellows – Oliver Roberts hitting a dipping shot just wide from 20 yards, before a thunderbolt from David Sherlock came back off the face of the crossbar with Tony McMillan beaten.
After Chadwick had twice gone close with audacious efforts from either side of the box, the Yellows won a penalty after a neat passage of play down the left saw Alex Byrne brought down in the back having ran in to space off a Barnes flick.
Jack Mackreth stepped up and converted a textbook penalty and two minutes later the lead was 2-0, Gray nodding home unmarked from six yards off a pinpoint Byrne cross from the right.
The Yellows were rampant and they nearly added a third shortly after, Mackreth finding a rampaging Barnes entering the box, the left-back deciding to pull-back looking for Chadwick rather than taking perhaps the better option and going for goal.
He learned from that indecision on the stroke of half time, again finding space inside the box and with nothing on, decided to lash home a fine strike in to the top corner to mark his debut with a goal.
That looked like job done, and after Ben Garrity was denied by ‘keeper Theo Roberts, Chadwick made it 4-0 with a header from Mackreth’s cross.
What followed was somewhat unpredicted, with the Yellows seemingly coasting to a comfortable win, but they were subjected to an uncomfortable final quarter.
Danny Lafferty headed home unmarked off a corner on 63 minutes, and three minutes later it was 4-2, Gareth Peet converting a penalty won by Ben Hardcastle for a foul by substitute Mitch Duggan, who had earlier replaced Shaun Beeley.
The Yellows were wobbling and it was only the woodwork that spared them on 78 minutes, Sherlock for the second time in the game denied, this time by a post.
Josh Amis could have put the game beyond any reasonable doubt as the game entered the final 10 minutes, his shot after rounding the ‘keeper holding up enough on the soggy pitch to enable a defender to nip in to clear, but in the end the visitors were able to close it out to get their first points on the board.
A trip to Gainsborough Trinity follows on Saturday, before Bamber Bridge are the visitors to Cantilever Park on Bank Holiday Monday.
Atherton Collieries: Roberts, Smith, Peet, Sherlock, Rowlands, Lafferty, Conway (Egan), Bailey, Hardcastle, Roberts (Cover), Lynch (Battersby). Unused subs: Grimshaw, Nolan.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Beeley (Duggan), Barnes, Jennings (Sephton), Roberts, McCarten, Mackreth, Garrity, Gray, Chadwick (Amis), Byrne. Unused subs: Corbett, Dixon.