WARRINGTON Town recorded a much needed victory as Tony Gray’s second half goal was enough to beat Whitby Town 1-0.
After four league games without a win, the Yellows responded to the disappointment of conceding late on Tuesday night at home to Lancaster and move to the fringes of the play-off places.
Despite starting with no recognised striker, it was a much improved performance by the visitors, who had the better of the chances throughout, as the Seasiders rarely threatened.
Jack Mackreth played through the middle from kick-off, with Bohan Dixon just behind him, and Dixon would earn the accolade of the sponsors’ man of the match, given to both teams by the hosts.
The start, and the Yellows’ recent run of form, was perhaps personified by the first meaningful incident of the game, Alex Byrne entering the referee’s notebook for a rash third minute foul on left-back Bradley Mills after possession had got away from him.
While not getting much change out of the Whitby centre half pairing, the Yellows gradually started to find pockets out wide to play their football, with Mackreth, Byrne and Dylan Vassallo linking up to try and create an opening.
It took until 21 minutes for the first sighting of goal, Dixon being allowed to stride through midfield and after twice dummying a defender, the ball just wouldn’t sit on a bobbly pitch for a clean strike, and he instead took a weak shot left-footed that was comfortable for Whitby ‘keeper Shane Bland.
Ben Garrity shot wide on the half hour before the best chance fell to Dixon, Tom Warren doing well to get a low ball in from the left which a stretching defender poked past Vassallo to Dixon on the penalty spot, his first time shot saved by the legs of the keeper, with Byrne offside for the rebound.
The Yellows went even closer five minutes before half time, Mackreth clipping up a cross for Byrne to head against the bar from six yards out, and then Garrity blazed over the rebound.
The pattern of the game continued in to the second half, a slip from Mackreth only denying him an early shot on goal, before a lovely clipped cross by Byrne to Garrity forced Bland to tip over the bar.
Whitby’s best chance came on 55 minutes, when Dave Raven made an unfortunate miskick via a bobble, and the ball fell for Matthew Tymon through on goal, a combination of Warren and Mark Roberts sparing Raven’s blushes, before the former Inverness man was able to sweep up and clear the danger.
Warrington introduced Gray as a substitute shortly after the hour mark, and they continued to have the better of the play.
A Vassallo corner was tipped over by Bland, and from the second set piece, Mitch Duggan looped a header beyond the back post.
The hosts seemed happy with a draw and as time ticked on, it looked like it may be a frustrating afternoon.
Gray’s free-kick from range was pushed wide by Bland, before a golden opportunity at the other end for Tymon, who blazed over from 10 yards out after Arran Wearmouth had gone down claiming a penalty.
The deadlock was finally broken on 78 minutes, Mackreth backing Jassem Sukar in to the box and clipping a ball for Garrity to head back in to the goalmouth for Gray to scramble home for his fourth of the season.
Centre half Kieran Weledji, who scored a brace as a makeshift striker in the FA Cup replay win at Gloucester City on Monday night, was thrown forward by Whitby, and they started to look a threat going forward, but they failed to muster a clear chance on goal and the Yellows saw out time to claim their first league win since September 3.
Warrington are next in action with a trip to Matlock Town on Tuesday night.
Whitby Town: Bland, Kitchen, Mills, Weledji, Elsdon, Sukar, Roper (White), Gell, Wearmouth (Dixon), Tymon, Rowe. Unused subs: McTiernan, Bythway, Miller.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan, Warren, Jennings, Roberts, Raven, Mackreth (McCarten), Garrity, Dixon, Vassallo (Sephton), Byrne (Gray). Unused subs: Chadwick, Jordan.