Late penalty save earns a point for Warrington Town on the seaside

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DAN Atherton saved a late penalty as Warrington Town earned a Good Friday point on the road at Scarborough Athletic.

The Yellows had twice led the game through Connor Woods and Peter Clarke, only to be pegged back by Cameron Wilson and a superb long-range strike by Oliver Dyson nine minutes from time.

It was a terse final quarter in the first game the Yellows have played here since their play-off final defeat to Scarborough in 2022, with plenty of bookings and an ugly exchange in the crowd where a home fan appeared to throw a punch at Woods as he walked back round to the dugouts after being subbed.

Woods had got the Yellows off to a dream start without Scarborough even touching the ball. He hooked home a Sean Williams corner inside three minutes, after Clarke had drawn a fine save out of Ryan Whitley from a Williams free kick.

Scarborough had the better of the first half after that, Atherton getting down well to push a Luca Colville shot wide of the post, and from the corner Kieran Weledji somehow didn’t finish from three yards out with Woods able to head off the line.

Isaac Buckley-Ricketts had the best chance for the Yellows, striking well from the right that forced a save from Whitley.

Cameron Wilson had proved quite the threat down the left for the hosts and he forced the next save from Atherton, after opening up his body to shoot in the box.

And it was Wilson who grabbed the equaliser, breaking the offside trap to get in behind Andre Wisdom and then firing a shot through Atherton from close range which squirmed over the line.

As with the first half, the Yellows started the second strongly and a superb tackle in midfield by Williams helped send Matty McDonald away and his goalbound shot was blocked five yards out by Will Thornton.

McDonald then mishit a pull-back from a good position before neat footwork by Williams released Woods, who had a trademark shot well saved low by Whitley.

Scarborough should have taken the lead on 67 minutes when Alex Wiles ghosted in to get on the end of a Finlay Barnes cross, somehow poking his shot wide from five yards out.

It was the Yellows who would take the lead seven minutes later, under a shade of controversy. A corner was given to the disbelief of Scarborough skipper Thornton and then the home fans were incensed as Williams placed the ball outside of the corner quadrant, missed by the officials, and the ball was curled in and headed home at the back post by Clarke.

That created a terse atmosphere which only got worse as the game went on, and escalated when Woods was substituted, made to walk around the perimeter by the referee, and he was allegedly spat at by a fan, who then swung a punch at the Yellows number seven.

A stoppage followed and then barely seconds after the restart, Scarborough equalised with a rocket from Dyson, who hammered a 30 yard out in to the corner after a free-kick was cleared.

The last 10 minutes of the game were the most lively and substitute Josh Amis could have won it when he brought the ball down well in the box, cut in on to his left foot and was denied by Whitley.

The best chance fell to Harry Green from the spot, after he had been felled by Jay Harris, but Atherton sprung to his right to push the penalty past the post.

In the end the points were shared, which means the Yellows are mathematically assured of their place in National League North next season.

Scarborough: Whitley, Weledji, Thornton, Purver, Mulhern (Hall), Colville, Wiles, Maloney (Johnson), Wilson (Green), Barnes, Dyson. Unused subs: Gooda, Tear.

Warrington Town: Atherton, Hannigan, Gumbs, Harris, Woods (Amis), Williams, McDonald, Eze (Grivosti), Buckley-Ricketts, Wisdom (Walker), Clarke. Unused subs: O’Keefe, Pasiek.


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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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