Warrington Town lost more ground in the BetVictor Northern Premier as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Lancaster City.
A stunning strike from Robert Wilson two minutes from time rescued a point for the Dolly Blues, as both teams ended the game with 10 men.
Though it wasn’t a particularly hot-tempered match, the Yellows were reduced to 10 men when Steve Jennings saw red in the first half, leaving them at a numerical disadvantage for 50 minutes until Simon Wills was dismissed for the visitors.
The decision to dismiss Jennings particularly incensed the hosts, who thought Lancaster’s Paul Dawson should have seen red himself for a scything foul on Ben Garrity close to the far touchline in the opening quarter, and then avoided punishment for a foul on Alex Byrne.
In between that drama, the Yellows took the lead on eight minutes, Byrne the provider, his cross from a short taken corner headed home by Dave Raven after the ‘keeper had failed to deal with it.
It was perhaps typical of the Yellows’ recent run of form – this was their fourth game without a win – that the villain of the piece Dawson would score the equaliser, a fantastic free-kick from 25 yards that went in off the underside of the crossbar on 13 minutes.
The Yellows restored their lead on 25 minutes, after a period of pressure that saw Tony Gray hammer a header against the bar, before Garrity popped up with a trademark header in to the bottom corner from an excellent Jack Mackreth delivery from the right.
The joy was shortlived, Jennings seeing red on 27 minutes for kicking out at Dawson after a foul, and that put the hosts on the back foot for the rest of the first half.
Goalkeeper McMillan ensured they went in to half time in the lead, racing off his line to smother a Lewis Fensome shot after Dawson had created space in the box.
Rather than sit back, Warrington tried to take the game to their opponents at the start of the second half, Mackreth providing their main outlet, and he almost doubled their advantage on the hour, scampering through and rounding the ‘keeper, only for his shot from the angle not to be strong enough to beat the covering defender on the line.
Referee David Croft then stole the limelight for the second time, sending off Dolly Blues captain Wills in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity following a foul on Byrne. After consulting his linesman, Croft booked Sam Bailey, who had appeared to commit the foul, but decided not to reverse the sending off, and Wills walked.
Byrne shot over before a back-pass almost caught out ‘keeper Sam Ashton, who was relieved to see it go out for a corner.
That turned out to be what started the play that led to the equaliser, Garrity just missing his header off Byrne’s corner, and Lancaster launched a counter attack which ended with former Premier League player David Norris teeing up Wilson for a fine right-footed volley in to McMillan’s top left corner.
Six minutes added on provided ample opportunity for a winner and it would be the Yellows that came closest, skipper Mark Roberts frustrated that he didn’t do better with a header from a Byrne throw that went straight down the throat of Ashton.
The result leaves the Yellows 8th in the table, some 15 points behind leaders South Shields, albeit with two games in hand.
They are next in action on Saturday, with a trip to Whitby Town.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan, Warren, Jennings, Roberts, Raven, Mackreth, Garrity, Gray, Dixon, Byrne. Unused subs: Beeley, Jordan, McCarten, Sephton, Vassallo.
Lancaster City: Ashton, Fensome, Williams, Steel, Hudson (Anderson), Dawson (Smith), Wills, Wilson, Norris, Roache (C Bailey), S Bailey. Unused subs: Povey.