MANAGER Paul Carden was controversially sent off as Warrington Town slipped out of the Northern Premier League play-off places with a 2-1 defeat at high-flying Lancaster City.
The hosts had flipped the game on its head by scoring two goals in a rampant 15 minute spell leading up to the break, until a flashpoint as the two sides left the field at half time resulted in a heated half-time debate in the tunnel.
The result of that was Carden having to watch the second half from the stands, having been deemed as not controlling his technical area, while the Lancaster physio was shown a red card by the referee on the pitch.
Either way it was a disappointing outcome from a niggly, hot-tempered game where the Warrington Town FC missed the chance to move up the table.
Playing with a strong wind in their backs, they took the lead on 11 minutes from the first real chance of the game. Tony McMillan came a long way to the edge of his box to claim a free-kick, and launched the ball forward, and when the defender misjudged the ball, Jack Mackreth snuck in and lofted the ball nicely over the ‘keeper to open the scoring.
The same combination nearly linked up successfully again barely a minute later, this time ‘keeper Sam Ashton beating Mackreth to the ball, though he was lucky the ricochet fell just beyond Jordan Buckley.
At the other end, a superb block by David Raven denied David Norris, before Buckley launched an attack with a stunning flick over a defender on half way, the move ending in Jack Banister having a shot on the turn well blocked. Scott Sephton was then denied by Ashton from a deep Scott Brown free-kick.
But from the half hour mark, the Dolly Blues stepped up a gear and were rampant as they turned the game around.
McMillan, who was the Yellows’ best on the day, made a fine one-handed stop to deny Sam Bailey, but from the corner he could do nothing about Charlie Bailey, who fired home from six yards out.
The stopper then had to parry a Bailey shot behind for a corner, and then when Rob Wilson marched forward from a quick free-kick, his shot was tipped over by McMillan.
Another Wilson shot was deflected behind for a corner before on the stroke of half time, Norris kept alive a deep cross and Bailey fired through a number of bodies to find the bottom corner.
The main talking point of the game came as the sides were trudging off the field, multiple players and bench staff were involved as the Lancaster manager appeared to fall to the ground, and then the Lancaster physio landed two apparent punches on Yellows substitute Adam Carden.
The physio was subsequently red carded by the referee and all seemed calm, only for the decision to be made at half time that Carden would himself be sent off, with the assistant unable to identify the culprit of the Yellows side of the trouble.
It was backs against the wall for the visitors, and Bailey nearly had his hat-trick five minutes in to the second half, forcing a fine stop by McMillan who tipped the shot wide of his left hand post.
Although Warrington chucked on Josh Amis and Tony Gray, they couldn’t carve out a clear opening and in the end, were thankful for ‘keeper McMillan keeping them in it, the veteran shot-stopper saving excellently twice from Brad Carsley.
It was the Yellows’ first defeat of 2020, but they fall to sixth in the table ahead of Tuesday night’s Cheshire Senior Cup visit of 1874 Northwich.
Lancaster: Ashton, Hudson, Armer, Wilson, Steel, Wills, S Bailey (Feeney), Dawson (Cowperthwaite), Carsley (Pilkington), Norris, C Bailey. Unused subs: Anderson, Blinkhorn.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan, Warren, Sephton (Gray), Roberts, Raven, Mackreth, Brown, Buckley (Amis), Dixon, Banister (Vassallo). Unused subs: Carden, Harris.