It took just 48 seconds for the returning fans to see a goal at Cantilever Park – as Warrington Town eventually prevailed 3-2 at home to City of Liverpool in the latest pre-season hit out.
A sell-out crowd at the COVID-19 restricted capacity of 300 were treated to two goals inside the first three minutes, as first the Yellows struck with a powerful Matt Regan header from a superb cross from Trialist C, who again impressed pulling the strings in the centre of midfield.
After Bohan Dixon missed a chance to double that lead a minute later, City of Liverpool equalised in the third minute when former Yellows midfielder Dom Reid, one of a number of players back on the old stomping ground, won a penalty off Tom Warren and then stepped up himself to convert past Trialist A in goal.
It was inevitable that the game couldn’t live up to the franticness of those opening exchanges, and if anything, it was the visitors who had the better of the first half, proving to be a tidy and organised side under one of Cantilever Park’s most famous sons, Craig Robinson.
Jamie McDonald was gifted a chance by Regan midway through the first half, failing to find the target from the edge of the box after the defender had given the ball away, before a nice move down the left saw Brown enter the box only to be denied by the on-rushing Trialist A, who again did his prospects of a permanent deal no harm with the 45 minutes he played.
The Yellows had their moments too, Trialist C having a well-struck left-foot shot beaten away, and then after penalty shouts for handball were turned down, Jordan Buckley turned sharply on the edge of the box and saw his curling right-foot shot pushed away by Wheeler.
Incredibly, the second half would see a goal even quicker than the first – barely 30 seconds had gone since the referee signalled the restart, when Tony Gray slid in McDonald, who lofted over substitute ‘keeper Trialist E, whose first touch was to get the ball out of the back of his own net.
It was a slow start to the second half for the hosts, but they equalised on 58 minutes thanks in part to the tenacity of Mitch Duggan in midfield to win the ball back, with Craig Carney’s flick then finding Buckley to nip in and just get enough on it to beat the ‘keeper and find the back of the net.
But City of Liverpool almost restored their lead moments later, a mix-up between Trialist E and Callum Grogan presented the ball to McDonald, 25 yards out with the goal gaping, only for Grogan to get back just in time to divert the goalbound effort wide.
That seemed to trigger a change in the Yellows, and as Duggan started to get to grips with the midfield, the hosts played further forward.
They took the lead on 66 minutes, Trialist C curling a beauty left-footed from 25 yards in to the top corner after Duggan had orchestrated the play down the right alongside Carney.
With both sides experimenting with personnel, the game died out a little bit after then, but the Yellows held out to maintain their umbeaten run in pre-season.
Warrington: Trialist A (Trialist E), Trialist B, Warren, Gumbs (Duggan), Regan, Roberts (Grogan), Mackreth (Trialist H), Trialist C (Trialist G), Buckley (Trialist F), Dixon (Carney), Trialist D (Amado).