Josh Amis scored a perfect hat-trick to fire Warrington Town to a 3-0 win over Grantham Town.
A blistering start to the second half decided the encounter, Amis scoring within a minute of the restart and then adding a second four minutes later
His left-foot effort on 68 minutes added to his earlier header and right foot shot to end the Yellows’ run of three without a win and keep up the pace with the league leaders as they moved up to second in the table behind South Shields.
A repeat of last season’s play-off semi-final started in a high tempered manner, with barely a minute on the clock, Tom Ward appeared to kick out at Tony Gray while he was lay on the floor and handbags involving the majority of those on the pitch ensued.
It wouldn’t be the last niggle Ward would be involved with, though eventually things blew over and the Gingerbreads launched the first real attack of the game, forcing a corner which was eventually cleared.
As he often has been in recent weeks, Jack Dunn was the go to man for the Yellows, he hit one well from range which ‘keeper Jordan Wright tipped on to the post and was able to claim on the way back down.
Dunn was proving a threat not only with his feet, but with a long throw from the right which Mark Roberts hit straight at Wright, who was the busier of the two ‘keepers throughout.
Wright had to be at his best on 18 minutes to push away Gray’s shot after the striker had created space for himself on the edge, and he also held on to a dangerous ball in by Amis after Dunn had sent him away down the right.
The first half was fractious and a few yellow cards were shared and it was the Yellows were doing the main running when it came to attacking, Ben Garrity next to come close, his header off a Dunn corner hacked off the line by a defender.
A rare foray forward shortly after the half hour mark ended with Harry Millard dragging a shot well wide for Grantham, and they were perhaps fortunate to end the half with a full quota of players as the already booked Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson got away with leaving a late one on Alex Whittle.
If they hadn’t already got control of the game, the Yellows certainly made sure they did with Amis’ two-goal salvo in the first five minutes of the second half to ensure the points would be going to the home team.
Inside 60 seconds of the restart, he nodded home a superb delivery from the left by Whittle, and then five minutes later kept his cool to slot it past Wright after being played in behind.
That virtually ended the game as a contest and shortly after the hour mark, Grantham were reduced to 10 men, Ross Barrows shown a second yellow card following a foul on Dunn.
The visitors did have a couple of chances to pull one back but the game was well and truly put to bed when Amis completed his hat-trick on 68 minutes.
Gray lofted a ball over the top for Dom Reid, and with the ‘keeper rushing out of his goal, Reid got enough on it for it to fall for Amis to tap in with his left-foot, completing a perfect hat-trick for the frontman.
That meant an enjoyable final quarter for the Yellows, who could have added to their goal tally – Gray firing a free-kick just wide, Reid hitting over when well placed and Amis being denied by the unfortunate Wright.
A lovely bit of football enabled Gray to unlock the defence for Whittle to get inside the box, the left-back being denied a deserved goal by Wright’s legs and the ‘keeper then claimed the scraps with Amis waiting.
Warrington are next in action away at play-off chasing Gainsborough Trinity next Saturday.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan (Carden), Whittle, Beeley (Evans), Roberts, Raven, Reid, Garrity, Gray, Amis, Dunn (Mackreth). Unused subs: McCarthy, Vassallo.
Grantham Town: Wright, Barrows, McCartney, Millard, Ward, Salt, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Ward, Durkin, Hemagou, Thompson (McGee).