An injury-time winner from Isaac Buckley-Ricketts maintained Warrington Town’s grip on second place with a 2-1 win at Marine.
The substitute steered home following good work by Bohan Dixon to extend the Yellows’ unbeaten run to 22 on the day that their play-off status was confirmed.
The Yellows were sure of a top five place before kick-off, as Hyde had dropped points at Stalybridge in an early kick-off, but the extra points from this one may go some way to securing a home tie in the play-off semi-finals.
Marine are one of the teams desperately trying to reach the play-off places, and they would have felt they worked hard enough for a point, in spite of the Yellows having all of the best chances in the game.
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There wasn’t much in the opening 20 minutes but the Yellows came to life with three excellent chances.
Dixon ran at the Marine defence and curled a right foot shot that was well pushed wide by Bayleigh Passant, and from the resulting corner, Dec Walker headed just over the bar.
The best chance of the half fell to Jordan Buckley, who should have done better with a free header from Connor Woods’ ball in, nodding straight at Passant.
At the other end, the only save Tony Thompson had to make was low to his right to deny a volley from Sol Solomon that threatened to creep inside the right-hand post.
The Yellows stepped it up a gear after half time and within seconds they took the lead. Dec Walker’s superb ball in was diverted home by Buckley, his shot squirming through Passant’s grasp.
Buckley should have made it two minutes later when he diverted Andy White’s left-wing cross agonisingly wide.
But Marine equalised in somewhat fortunate circumstances on 55 minutes. Dixon’s tackle in midfield saw the ball ricochet forward for Joe Hardy through on goal, and he kept his cool to beat Thompson. The assistant’s flag went up for offside, but the referee rightly corrected him by saying the ball through had come off Dixon rather than a Marine player.
That prompted the hosts’ best spell, with Solomon curling a free kick on to the roof of the net and Hardy being denied by Thompson.
Both sides pushed for a winner and Josh Amis shot just wide after Luke Duffy’s through ball, before Andy White’s shot was tipped wide by Passant.
Passant saved from Dixon at a narrow angle and then Williams had a shot beaten away by the ‘keeper as the Yellows turned the screw in the final 10 minutes.
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And it finally paid off when in injury-time, Dixon exploited the space behind the full back, drove in to the box and pulled back for Buckley-Ricketts to fire home for his eighth of the season.
The Yellows travel to newly crowned league champions South Shields on Saturday, before rounding off the regular season at home to Hyde the following week.
Marine: Passant, Hayde, Smith (Solomon-Davies), Howarth, Wardle, Johnson, Lussey, Doyle, Hardy, Solomon, Raffie (Hodkinson). Unused subs: Clark, Weir, Bunney.
Warrington Town: Thompson, Walker, White, Hannigan, Gumbs, Mols (Harris), Woods (Buckley-Ricketts), Williams, Buckley (Amis), Dixon, Duffy. Unused subs: McDonald, Warren.