Report: Warrington Town 2-0 Stafford Rangers

Warrington Town made it 10 games unbeaten with a 2-0 win over Stafford Rangers.

Second half goals from Stefan Mols and Tom Hannigan kept up their recent run of form in only their second home game of the New Year.

The Yellows controlled the game after the break with Stafford’s main threat the monstrous long throws from Tom Tonks, though the hosts did finish with 10 men as Jay Harris was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

With five defeats in their previous six, Stafford had slipped away from play-off contention, but their lively centre forward Kaiman Anderson asked questions of the Yellows back line.

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He twice nearly got in early on off some loose possession by the Yellows, but it was a Tonks throw that created the first chance on goal, a scramble in the goalmouth that the hosts did well to survive thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper Tony Thompson and Mitch Duggan.

Stafford defender Ethan Stewart should have done better with a headed chance on 14 minutes after he had peeled away unmarked to get on the end of a Tonks free-kick, before Thompson denied James O’Neill from point blank range, only for an offside flag to make the save redundant anyway.

Photo credit: George Redfern

But gradually, the Yellows started to grow in to the game with both Josh Amis and Jordan Buckley having half chances that they didn’t quite connect with that fell comfortably for Stafford ‘keeper Cameron Belford.

A rain shower pre-game had created a greasy surface and Tonks’ use of towels to dry the ball ahead of his throw-ins was slowing the game down, which led to a heated debate at half-time about the alleged action of a Yellows substitute throwing a towel out of use.

With no rule against either, the game went on and the Yellows stepped up to a level in the second half that Stafford couldn’t respond to.

The opening goal was a peach. The returning Mols ran across on to a sharp Bohan Dixon pass, opened up his right foot and guided it in to the top corner off the underside of the bar from the edge of the box.

Stafford surprisingly sacrificed Anderson to introduce ex-Witton forward Callum Saunders to chase an equaliser that never looked like happening, and Mols nearly doubled Warrington’s lead when his shot was blocked by Joe Dunne.

Photo credit George Redfern

From the resulting corner, the second goal came – Sean Williams’ delivery bouncing in the box for Hannigan to turn and fire home for his fourth goal of the season.

That virtually ended the game as a contest and substitute Isaac Buckley-Ricketts almost made it three when released by Andy White, only for Belford to rush off his line and save.

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Harris, who had received a booking for dissent after the half time whistle for complaining that it had interrupted a promising Yellows’ counter attack, was then sent off for pulling back Tyreece Onyeka to rule him out of next Saturday’s trip to Matlock Town.

Before then, the Yellows welcome Lancaster City to Cantilever Park on Tuesday night having registered a first clean sheet in 2023 after Stewart’s late header from a Tonks throw came back off the bar.

Warrington Town: Thompson, Duggan, White, Hannigan, Gumbs, Harris, Buckley (Buckley-Ricketts), Williams (Walker), Amis, Dixon, Mols (McDonald). Unused sub: Duffy.

Stafford Rangers: Belford, Burns, Dunne, Baxter, Stewart, O’Neill, Kenton (Onyeka), Tonks, Anderson (Saunders), Harvey, Morgan (Kiwomya). Unused subs: Willis, Morrison-Derbyshire.

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