Report: Warrington Town 2-2 South Shields

Warrington Town fought back from 2-0 down to salvage a draw despite playing with 10 men for 90 minutes in an extraordinary game at home to South Shields.

There were just eight seconds on the clock when South Shields were awarded a penalty and Yellows defender Andy White received his marching orders for pulling back John Lufudu.

Robert Briggs stepped up to convert from the spot and he got another chance 14 minutes later following a handball in the box, and though this one was saved, Paul Blackett swept home the rebound to double the visitors’ lead.

Isaac Buckley-Ricketts gave the Yellows a lifeline midway through the first half and then with 15 minutes to go, Mitch Duggan powered home a header from a pinpoint Sean Williams corner for 2-2.

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Returning skipper Josh Amis could have won it deep in to the six minutes of injury time too, but he was denied by the outstretched leg of Shields ‘keeper Myles Boney.

His opposite number Dan Atherton had helped keep the Yellows within touching distance in the second half, denying Paul Blackett with a strong left-hand and then getting behind Aaron Martin’s shot down the middle.

Most of the 1,347-crowd at Cantilever Park were in disbelief as from the kick-off, Briggs’ long ball forward caught White out in behind and as he scampered back he pulled back Lufudu in the box. Referee Gareth Thomas had no hesitation in pointing to the spot but then whipped out a red card to send White packing.

Towards the end of last season, the Yellows defeated Bamber Bridge after having a man sent off in the first minute, but this time they also trailed by a goal too – Briggs sending Atherton the wrong way from the spot for 1-0.

The early lead suited South Shields’ possession game and they doubled it barely 10 minutes later. As the Yellows went to clear a corner, the ball was fired back against the raised arms of Dec Walker, giving the referee reason to point to the spot for a second time.

Briggs went the same way from the spot but this time Atherton got down to save, pushing the ball away, only for Blackett to win the race to the loose ball and to fire it in to the back of the net.

Shields’ control continued but from nothing, Buckley-Ricketts dragged the Yellows back in to the match. He pressed Gary Liddle into coughing up the ball deep in his own half and Buckley-Ricketts drove in to the box and fired the ball past Boney in to the far corner.

Photo credit: Sean Walsh

That gave the hosts some confidence, and they managed to stay in tact at half time.

Lufudu, a menace down the right in the first half, tried to start the second as he did the first with a run in behind, though this time he was shown a yellow card for diving as Duggan got the better of that individual battle after the break.

The second half turned in to a bit of a stalemate, as Shields commanded possession but found it difficult to break the Yellows down.

Twice in three minutes around the hour mark did they manage to create chances around the edge of the box, Atherton pulling off his save off the match in denying Blackett with an outstretched left hand, before clawing away a Lufudu shot after Briggs’ long ball had picked him out on the right.

The introduction of skipper Amis, making his first league appearance of the season, helped swing the game in the Yellows favour and he proved a menace to the Shields backline.

It was his presence that won the corner 15 minutes from time that created the equaliser. Duggan fed the ball in to Amis, who played it off Liddle to force the set piece, and Williams put it right on the money for Duggan to rise highest and head home, giving him only his fifth goal for the Yellows, having been wrongly denied by an offside flag in the last home game.

With a man less, the Yellows naturally retreated in to a bit of a shell for the closing stages and continued to frustrate Shields, who were denied by blocks by Duggan and Buckley-Ricketts late on.

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The best chance of the finale fell to Amis after a mazy run by Dixon, the Yellows striker’s left foot shot saved by Boney to ensure the spoils were shared.

The Yellows are next in action away at Bishop’s Stortford next Saturday.

Warrington Town: Atherton, Walker, White, Woods (Amis), Williams, Dixon, Buckley-Ricketts (Hannigan), Duggan, Wisdom, Grivosti, Clarke. Unused subs: Goudie, Buckley, Bennett.

South Shields: Boney, Lufudu, Adams, Liddle, Morse (James), Broadbent, Briggs, Woods, Abbey (Hasani), Blackett, Martin.

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