Warrington Town rounded off the regular league season with a 3-1 win against Hyde United to secure second place in the Northern Premier League, the highest finish in the club’s history.
Top scorer Josh Amis made it eight goals in as many games with a first half brace and Jordan Buckley wrapped up the win late on to deny Hyde a play-off place.
The Yellows will now welcome Matlock Town in the play-off semi-finals at Cantilever Park on Tuesday, and if they win that, will host the play-off final for promotion to National League North on May 1.
With a home play-off guaranteed before kick-off, the Yellows knew that a win would secure second place although ultimately it didn’t matter, as challengers Bamber Bridge were beaten by Ashton.
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A packed crowd of 1,415, the second highest of the season, enjoyed a relatively open game that went end to end in the first half.
Matty McDonald shot low wide and the dangerous Manasse Mampala struck straight at Tony Thompson.
The opening goal was a gift from former Yellows goalkeeper Dan Atherton, who was ushering a loose ball in to his box and had it poked away from him by Amis, and he then tapped in to the empty goal on 15 minutes.
Amis doubled the lead seven minutes later, and this one was all about him. A bit of improvisation in midfield by Bohan Dixon set up Luke Duffy to thread a through ball in to Amis who sent a defender one way and the goalkeeper another with a low shot in to the back of the net.
The Yellows retained a 2-0 lead at half time, though were thankful to Andy White for his header off the line in the closing stages to deny Tom Pratt’s header.
Hyde surprisingly withdrew Mampala and Tom Iorpenda, arguably their two best performers, at half time and it didn’t have the desired effect as the second half turned a little bit dour.
Amis had one chance for a hat-trick, his header from a Connor Woods cross well saved by Atherton at his near post.
Atherton denied Duffy before out of nothing, Hyde gave themselves a lifeline when AJ Leitch-Smith scrambled home after Adam Dawson’s shot was spilled by Thompson.
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That gave them eight minutes to get a goal that would have at least put some pressure on their rivals, but they couldn’t find one and the Yellows made sure of the three points in the 89th minute when Jordan Buckley latched on to Sean Williams’ clipped ball over and fired home first time.
Warrington Town host Matlock Town on Tuesday, with Bamber Bridge taking on Gainsborough Trinity in the other semi-final.
Warrington Town: Thompson, Walker, White, Hannigan, Duggan, Harris (Williams), Woods (Buckley-Ricketts), McDonald, Amis (Buckley), Dixon, Duffy. Unused subs: Mols, Warren.
Hyde United: Atherton, Ditchfield, McCullough, Spooner, Fleming (Tongue), Roscoe, Mampala (Dawson), Iorpenda (Leitch-Smith), Russ, Redshaw, Pratt. Unused subs: Fagbola, Fearnley.