A BRILLIANT second half header from Josh Amis earned Warrington Town a 1-0 win away at Lancaster City.
Amis nodded home a pinpoint cross by Jay Harris shortly after the hour mark to secure the three points in the Yellows’ third successive away trip up the M6.
Just in the 2-2 draw at Bamber Bridge eight days ago, a controlled second half performance proved the key for Paul Carden’s men.
At their strongest squad-wise they have been this season, Amis was paired up front for the first time with Jordan Buckley, who returned to the starting team having made a brief cameo appearance off the bench in Saturday’s FA Cup win at Kendal Town.
Despite the presence of both front men, it was Lancaster who started the game on the front foot with a typically direct performance on their home ground.
Former Football League midfielder David Norris was celebrating his 700th career appearance and he could have marked it with a goal, but for a timely Mitch Duggan block as the 40-year-old ran on to Paul Dawson’s cut back and struck first time from inside the box.
Norris and Dawson would then be central to a couple of incidents in a niggly and bitty period of the first half.
First Norris went down in an apparent headlock with Harris which resulted in both being booked, and Norris requiring treatment to a knock to the head.
Perhaps seeking some sort of redemption, moments later Dawson then seemed to strike out at Harris on the floor and was maybe fortunate to get away with just a yellow card as the game fell out of control of the referee for a spell.
The game breaking up probably suited the Yellows, as they struggled to gain a foothold in midfield.
Goalkeeper Dan Atherton was at his athletic best to dive and hang to his left to deny a Norris flick, and he then got behind a well hit shot from Dawson from the edge.
The closest the visitors came was when Harris came for a short corner and then drilled the ball in to the goalmouth, with it bouncing off the ‘keeper and off Mark Roberts and wide.
They ended the half strongly, and almost took the lead in the final minute, Amis’ shot on the turn diverted wide by goalkeeper Matty Alexander’s leg after Luke Griffiths’ shot had been blocked.
Warrington continued on the front foot at the start of the second half and had a penalty shout waved away when the excellent Mitch Duggan was brought down by Dawson, while Buckley perhaps could have done better with a header he glanced wide from a floaty Eddie Clarke ball from the left.
A cute Amis reverse ball released Buckley and he forced a fine stop from Alexander, tipping wide of the far post.
The deadlock was broken on 63 minutes, Bohan Dixon showing strength in the centre circle and playing a fine ball out right to Harris, who delivered superbly from the right and Amis guided his header expertly past the keeper’s right hand for 1-0.
That gave the Yellows a lead to protect, and while they gradually sat deeper, they were rarely troubled by a disappointing Dolly Blues display.
The hosts were restricted to launching balls in to the box, which were regularly dealt with by Duggan, Matt Regan and Mark Roberts, and Atherton never really had a save to make.
So Atherton and his defence recorded a fifth clean sheet in eight outings this season, ahead of back-to-back home games with Gainsborough (Saturday) and Buxton (Tuesday) in the next week, as they moved above Lancaster into sixth in the table.
Lancaster City: Alexander, Bailey, Brockbank, Fensome, Steel, Anderson, Dawson, Sloan, Fishburn (Kilifin), Norris (Cowperthwaite), Turner. Unused subs: Williams, Wilson.
Warrington Town: Atherton, Baillie, Clarke, Duggan, Roberts, Regan, Griffiths, Harris (Hough), Amis, Buckley (Grivosti), Dixon. Unused subs: Corness, Duffy, Miller.