WARRINGTON TOWN 3 – 1 MICKLEOVER SPORTS
Warrington:Pilling, Carden, Mckeown, Williams, Higgins, Goulding, Beeley, Kinsella, Mcdonald (Milne 83), Gray (Piggott 76), Green (Bakare 83). Other subs Hayhurst, Ascroft.
Sports: King, Grocott, Morris, Mcgrath, Mills, Burgin, Dales, Scott, Barnes-Homer, Garnett (Phillips 54- Mulders 78), Briscoe. Other subs Horne, Belgrave
This was always going to be a tough game, away to 4th placed Warrington and Sports started slowly conceding a 3rd minute goal. Tom Burgin gave away a poor free kick and was punished as Sean Williams floated in the free kick and Liam Goulding was unchallenged to head in from 8 yards out. Sports were under constant pressure and were worried off the ball too often.
It was 2-0 after 24 minutes with another goal from a wide left free kick. Sean Williams this time played in a low cross which left everyone stranded and crept in at the far post.
This seemed to spark Sports into life and Andy Dales went close on 28 minutes, playing a 1-2 with Evan Garnett and forcing a good diving save from debutant on loan keeper, Luke Pilling. Sports were now on top and reduced the deficit on 35 minutes. Louis Briscoe’s shot was pushed out for a corner and when John Mcgrath’s corner came in Pablo Mills scored with a brilliant, powerful header from 8 yards.
Sports now went in search of an equaliser and they completely took over the game. On 38 minutes Loius Briscoe worked space for a shot from 15 yards which was held by Pilling. A minute later Andy Dales was chopped down on the edge of the area (no caution !!) and Louis Briscoe smashed in a low free kick that was again well held by Pilling. And Dales then went closer after cutting inside to fire in a shot that looked a goal all over but Pilling dived full length to pull off a fine save. Yet again Sports went close on 44 minutes as Briscoe found Garnett in space and his cross was half blocked but bounced up to Alex Morris but his 6 yard header cleared the bar. The half time whistle came at the wrong time for Sports as they had dominated since the second Town goal.
Sports were forced into an early substitution when Evan Garnett was replaced by Jimmy Phillps. Jake Scott received a silly caution which was to cost Sports dearly a few minutes later. On 57 minutes Scott challenged Sean Williams seeming to win the ball but the referee interpreted this as a foul and produced a second yellow, reducing Sports to 10 men. Still Sports took the game to the home side and went close with another free kick as Dales was denied a clear run on goal by a deliberate hand ball. Briscoe again fired in a strong free kick that Pilling again saved.
Sports were then hit by another moment of controversy. Jimmy Phillips was the victim of a foul in an aerial challenge ( not given)but after treatment he got up though obviously groggy. The ball was played up to Sports area and collected by Alex Morris who put in a short pass to the unmarked Phillips. Before the ball arrived he went down obviously in trouble from the earlier challenge and the ball broke to Devarn Green – at this point the referee should have whistled for the physio to attend Phillips who was suffering from a head injury, down and in distress – but he allowed play to continue. Green crossed but the ball evaded everyone going to the far wing where Shaun Beeley kept the ball in. He eventually put in a half blocked cross that somehow hit Jamie Mcdonald and evaded Lewis King for the 3rd goal. All this with Phillips still down and in obvious distress. After treatment Phillips was helped off and taken eventually to hospital. Despite all Sports protests the referee was adamant he had made the correct decision which frankly was ridiculous.
This goal took all the stuffing out of Sports and the Home side were content to play the game out.