Warrington Town 1 Northwich Victoria 3

WARRINGTON Town’s stuttering run to the play-offs continued with a disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Northwich Victoria.

Aboubacar Sanogo did the damage with two goals either side of half time, both after pouncing on errors by Town defenders.

First he mugged Phil Davies in the box before getting the ball on to his right foot and smashing home, and he emphatically struck home a second off the underside of the bar after blocking David Thompson’s clearance.

Town’s day went from bad to worse when Michael Clarke claimed a third, and Carlos Meakin’s sweetly struck right foot strike late on was barely consolation for the home side.

After ending a run of three goalless draws with a win at New Mills last Monday night, Shaun Reid’s men had hoped to consolidate second place in the league table, particularly after Darlington’s defeat against Curzon Ashton in midweek meant Town had a three-point cushion.

As it was, they missed out on the chance to stretch that lead to five points, as Darlington dropped points at Prescot Cables, but in truth, Town rarely looked like winning.

A dour opening 25 minutes ended with Sanogo's first, Davies bringing down a free-kick from the right which he should have cleared, enabling the gangly wide midfielder the chance to score, which he duly did.

Such was Town's sluggishness, manager Reid made a substitution on the half hour mark, dragging off Liam Dawson in favour of Chris Gahgan.

That didn't really change the complexion of the game, with neither side doing or creating anything of note.

In fact, the only other chance of the first half fell to Meakin, who chested the ball down and volleyed towards goal, forcing a diving save from Northwich goalkeeper Tim Deasy.

It didn't get better after the break, and on the hour mark, Northwich doubled their lead, Sanogo this time pouncing on Thompson's mistake before lashing home.

The lack of rhythm to the game was hardly helped by a long stoppage that saw referee Helen Byrne limp off injured, and a delay in finding an additional official. The flag was eventually handed to an FA referee assessor who was in the crowd, with one of the assistant referees taking the whistle in the middle.

Moments after the restart, on 66 minutes, Gahgan had a rare glimpse at goal, trying a cute chip, that fell wide of Deasy's left hand post.

The three points were secured on 75 minutes, when Clarke bundled home from inside the box following Scott Harris' free-kick, to much debate in the Town defence.

Town at least managed to register a Saturday for the first time in four weeks, Meakin scoring the pick of the goals, but it was far too little too late.

Town are next in action at home to Ossett Town tomorrow, Tuesday, kick off 7.45pm.

Town: Ollerenshaw, Davies, Thompson, Meakin, McCarten, Robinson, Dawson (Gahgan), Wright, Wharton (Kilheeney), Bowen, Metcalfe (Ruane). Unused subs: Glass, Corrigan.

Vics: Deasy, Scofield, Joseph, Meadowcroft, Henry, Wisdom, Sanogo (Amis), Summerskill (Smalley), Burnett, Clarke, Greenwood (Harris). Unused sub: Stott.