Harrogate Railway 0 Warrington Town 2
WARRINGTON Town will host Bamber Bridge in the play-off semi finals on Tuesday night after rounding off the regular season with a 2-0 win over Harrogate Railway.
A classy finish from Ben Wharton and a tap-in for Ash Ruane in either half helped Town gain the win they needed to ensure a home tie in their first appearance in the divisional play-offs.
The game at Station View was slow to get going, and had all the makings of an end of season game, despite Town knowing they may need a result depending on results elsewhere.
It took 13 minutes for Town to create their first chance, Conor Roberts lashing a left foot half volley wide of the goalkeeper's left hand post.
A switch to 4-4-2 midway through the first half gave Shaun Reid's men control of the game, and moments after Richard Wright and Wharton got in each other's way trying to get on the end of a Louis Corrigan cross, the visitors took the lead.
Good work by Roberts won the ball in midfield, and he played the ball in to Wharton's feet, and the striker turned well and fired sharply in to the far corner of the goal, a finish reminiscent of the early season form that has deserted him for large parts of the New Year.
That gave Town something to defend, and they led 1-0 at the break, despite some late Harrogate pressure.
The pressure continued in to the second half, although the only thing Josh Ollerenshaw in the Town goal had to deal with was a weak shot that he tipped around the post from close range.
Town almost had a second on 64 minutes, substitute Ruane knocking the ball round the goalkeeper, and staying on his feet despite contact, screwed the ball back for Chris Gahgan, who fired wide.
Ruane, so often a super sub for Town this season, should have scored barely a minute later when Wharton released him in the box, but his shot after cutting in on his left foot was weak.
Although the goalless draw between Bamber Bridge and Ramsbottom meant a result wasn't needed for Town, they were given a reminder of Harrogate's threat when Adam Baker thumped a shot against the crossbar.
But on 73 minutes, it was game over. Gahgan received a short free kick inside the box, turned his way through and then squared across the goalmouth for Ruane to screw in for 2-0.
A couple of good saves from Ollerenshaw kept Harrogate scoreless, and Town nearly claimed a third late on, when Wharton's shot hit the inside of the post and flashed along the line in to the goalkeeper's grateful hands.
In the other Evo-Stik League First Division North play-off semi-final, Darlington will host Ramsbottom.
The winners of the semi-finals will meet at the home ground of the highest ranked team next Saturday.
Harrogate Railway: Crook, Kidd (Hiza), Radcliffe, Thirkell, Morris, Ibrahimi, Baker, Cartman, Farquharson, Hunter (Dwyer), Bromley (Karsamagkas). Unused subs: Hunter, Goodison.
Warrington: Ollerenshaw, Davies, Corrigan, Roberts (Meakin), McCarten, Thompson, Wright (Gahgan), Mannix, Wharton, Kilheeney, Tuck (Ruane).