Warrington Town 1 Stafford Rangers 0

BRAD Barnes’ second-half winner was enough to keep Yellows on top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

Barnes struck just after the break as Paul Carden’s side made it two home wins in the space of four days.

Yellows started quickly and caused their visitors plenty of problems, with Abou Sanogo looking particularly sharp in midfield.

His superb through ball sent Joe Mwasile through on goal and he was barged over inside the area, but the referee ignored appeals for a penalty.

That came after Jay McCarten had seen his long-range free kick skid off the wet turn to be saved by Rangers stopper Adam Whitehouse, who was busy in the opening period.

He saved well from Sean Williams after he was found by a great counter-attack involving Sanogo and Mwasile before producing a top-drawer stop to deny McCarten as his header from a Williams corner looked destined for the top corner.

Stafford were not without chances themselves as they grew into the game, with Keiran Morris heading over from a free kick before Osebi Abadaki cut in from the right before sending a shot well wide.

After the break, it took Yellows just six minutes to open the scoring as the excellent Tony Gray made a fool of the Stafford defence and his drilled pull-back was diverted home by Barnes for his first goal in a Warrington shirt.

That proved the cue for Rangers to establish more possession and they thought they had an equaliser just after the hour mark.

After Yellows keeper Tony McMillan had saved an effort, Izak Reid buried the rebound but was flagged offside.

McCarten then produced a superb block to deny Abadaki as he weaved into the Warrington box.

Yellows remained solid at the back and threatening on the counter and, after Gray had once again led the Rangers defence astray, Sanogo could only steer his shot straight at Whitehouse.

The big midfielder had an even better chance later on when another Gray cross found him at the far post, but he blazed his effort high and wide.

Long balls rained down on the Yellows area, but the defence dealt with them expertly as Carden’s men hung on for a crucial victory.

Warrington Town: McMillan, Adam Carden, McKeown, Barnes, McCarten, Goulding, Mwasile (Jerome), Williams (Kinsella), Gray, Hughes (Richards), Sanogo. Subs not used: Vassallo, Beeley.