South Shields 1 Warrington Town 2

AS they stepped into the lion’s den, Yellows gave the truest indication yet of their quality, spirit and resolve.

They came to a fortress – South Shields had dropped just two points at home all season – and conquered it.

While it may not have been enough to take them top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division, they now have an impressive five-point lead over the pre-season title favourites.

Josh Amis and Jack Dunn struck in quick succession to give Town a dream start and it was enough for the points despite Nathan Lowe’s reply for the hosts just shy of half time.

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South Shields’ unique formation and slick passing football posed a big challenge to Town.

The opening exchanges were cagey – with Tony McMillan pushing a David Foley curler round the post before Amis’ cut-back at the other end somehow evaded Tony Gray and Bohan Dixon in the six-yard box.

For all their possession, the hosts were not creating much until a frantic goalmouth scramble which saw Yellows somehow keep the ball out via a combination of McMillan, Dave Raven and Shaun Beeley.

Just a couple of minutes after that – as Shields were stepping up the intensity – Town stunned the vocal home crowd into silence.

A well-worked free kick routine saw Dixon twist and turn into a crossing position, and his in-swinging delivery put the ball on a plate for Amis to poke home his ninth goal in his past seven appearances.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

If the hosts were shocked by that, they were even more so five minutes later.

With the home defence backing off, Dunn accepted the invitation to drive into the box before unleashing an unstoppable effort past Liam Connell in the Mariners goal.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

However, the hosts regained their composure and after a cross was cleared to the edge of the box, Lowe drove an effort through a crowd of bodies and past an unsighted McMillan.

They could have had more before the break, too, as they attempted to wipe out Town’s lead.

McMillan had to be sharp to keep out Craig Baxter with his legs before saving well again from the resulting corner, but Warrington survived to get to the break with their lead intact.

Town started the second half positively, forcing the home side into mistakes that urked the vast majority of the Mariners Park crowd.

Home skipper Jon Shaw did have the first opening of the half, but he headed a free kick straight at McMillan before Amis had a shot charged down at the other end.

Dunn’s deliveries from set-pieces were causing issues, with Shields fortunate to get away without conceding from two that bobbled around inside their six-yard box.

The visitors were managing the game excellently and gaps started to open up on the counter-attack, with Dunn driving forward again before curling high and wide.

Shields were pushing Town back but were struggling to break through a determined Town defence as time began to work against them.

Despite being outnumbered, the midfield – anchored by the imperious Shaun Beeley – was coping admirably.

They helped Town create an opening for a third as Amis held the ball up and set it for Ben Garrity, but he skewed his shot wide.

From the resulting goal kick, Blair Adams was allowed to advance up the left wing and while his cross looked to be drifting harmlessly out of play, it dipped and came off the top of the crossbar.

As the clock ticked towards full time, Shields threw on towering forward Ben Harmison as they went direct, but Yellows had an answer for everything to secure a monumental three points.

Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan, Whittle, Beeley, Roberts, Raven, Dixon (Evans), Garrity, Gray (Benjamin), Amis, Dunn (Hughes). Subs not used: McCarthy, Vassallo.