Not as bad as it could have been

STAFFORD are proving to be a bogey team for Yellows.

Having beaten them at Cantilever Park two weeks ago, they took more points from Paul Carden’s side at a time when they cannot really afford to drop many.

However, things could have been worse.

Having fallen behind on the stroke of half-time, it looked like it was going to be one of those days for Town.

Credit has to go to them for fighting back to earn a point against a side that have momentum in their battle to stay up.

> How Yellows lost more ground in title race

Warrington Guardian:

Jack Dunn nets Warrington's equaliser at Stafford. Picture by John Hopkins

Pitch a great leveller

AT this level, conditions under foot can be a huge advantage for home sides.

The surface at Marston Road did not look too bad visually, but once the game started it was easy to tell how difficult it was.

Yellows are known to prefer a passing game, but that proved near impossible on a surface that was extremely bobbly and got worse as the game went on.

While the pitches they come across between now and the end of the season may not be as poor as this one, it is almost expected that they will be difficult at this time of year.

Paul Carden has stressed his desire for his side to be adaptable on many occasions and this becomes all the more important at this stage.

> Carden unhappy with Yellows attack in Stafford draw

Warrington Guardian:

The Marston Road pitch made it tricky for technical players such as Dylan Vassallo to shine. Picture by John Hopkins

Set pieces prove Town’s undoing again

YELLOWS have the best defensive record in the division and that has been the bedrock upon which their promotion challenge has been built.

However, Stafford have exploited them at set pieces over the past two games – three of the four goals they scored against them came via that route.

In this game, Paul Carden will be scratching his head as to how Andrai Jones found space for a simple tap-in inside a crowded six-yard box.

Before that, Tony McMillan flapped at the initial delivery and while he partially redeemed himself by saving from Luke Jones, the panic had already been caused.

They have now kept just one clean sheet in their past eight games – so unlike the rigidity that has defined their season.

Warrington Guardian:

Tony McMillan flapped at a Stafford corner which eventually led to the hosts opening the scoring. Picture by John Hopkins

Brilliant Benjamin

BEN Garrity’s suspension and Shaun Beeley’s absence meant Yellows were missing both of their first-choice central midfielders.

However, when one door closes another opens and it gave Russell Benjamin the chance to make his first league start for the club.

Having impressed off the bench in the reverse fixture two weeks ago, he had earned his opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands.

He grew into the game and his second-half display was particularly impressive, with his ability to turn quickly and carry the ball shining through.

Benjamin has been on the fringes for the majority of the season, with his appearances limited to off-the-bench cameos as the likes of Garrity, Beeley and Robbie Evans hold down spots in Town’s engine room.

However, his performance here shows the former Southport midfielder could end up being a key player for Paul Carden’s side in the run-in.

No more slip-ups

“LET’S try and win eight games. If we can’t do that, let’s try and win seven.”

They were Paul Carden’s words before their trip to Stafford – and the last sentence has now become pertinent.

While they were not beaten, Town were undoubtedly the big losers in the title race yesterday as leaders Farsley Celtic and third-place South Shields both recorded big victories.

Yellows now trail the Celts by four points while only goal difference keeps them ahead of Shields.

If, as expected, the now-defunct North Ferriby United’s record is expunged, that will take the Mariners above them.

There can now be no doubt that, if Yellows are to be crowned champions, they cannot afford to drop any more points.

Even if it does not prove enough to win them the title, it will take them into a long-winded play-off campaign with momentum at least.

Warrington Guardian:

Town face Gainsborough Trinity in their next game on Saturday. Picture by John Hopkins