THIS was a game Warrington Town had absolutely no right to win. None whatsoever.

By their own manager’s admission, they were “abysmal” and with 15 minutes left, they were headed for a damaging and deserved home defeat to struggling Matlock Town.

Somehow, though, they produced a comeback Lazarus himself would have been proud of.

When Tom Warren – the unlikeliest of sources – popped up from left-back to score his first Yellows goal for an injury-time winner, it sent Cantilever Park into delirium.

Paul Carden pulled no punches about his side’s display for three quarters of this game but as he so often says, results are all that matter at this stage and this could be a big one in the context of their season.

Back-to-back wins for the first time since November has shot them up to third. While teams around them have games in hand, one can sense momentum starting to build.

Warrington Guardian:

The celebrations for Tom Warren's winner. Picture by John Hopkins

“We didn’t work anywhere near what we should for the first 75 minutes, but its taken some energy coming off the bench,” the Town boss said.

“I thought we were abysmal, to be honest. We were losing the fight and I thought they were going to win.

“We’ve got out of nick, but we really turned up in the last 15. We can’t be as we were for three quarters of that game.

“We’ve had to make changes to try and spark something and the subs who have come on have made things happen.

“We asked that at the subs – you can either come on and not make an impact or be part of the team and make something happen.

“To be fair, the three of them did.”

He is right in what he says – it was the trio of substitutions that changed the course of this match.

Dylan Vassallo added drive and a killer pass in the centre of midfield, but the decision by Carden to completely change his front line was a brave one.

It was not happening for Josh Amis and Tony Gray so Fisayo Adarabioyo and Jordan Buckley were thrown on – and what an impact they had.

“Let’s not dress it up like its some magnificent decision by us,” Carden said.

“The lads have ran around and showed enthusiasm like they did for their goals.

“When we got a little of momentum and quality going down the sides, we were getting crosses in that we hurting them.

“Dylan came on and had a bit of quality when we needed a pass and the two forwards were a threat.

“I said to Bees (assistant boss Mark Beesley) when Jordan scored “we’ll go on and win this now, watch.”

“The goal really gave us a lift.”

When Buckley showed great predatory instincts to sweep home Adarabioyo’s mis-hit from Vassallo’s run and cross, it added the spark Town desperately needed.

Warrington Guardian:

Jordan Buckley nets to start the comeback. Picture by John Hopkins

Before then, they were flat and out-enthused by a Matlock side desperate to climb away from relegation trouble.

The powerful Chib Chilaka and the skilful Marcus Marshall dominated up front, Jude Oyibo was a handful on the left wing and as a whole, they pressed their hosts with intensity.

Their goals were too easy to come by, though – Town had at least two chances to clear a set piece before the ball was cut back for Oyibo to sweep in.

The scorer then turned provider for substitute Dan Turner for the goal that seemed to kill Town off, until Buckley intervened for his fifth goal since joining from FC United of Manchester.

“Jordan’s got a lot of good attributes,” Carden said.

“He wants to know what he can work on, he wants to do extra finishing.

“With that attitude with what he’s got, he’ll be big for us.

“He’s playing more for us than he was at FC United and now he’s getting his rewards for it.”

It was as if a switch had been flicked and yellow shirts poured forward, roared on by an increasingly vocal home crowd.

When Mark Roberts – an increasingly reliable source of goals from defence – pounced with all the nous of an experienced frontman to level matters, there were still four minutes left.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Mark Roberts equalises. Pictures by John Hopkins

They knew a draw was not enough but if THE chance was to fall to anyone, Warren would have been pretty low down on the list.

However, once Jack Dunn’s inswinging cross was flicked into his path at the far post, his finish was unerring and confident.

“It’s a great finish from Tom,” Carden said.

“I’m pleased for him because when he came in the team, he was on fire and like all young players, he has dips and he’s had that.

“I told him on Saturday that this season will be the best thing for him.

“Not having another left-back is massive for him, because he’s having to play through it.

“The experiences of playing well then not so well will be massive for him at 19 years of age.

“I’m delighted for him – I think his mum and dad were here tonight.”

Match facts:

BetVictor Northern Premier League Premier Division

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Warrington Town…3 Matlock Town…2

Warrington Town: Jones, A Carden, Warren, Dixon, Roberts, Duggan, Mackreth, Sephton (Vassallo), Amis (Buckley), Gray (Adarabioyo), Dunn. Subs not used: Wall, McMillan

Goalscorers: Buckley (75), Roberts (86), Warren (90)

Bookings: Amis, Dixon

Matlock Town: Trennery, Dunn, Hamzat, Dean, Yates, Wiley, Byrne, Hinsley (Turner), Chilaka (Edgson), Marshall, Oyibo (Poole). Subs not used: Wakefield, Crouz

Goalscorers: Oyibo (48), Turner (73)

Bookings: Byrne, Oyibo, Chilaka, Wiley

Half time: 0-0

Attendance: 308