AS fans flocked back to Cantilever Park at the first available opportunity, they were treated to an excellent contest.

Pre-season friendlies are often low-paced affairs that can drag. This match could not have been further from that.

Credit to both Warrington Town and City of Liverpool for delivering on that front – Yellows boss Paul Carden said the intensity felt like a competitive match and he was not wrong.

All evening tackles were snapping in but in the end, Yellows won through as one of their myriad of trialists scored a superb second-half winner.

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A trialist strikes Warrington Town's winning goal. Picture by John Hopkins

They did not have it all their own way against a Purps side brimmed with ex-Town players and managed by a Cantilever Park hero in Craig Robinson.

However, they found a way and with the new season fast approaching, that ability to dig deep will come in handy.

“I thought it was a proper game and we got off to a good start in it,” Carden said, referencing a thumping Matt Regan header to put Yellows ahead inside the first minute.

“There’s things we need to work on, some of them we know we need to improve.

“It felt like a league game and a real test. We just need to brush up on quite a few things, especially defensively.

“Some of our passing going forward at times was good, but we need to get the balance right.”

Any latecomers will have been cursing their luck as Regan’s goal from an exquisite set-piece delivery was quickly followed by an equaliser.

With Yellows caught out from a long ball, Tom Warren ended up bringing down former Town striker Dom Reid, who picked himself up to score from the penalty spot.

It set the tone for City of Liverpool, who ply their trade in the league below but belied that gap at times in a first half they largely controlled.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

There was a snap and bite about the visitors that was absent within the hosts before the break, with the ex-Yellow triumvirate of Reid, Tony Gray and Jamie McDonald causing problems up front.

McDonald should have done better than slotting wide after Regan’s mistake let him in while at the other end, Jordan Buckley scooped a simple-looking chance over the bar.

He would make amends later, but Town were perhaps fortunate to go in at the break level.

“They did really well, especially in the first half,” Carden said of their opponents.

“At times, we weren’t brave enough. We stepped off and allowed them to play.

“When you step out in ones and twos, you get picked off and you make them play better.

“We did that so naïvely. At times we were wide open, even from long balls.

“We were so far away from where I expect us to be.”

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Things improved after the break, but not before another stunningly early goal.

Gray’s tenacity just off the front man won him the ball and he slid through to McDonald, who showed the composure that deserted him before the break to lift the ball home.

He should have had another when a mix-up at the back presented him with a near open goal, only for Callum Grogan to make an excellent block.

Town kicked into gear, however, and Buckley got his goal by cutely chipping the advancing keeper after Craig Carney had played him in.

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Jordan Buckley scores. Picture by John Hopkins

Once the most impressive of Carden’s trialists had picked his spot in the top corner from all of 25 yards, the job was all but done.

“I think we ground it out a little bit in the second half,” Carden said.

“There’s players who didn’t play well but the pleasing thing was those players kept going.

“There were some good performances that held the team together when it was needed.

“We got a response, we forced them to play long and we had more control of the game.

“It was pretty even in the second half but if anyone looked like scoring, it was us unless we made a mistake.

“It’s pleasing that it felt like a proper game and that we’ve responded to going behind.

“There’s nothing really that we didn’t know we needed to work on.”

The work continues on Tuesday as National League North side Southport visit Cantilever Park, one of three pre-season games remaining before the Northern Premier League season kicks off.

There is work to do, and the time in which to do it is starting to run out.

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Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian: