AFTER a big defeat, the last thing any team needs is a lengthy period in which to stew over it.

Unfortunately for Warrington Town, they go into a suspension of matches that will last for at least four weeks doing just that.

For the second straight match against a team billed as a promotion contender alongside them, Yellows looked levels below FC United of Manchester at times as they did against Buxton before that match was abandoned.

However, it could have been so much different.

The first 10 minutes should have seen them two goals up – Jordan Buckley failed to score when through one-on-one but won a penalty shortly afterwards, only for Bohan Dixon to blaze it high over the bar.

“We started really well. We penned them back and we should have been 2-0 up,” manager Paul Carden reflected post-match.

“There’s the chance when Jordan goes through one-on-one and obviously the penalty.

“They’ve scored through a tame shot and we’re a goal down. It rocked us on our heels.

“We’ve responded and equalised, but we’ve stepped off again and we’ve been schooled for 25 minutes.

“We know they like to play in between lines, but the bigger you make the lines the easier it is to play.

“Not only did we invite them onto us in the first half but we sent them a thank you.

“We dropped deep, then the midfield becomes stretched and we were easy to play around.”

As Carden says, Town’s initial response to going behind was a positive one after Finlay Sinclair-Smith had squeezed a shot through Charlie Albinson against the run of play.

Luke Duffy curled in an excellent equaliser, but the question now was whether or not they could build on an opening 15 minutes that had seen them rattle an FC United side that may have had one eye on their big FA Cup tie against professional opposition in Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.

The answer was an emphatic no and the remainder of the half saw them chasing shadows at times.

FC’s passing was crisp, their movement sharp and full-backs Michael Donohue and Adam Dodd were allowed to stride forward at will.

Not for the first time this season, Yellows looked in grave danger of being overrun.

Again, though, the goals were more or less avoidable from Town’s point of view – Curtis Jones was left unmarked from a corner to steer in the hosts’ second before an attempted James Baillie clearance fell nicely for Sinclair-Smith to curl in an impressive third.

“We let them off the hook, dropped off and didn’t engage,” Carden said.

“They’ve got a big cup game on Saturday and probably didn’t want to play tonight, but we’ve not tested how much they didn’t want to play in that first half.

“I changed the shape from Saturday to give us more in the middle of the pitch, but it was like we had less.

“One thing I said was stay narrow as the wingers like to come inside and make runs in between full backs and centre halves.

“We conceded a really poor second from a set piece – there were a lot of errors in it.

“The third one is unfortunate for Bails because I think he’s come in and done well.

“He’s tried to help the ball on and it couldn’t have been a better set for Fin Smith.

“We had to do something at half time. It was clear where we were massively lacking, so we’ve made changes and I think they made us a better team.

“We were on the front foot but it was too little too late.”

Those half-time changes saw Jack Mackreth partner Jordan Buckley up front – a partnership whose first outing was a promising one against Lancaster in the FA Trophy and this was a continuation.

Jones and defensive partner Aaron Morris had things largely their own way in the first half but at the very least, Mackreth’s presence gave them much less of an easy ride.

New signing Eddie Clarke came on at left-back and shackled tricky winger Tre Pemberton. For the first time since the opening stages, Yellows had a foothold.

They were in the ascendency and then came a theoretical helping hand as home midfielder Luke Griffiths launched himself into an ugly challenge on Jack Dunn.

Despite his best attempts to delay the referee’s decision and take the sting out of the situation, a red card was the only possible outcome and the visitors had 25 minutes of playing against 10 men.

Unfortunately, it seemed to knock them off their stride more than anything.

“Sometimes it galvanises a team to keep hold of what they’ve got and I think they did that,” Carden said.

“Their right back was very good, the centre-halves held them together at times.

“They had some good performers and for 25 minutes in that first half, we were schooled.

“We’ve had chances but again, too little too late.”

Those chances came when the clock was already very much against Town – Buckley and Matt Regan went close with headers while Michael Rose rapped the crossbar in injury time.

In truth, though, FC always seemed in control of the game without the ball following the red card.

They were worthy winners and Yellows are now left with a lengthy period of reflection.