IT is all over for Warrington Town in this season's FA Trophy.

A trip to Marske United was a tough assignment even against a team from a lower division, and so it proved.

They faced a team who had lost just four games in nearly three years at their Mount Pleasant home and looked every bit the cohesive unit that had become used to success.

By contrast, Yellows looked familiar to the team that went into lockdown – one that had allowed a good start to drift.

"I have to be honest and say they deserved to win," Town boss Paul Carden said.

"It’s been a telling factor at time this season – chances going astray and then getting punished.

"We weathered the storm in the first 20 and when we equalised, we started getting into the game more.

"They look like a team that’s been playing and winning, even though we’ve had this pause.

"We look like a team that’s lacking confidence and is afraid at times.

"I said to them that we can’t just be a training team, because training is brilliant.

"That’s how it’s looking because at times, we’re not replicating what we’re doing on the training ground on the pitch."

Despite a much-improved second-half effort from the visitors, there cannot be much doubt that Marske's progress was merited.

Even on a cut-up mess of a pitch, they passed the ball around with quality and purpose.

Wing-backs Connor Smith and Curtis Round were prominent and the midfield trio controlled proceedings – David McTiernan breaking up play to allow classy duo Glen Butterworth and Craig Gott to own the ball.

Town could barely escape their own half and when Matthew Tymon grabbed the opener, the only real surprise was that it did not come earlier.

As his hooked effort trickled towards goal before being hooked away by a defender, it clearly looked to cross the line but the lack of a signal from the linesman meant play initially continued.

Referee Jamie Cann took matters into his own hands, pointing for a goal amid huge protests and ire directed at the linesman.

Town could have few complaints at being behind and play continued to go almost exclusively one way.

Against the run of play, however, came a way back – Marske did not clear a Jack Dunn shot and Evan Gumbs pounced to mark his first start of the season with a goal.

"I thought we started like a team who hadn’t played in a long time," Carden said.

"They started very brightly and we couldn’t get out of our own half. There was a lot of scrambling and last-ditch defending in our box.

"Once we equalised and weathered the storm a little bit, we grew into the game.

"I actually thought we did some good things in the second half, but goals change games."

As Carden says, Yellows did step things up after the break and were playing with more purpose.

Just as they were starting to impose themselves, however, the game swung back in the hosts' favour.

Round stood up what looked like a cross to the far post, but the ball dropped over a helpless Charlie Albinson and into the top corner.

Once again, Town had to build and they were looking likely, with home keeper Ryan Catterick suddenly a lot more involved than he previously had been.

He made a superb save to deny Mark Roberts but shortly afterwards, Adam Boyes knocked the wind out of Town's sails with the coup de grace.

Albinson may look back and wonder if he could have done better, with Boyes' effort somehow squirming beyond him and into the far corner.

"The second goal looked like a hopeful cross to the back post that just drops in, then Robbo has a big chance at 2-1," Carden said.

"We had a few chances in the second half and that was the difference.

"From our point of view, Charlie will be disappointed with the third goal.

"It’s not gone in with any pace – it’s trickled in and rolled by. It looked a very basic shot to beat us.

"We were a lot better in the second half and had a lot more purpose about us, but you’re looking for more from certain players."

One player who will not fall into that category is Gumbs, whose goal capped a superb display upon his return from injury.

His reading of the game and timing of his challenges was exemplary – and he will only get stronger with fitness.

"He’s beating himself up over a few missed passes, but he’s different class," Carden said.

"He deserves to be playing football because he’s such a strong-willed character.

"He’s been out for so long but has just done 90 minutes on a cowfield and came through it strong.

"I’m delighted he’s come back, played well and nicked a goal."

With the Northern Premier League suspension likely to carry on into the new year, the chance to play competitively until then has now gone up in smoke.

They will now need to stay ready until the call comes, but there is clearly still much to work on.