YELLOWS’ 2019-20 season is up and running – but my did they make it hard for themselves.

The conditions were wet and the defending on both sides was wild but these three points were needed after the false start against Morpeth Town.

At 4-0 on the hour mark, the way in which they somehow contrived to give Atherton Collieries a route back into the contest will have annoyed Paul Carden as much as the quality of his side’s goals delighted him.

The defensive frailties are only infuriating because they are so unlike the players in Town’s rearguard, but the bottom line is a win is a win.

If Carden’s displeasure at Saturday’s performance was not clear enough, it was evident when the team was announced.

No fewer than five alterations – some dropped to the bench but Dave Raven, a stalwart of last season’s defence, was left out altogether.

While they may not have been flying from the off, it was clear to see the team were much more balanced with first-choice full-backs Shaun Beeley and Louis Barnes restored.

With them providing the width, Jack Mackreth and Alex Byrne were able to drift between the Atherton full-backs and centre-backs to cause havoc.

Warrington Guardian:

Louis Barnes added the width that was badly missing against Morpeth Town. Picture by John Hopkins

The hosts were not without their moments and a big moment in the game went against them midway through the half when David Sherlock saw his superb effort crash off the crossbar.

That would have changed the course of the game, but five minutes later, Yellows got the platform they needed to cut loose.

Byrne was at the heart of both goals Town scored within two minutes of each other – linking up expertly with Barnes and being brought down for the penalty that was swept home by Mackreth before providing an inch-perfect cross for Gray to nod home.

Warrington Guardian:

Tony Gray nods in the second goal. Picture by John Hopkins

It was easy to forget that Town were attacking up a significant slope, but it was mostly one-way traffic without being too rampant.

While Barnes may not have been brought in for his goalscoring, his finish when invited to shoot by the defence was unerring and sent the home crowd into further dismay.

They flocked hoping to see their side mark their first home game at their highest ever level in style, but they were getting a stark reminder as to the quality needed to survive and thrive in the Northern Premier Division.

With the slope now in their favour, the onslaught continued and when Chadwick glanced home a well-worked short corner, nobody was entirely surprised.

Warrington Guardian:

Matty Chadwick glances in his first goal for Yellows. Picture by John Hopkins

Then, trouble.

In two minutes, Yellows went from cruise control to panic stations as they gifted their beleaguered hosts a route back into the game.

If Daniel Lafferty’s free header from a corner was an annoyance, the needless challenge made by Mitch Duggan on Ben Hardcastle that led to Gareth Peet’s penalty will have had Carden seething.

The remainder of the game had been about seeing out a clean sheet but now that had gone up in smoke.

Sherlock again found himself cursing the woodwork as the post this time kept out another screamer as Atherton continued to believe, but eventually what should have been a routine victory was completed.