Warrington Guardian report:


8th April 1999

Warrington Town 1 - 2 Fleetwood Freeport


WARRINGTON Town did not do themselves justice on a night which showed the shameful side of soccer.  Town only got into the North Western Trains League Second Division Trophy final in the last 20 minutes and afterwards manager Dave Hughes admitted: "We froze. Fleetwood deserved their win."

But Fleetwood's moronic supporters behind the Town goal spoilt what should have been an enjoyable climax to the competition.  Around 100 to 150 supporters, who had been drinking on the Darwen football ground terraces, abused and taunted Town goalkeeper Alan Thompson throughout the 90 minutes.  After the first goal was scored, two supporters ran on the pitch and were goading Thompson with their remarks and gesters.  At one point a spectator somehow pinched Thompson's gloves off him and the goalkeeper complained to his manager that items were thrown at him.

Their actions have tarnished the North Western Trains League's reputation and officials will surely have to take precautions of ground stewards or police in future finals to avoid a repeat performance of something which could have turned very ugly indeed.

Town went into the game full of confidence on the back of an unbeaten 13-match run and with prolific marksman Damien Whitehead, who had scored nine goals in the previous three games, leading their attack.  The 19-year-old striker has won the hearts of the Town supporters with his outstanding goalscoring achievements this season and one banner at the game read: 'Jesus saves...but Damo gets the rebound.'

It was a game of few chances but it was Whitehead who stroked home Kevin Tyrrell's 74th minute cross for his 47th goal of the season to give Warrington hope at 2-1.  Town laid siege on the Fleetwood goal for the final quarter but failed to come close again.

The game began with Warrington having a penalty appeal turned down in the 4th minute. Midfielder Paul Berry was brought down in the box by Fleetwood's Dave Nolan but the referee ruled play on.

No such luck for Town in the 19th minute. Central defender Steve Cartledge tripped Denis Walsh in his own area and striker Keith Johnstone sent Thompson the wrong way from the spot kick to go 1-0 ahead.  Their second goal came four minutes into the second period. Town cleared from defence but the ball found its way to Fleetwood's former Tranmere Rovers and Wales international centre back Mark Hughes.  He showed great visin to spot Thompson off his line and sent in a 40-yard looping shot which Thompson had to scurry back to keep out with a fine save. Unfortunately, he could not hold on to the ball and Terry Green was able to tuck into under Thompson for a 2-0 advantage that was enough to seal the silverware.

Hughes said afterwards: "I think we froze. We looked like a young side against an experienced side, which hasn't been happening recently.  They had the physical power and some of our younger players didn't have the muscle to contest with them.  It could have been a different story if we had been given the penalty early on. It looked a clear penalty to me but I was on the half way line. However, there was no doubt about theirs."

Town: Alan Thompson, Andy Tague, Steve Cartledge, Ian Callaghan, Elfyn Edwards, Paul Berry, Terry Nestor, Dave Tickle, Kevin Tyrrell, Damien Whitehead, Paul Anderton. Subs: Gavin McDonald, Joey Fenton, Neal Holden