Match Report

5th February 2000 - Nelson 2 - 1 Warrington Town

Tetley Await....possibly

The cup final of the new millennium awaits Warrington Town, especially if their local arch rivals from across town also make it through to the final when they play host to Alsager on the 12th February in the second leg of the second semi final. Defeat by Nelson away on Saturday was not enough to knock out Town who had won the first leg by two goals to nil after having been reinstated in the competition. Formby had played a suspended substitute and were subsequently disqualified from the competition, giving Town their most realistic chance of silverware this season.

Nelson drew first blood when Steve Cartledge, back from injury, played a short back pass to Neil McCormack. A Nelson forward siezed on the opportunity to nip in and slot home into the bottom corner. Town had realised that Nelson could be back in the tie and picked things up straight away. A fabulous team goal saw them draw level with a vital away goal, which would have saved Town from the threat of a penalty shootout, should the situation have arisen. After some quick and confident passing Robbie Preidt played an accurate cross field ball to Neil Holden, whose first touch left the marking defender in his wake. A pinpoint cross into the box was lashed in on the half volley by an arriving Gavin McDonald who was evidently chuffed with the fine finish into the roof of the net. Half time came about twenty minutes later.

Nelson made it 2-1 not long after the restart from a scramble inside the box, just minutes after Gavin McDonald was booked for a fair challenge on the edge of the Nelson box, following a good through ball. Town were growing in confidence and there was a hint of the samba beat in Town's play as Neil Holden showed us some fine backheel touches and interplay leading to an almost carbon copy of Gavin McDonald's goal. This time the cross was met by a diving header which flew inches wide of the left hand post. He was replaced by Kevin Tyrell on 75 minutes but the game ran itself out until the final whistle.

....and here's a Warrington Guardian report:


WARRINGTON'S 2-0 first-leg lead saw them through to their second consecutive North Western Trains League Second Division Trophy final. Despite seeing their aggregate lead twice pegged back, a resilient Town held their nerve during a passionately fought contest.

Nelson made an early breakthrough following an inauspicious start by Warrington as striker Nigel Coates took advantage of a mistimed headed back pass by Steve Cartledge to goalkeeper Neil McCormack and rifled home a low shot from 15 yards. But Town quickly recovered their composure and went close three times to exploiting the gaps the home side left at the back as they pressed forward in their quest for an equaliser.

Efforts by Robbie Preidt, Gavin McDonald and Neil Morgan all passed narrowly wide of the target before McDonald, who has recently won his place back in the Warrington attack, swung the odds back in their favour. Holden, scorer of both goals in the first leg, made another important contribution on the half hour when he sent over a well-struck cross from the left to McDonald, who gave his side a 3-1 aggregate lead with a thunderous close-range drive.

A frenetic opening to the second half saw 'keepers Simon Burrows and McCormack both making outstanding saves to deny Holden and Keiron Roberts respectively, as well as three players booked. The Nelson kept their hopes alive as slack defending by Town left Stuart Mulligan in open space inside the box to hammer home form eight yards but Warrington tightened up at the back with skipper Andy Tague once again in dominant form.

The electrifying pace of Holden came close to adding to Warrington's overall lead in the closing stages as he raced forward 60 yards with the ball before delivering another pinpoint cross, this time from the right, to McDonald but his diving header flew narrowly wide.

Warrington: McCormack, Tague, Cartledge, Callaghan, Tandy, Ashton, McDonald, Pick, Holden, Preidt, Morgan. Sub used: Tyrell. Subs not used: Bushell, Blair.