16th January 1999 - Warrington Town 0 - 2 Abbey Hey
The wind blowing up the canal and along Cantilever Park was bitterly cold on Saturday, and it may have been due to this wind that Cantilever Park was relatively empty for this match when compared to Town's last two home fixtures. A relatively quiet first five minutes saw Town establish some good passing football. The crowd were anxious for some goalmouth action, but they didn't have to wait long, the ball striking Abbey Hey's upright from a low cross from the right on the seven minute mark. It was agonisingly close - the goalie was just standing there, rooted to the spot. An exciting, evenly matched first half saw some good close chances, especially for Town who came the closest. Damien Whitehead, hair cropped short, was played through by Paul Berry but it was too long, and the keeper came to collect. (See left)
The slick passing continued despite a momentous midfield battle, and again, just a few minutes later, Damo found the ball at his feet after a bit of a goalmouth scramble and mid-tumble viciously struck the ball towards the bottom right hand corner:
Seconds after the photo was taken, Abbey Hey 'keeper Paul Lythe dived low to his left to expertly push the ball around the post. Nothing came from the resulting corner, the blustery wind causing problems when the ball was in the air.
Kevin Tyrell was constantly lurking and threatening the Abbey defence but he was frustrated by over-weighted or over-blown long balls hoofed up the pitch towards him from midfield. (See right). He also came close in the second half, causing havoc on the edge of the box. However, seconds before the half time whistle blew, Abbey broke forward, exposing a large hole in the Town defence. Some good passing between the centre circle and the edge of the box before Scott McClean stroked the ball home showed up Town's desperate defending. Harry and all those level in the "Administration office" (that's the green portakabin where the shop is) said it was blatantly offside. It probably was, but it counted.
In the second half, Town seemed to lose their sense of passing and defending became slightly more desperate. However, as in the first half, Town came closest as Damien Whitehead, a constant threat to the Abbey Defence, struck a header which was flying in the top corner, but which was then amazingly well saved by the Abbey 'keeper, diving high and to his right. (See right). Things didn't seem to be going Town's way, especially when a penalty was conceded midway through the second half, for a trip in the box. Scott McClean, scorer of Abbey's first goal, stepped up to stroke it home. Town didn't look too demoralised, and battled hard to win a free kick on the edge of the box. A poorly struck shot crashed into the wall before the ball trickled through to Lythe between the posts, summing up Town's frustrating day:
|Alan Hansen says: Aye, thi' wind were a bloowin and it were keeepin' tha' ball in the Aaabbeey Heeey half for the fiirst foaarty fiyve minoots but noathin was made o' it. The deasperaate defeandin in second haf shoowed tha Toon were under pressure, but aye thi werr unlooaky not to make some chances coont.|
LUCKLESS TOWN FIRE BLANKS
By MIKE PARSONS
Warrington Town 0 Abbey Hey 2
WARRINGTON Town's second successive defeat was also their first league
loss since October. Third placed North Western Trains League Division Two side Abbey Hey
found the formula for success at Cantilever Park a week after Thame United knocked Town
out of the FA Vase. But Town, unlike against Thame, created goalscoring chances and had
enough of them to have gained at least a point on Saturday.
The closest they came to hitting the target was in the ninth minute when form striker Damien Whitehead was at full stretch to prod a shot goalwards but his effort rolled off the post and wide. Most of Town's best work came through Terry Nestor. The battling midfielder sprayed passes all over the park but no-one cashed in on his productivity. Abbey Hey had done their homework on winger Paul Berry. So often Berry's maizy runs have been the thorn of visiting defences but disappointingly he could not get into the flow of the game and, as a consequence, Town's attacking force suffered.
Dave Hughes' men were unfortunate at the back. Abbey Hey's first goal by Scott McLean in first half injury time was suspiciously off-side and the second came from the penalty spot courtesy of Lee Pickford in the 66th minute after Paul Anderton felled Martin Kelly in the box. The Blackpool outfit rarely looked like scoring otherwise. Whitehead and Nestor watched their good efforts saved or sail wide as they tried to rescue the game.
Town: Alan Thomson, Chris Hunt, Paul Anderton, Ian Hughes, Elfyn Edwards, Paul Berry, James Ward, Terry Nestor, Kevin Tyrrell, Damien Whitehead, Andy Tague. Subs: Neil Morgan, Neal Holden, Ian Bold.