Warrington Town 0-0 Witton Albion

IT should surprise nobody that defenders won the day during a battle between these teams.

Warrington Town’s failure to find a way past Witton Albion’s backline was more costly and they cannot now be promoted from the Northern Premier League as champions.

Meanwhile Carl Macauley’s men could still match last season’s finish if they collect maximum points from their remaining match on Saturday but need results elsewhere to be kind.

They were defensive from the first minute until the final one, which frustrated a strangely subdued Yellows in the opening-half.

The hosts did not play with the urgency of a side that had a title within reach, even if it did need wrestling from Farsley Celtic’s clutches.

And it made for a pretty disappointing spectacle.

Rob Hopley took aim on 26 minutes after wriggling away from David Raven but his shot was wild and nowhere near its intended target.

Josh Wardle, after drifting away from his marker, met Danny McKenna’s corner at the back post but he could not direct his header into a dangerous area.

It took Town 38 minutes to conjure anything even resembling a chance when Dylan Vassallo’s weak header at least prompted Greg Hall to do some casual work after the pace was taken from Alex Whittle’s cross by a deflection.

The home team did breach Albion’s defence in the seconds before half-time when Tony Gray’s cute header sent Vassallo clear but the youngster’s shot was smothered brilliantly by Witton’s custodian.

It wasn’t a catalyst though for Yellows, who had only Gray’s wasted free-kick to show for their efforts during a 20-minute spell after the interval.

The visitors had introduced all of their substitutes inside an hour as Macauley sought a spark, including Will Jones to support Hopley in attack.

However changes made by Paul Carden, his opposite number, had more of an impact.

Bohan Dixon’s header skidded wide from a Vassallo corner before the latter’s next attempt, low and true, was parried instinctively by Hall.

Witton’s best chance followed when Billy Smart leapt to meet McKenna’s set-piece but his header at the back post lacked the force to worry Town’s number one Tony McMillan.

Carden introduced another attacker, Connor McCarthy, and at last Yellows ran up a head of steam.

Dixon shuffled the ball from one foot to another to make room for a shot that he fired straight at Hall.

Gray, shackled impressively by Luke Offord throughout, then fluffed Warrington’s best chance when he blazed high after substitute Marcus Cusani’s low centre reached him in a promising position.

Cusani conjured an opening of his own in added time, cutting inside from the left with a drop of the shoulder before unleashing a rising shot that Hall diverted to safety.

Witton have conceded enough late goals this term, including one scored by Jack Mackreth for Town to sink them on Boxing Day, to have felt nervy.

However on this occasion their obduracy earned a reward.

Yellows | 4-4-2 | McMillan (GK), Duggan (McCarthy 81), Raven, Roberts, Whittle, Mackreth (Cusani 68), Garrity, Evans, Dunn (Dixon 68), Vassallo, Gray Subs not used Benjamin, Beeley

Witton | 4-2-3-1 | Hall (GK), Cesaire (Gardner 46), Offord, Wardle, Devine, Doyle (Foley 55), Smart, McKenna, Owens, Abadaki (Jones 58), Hopley Sub not used Neild (GK)

Referee Conor Brown

Attendance 733