Prescot Cables headed to Cantilever Park on Saturday on the back of good performances in both the League and Liverpool Senior Cup in the preceding week, hoping that Evo-Stik Premier Division high-fliers Warrington Town would not prove to be a bridge too far for the club’s FA Trophy ambitions.
Although bitterly cold, the conditions were perfect for playing football and what followed was a tense game between a much changed Warrington Town team and a full strength Cables side. In typical ‘pesky’ fashion, Cables refused to be overwhelmed by playing a side from a higher division. As fixtures against so called ‘big clubs’ have shown in the past, games like this bring the best out in Cables’ players and Saturday was no exception with a fine team performance from everyone in red.
Warrington started the game with two centre forwards who could only be described as ‘massive’, combined with former Cables player Dominic Reid on the wing they set about picking apart the Cables back four. Valter Fernandes in particular struggled against the rapid Reid in the opening minutes.
However the back four of Cooper, McCulloch, Coyne and Fernandes stood firm and restricted the Yellows to very few clear chances. Marshalled by the busy Jack Lenehan and the bullish Aaron Turner, the hosts were unable to get into any sort of rhythm.
Slowly Cables began to exert pressure of their own as they grew in confidence. Their first sight of goal came from Chris Almond driving through the Warrington midfield before a good interchange of passes between Josh Klein-Davies and Fernandes saw the fullback blaze over.
Klein-Davies, who was impressive throughout the game, then shot just wide in the 22nd minute after a long clearance from ‘keeper Ben Barnes. Holding off the centre-half, he was able to drive into the box, blasting the ball to home keeper Albinson’s right-hand side. The stopper could only watch but unfortunately the shot was narrowly missing the outside of the post.
Cables could consider themselves lucky not to concede a penalty in the 39th minute, when skipper James McCulloch was adjudged to have fouled a home striker just outside the area.
Warrington however could not break Cables down as Ben Barnes and his defence fought, battled and cleared everything that came into the danger area. It was a real team effort. This resilience paid off in the 44th minute when Cables took the lead.
After good hold up play from Klein-Davies, the ball was played into the feet of MJ Monaghan by Chris Almond who found himself in space at the edge of the area. Monaghan was able to eventually control the ball and lay it back to the onrushing Lenehan. He was able to pick his spot and curled a lovely low shot into the bottom of the Warrington net for a superb finish that gave Cables the lead at halftime.
The second half saw Warrington attempt to exert more pressure on the Cables defence and were nearly gifted a goal as early as the 48th minute when James Cooper miskicked a back pass to Ben Barnes allowing Josh Amis in on goal. Barnes was down quick to gather the ball and settle any early second half nerves.
Warrington continued to press but with no real end product. Barnes called into making regulation saves in the 58th and 59th minute from both opposition strikers.
Still the back four stood firm. Louis Coyne was particularly excellent in dealing with the physical presence of the Warrington forwards. James McCulloch used all his experience and read the game well, clearing everything that came his way.
It wasn’t one-way traffic. James Edgar drove through the heart of the Warrington half, passing three or four yellow shirts in the process as he looked to get Cables up the pitch, only for Klein Davies to be narrowly ruled offside as he played the ball into the box. James Cooper was also starting to link up well with substitute Jordan Southworth down the right hand side as Cables sought to escape their own half and exert pressure of their own.
It was from the right that Cables nearly doubled their lead in the 77th minute. Southworh was able to lay the ball off to Monaghan, who slipped the ball into James Edgar inside the box. His cross-shot was cleared off the line by a covering defender. Things were getting tense.
The last ten minutes saw Cables dig in and battle hard to restrict Warrington to as few opportunities as possible. Monaghan lead the resistance from the front against his former club and produced some excellent tackles and interceptions to disrupt the home sides play. In truth, Ben Barnes was rarely called into action as to a man, the defence battled hard and continued to keep Warrington out. Nails were now bitten down to the bone.
The home side did almost force a replay in the dying seconds as they hit the post from a free kick and then a shot was fired narrowly wide of Ben Barnes’ left hand side. However, Cables held on and, if truth be told, more than deserved their victory. As one Warrington Town fan remarked after the game “your team area tight knit bunch, you can see how much they work for each other”, an excellent observation on the day’s play and a worthy compliment from humble opponents.