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Warrington Town 2-1 Kendal Town
With the race for automatic promotion intensifying, top-scorer Ciaran Kilheeney proved the match-winner as title-chasing Warrington Town secured three vital points against Kendal Town at Cantilever Park.
The former Southport forward did the damage early in the second period after Maison McGeechan cancelled out Aaron Bowen’s opener for the home side.
Dave Foster made one change to the Mintcakes’ line-up which started against Darlington 1883 the previous week, with Mike Rushton coming in for Colin Watson.
Warrington are a club with lofty ambitions and a board prepared to back their manager Shaun Reid in the transfer market and in terms of player recruitment.
The Wire are currently top of the pile in Evo-Stik League Division One North although a cluster of clubs including Curzon Ashton and in-form Darlington are hot on their heels.
Scott Metcalfe dragged an early left-footed shot wide on the post before Bowen – who started the season with Skrill Conference North side Barrow AFC – opened the scoring in the 12th minute.
Getting the nod ahead of Ben Wharton, the 22-year-old surged down the left before cutting inside and curling a right-footed effort past Kendal keeper Danny MacDonald and inside the far post.
The lead was only short-lived as McGeechan restored parity six minutes later – with the former England under-17 international taking his tally for the season to 13.
McGeechan rifled a low half-volley through a ruck of players and beyond Fleetwood loanee Josh Ollerenshaw in the Warrington goal following a Danny Coid corner.
In a game of few openings, neither side was able to create anything further in terms of clear-cut chances in the remainder of the half as the scores were level at the break.
Warrington regained the lead five minutes after the restart through the prolific Kilheeney who started out as a Manchester City trainee before a stint with Football League club Exeter City.
Following a succession of corners, the 30-year-old – a hat-trick hero last time out against Padiham – converted a low David Mannix set-piece at the near post for his sixth goal in three matches.
After Wharton released Richard Wright down the right flank, Bowen had the opportunity to settle matters on the hour-mark only for his downward header to be blocked close to the line.
Only Darlington have a better defensive record this season than Warrington, with their miserly backline conceding just 27 goals in 29 matches.
And Kendal were unable to unlock the home side’s defence too many times in the latter stages as they searched in vain for equaliser.
The closest the visitors came was through their talisman Danny Mitchley – without a goal so far in 2014 – after his first-time shot struck the woodwork.
In the end Warrington held out for another priceless win in their quest for the title, with two showdowns against Curzon Ashton likely to go some way to deciding their fate.
As for Kendal, with a total of 11, only four teams – Clitheroe, Prescot Cables, Radcliffe Borough and Ossett Albion – have accumulated fewer points on the road this season.
It will therefore come as some relief to all at Parkside Road that half their remaining 12 fixtures are at home, starting with Saturday’s clash against Padiham.
Warrington Town: Josh Ollerenshaw, Richard Anane, Louis Corrigan, Carlos Meakin, John McKenna, Craig Robinson, Richard Wright, David Mannix, Aaron Bowen (Ashley Ruane), Ciaran Kilheeney (Ben harton), Scott Metcalfe. Subs not used: Liam Dawson, Phil Davies, James McCarten
Kendal Town: Danny MacDonald, John Ross, Jack Smith, Warren Beattie, Will Bell, Kevin Brown, Ricky Mercer (Rob Wilson), Danny Coid, Danny Mitchley, Maison McGeechan, Mike Rushton. Subs not used: Lewis Finney, Callum Hoctor, Oli Mathieson, Colin Watson.