Warrington 23 Birkenhead Park 31

BIRKENHEAD Park returned to winning ways in an entertaining North 1 West contest at Warrington.

Park overcame adversity as they lost hooker Danny Atherton in the warm up and then prop Gareth Jones a few minutes into the game with a rib injury.

Martin O'Keefe was not originally part of the match squad but he joined the bench following Atherton's mishap and found himself on the pitch almost immediately due to the Jones injury.

Park were already giving a debut to recent arrival Jack Mason at tight head prop and so did well to re-organise after the early set backs.

Park also selected Tom Dempsey at stand off with Simon Mason on the bench and there was a welcome return for long term absentee Ollie Mabbot who came on in the second half for his 100th appearance.

Luke Gilooly kicked an early penalty for Warrington which was cancelled out by Dave Hall after eight minutes.

Great handling by the Park backs put winger Sam Tyrer clear for the first try after 18 minutes but Tom Arnold replied for Warrington with Gilooly's conversion edging the hosts two points ahead.

Tyrer grabbed his second try when he joined the back of a driving maul following a five phase attack by Park.

Dave Hall then kicked a penalty in first half injury time to give Park a 16-10 advantage.

Warrington recaptured the lead when winger Arnold went in for his second try converted by Gilooly who then added a penalty.

Flanker Sean Mooney put Park ahead again with an unconverted try from a five-metre line out as Birkenhead put the pressure on.

A few minutes later the ball was recycled following another line out drive and centre Gaz Coy broke through for a crucial try with Hall's conversion putting Park two scores ahead with just ten minutes left.

Gilooly immediately put WarriWarrington back in striking distance with his third penalty but Park closed the game down well and substitute Mason kicked an injury-time penalty which cruelly deprived Warrington of a bonus point.

For Park Mooney enjoyed a productive afternoon in the pack with wing Sam Tyrer the pick of the backs.

Park spokesman George Pollock said: "We were pleased to get our promotion prospects back on track but it was a close call and a great contest.

"We did well considering the early injuries and our front row resources are now being severely tested."

This Saturday Park, who are the holders, travel to Crewe & Nantwich in the Cheshire Vase semi final which is a repeat of last year's final.