Reds blast their way into the play-offs
Was it the fact that Reds were clearly up for the challenge or more a case of Buxton already enjoying their close-season break?
Perhaps a bit of both, but not many teams in Evo-Stik Premier would have survived this stunning opening half hour salvo by the homeside, let alone mid-table Buxton.
It provided contrasting emotions for the respective managers, Derek Townsley and Martin McIntosh, who became friends during their time as team mates at Hibernian. Townsley got exactly what he wanted from his side but McIntosh was probably pleased when the team coach pulled away from Borough Park after an afternoon best forgotten.
Reds best win of the season, coupled with Stourbridge’s loss against Salford City, secured the final play-off berth, a situation that looked unlikely a fortnight earlier. They suffered back-to-back defeats against Frickley and Nantwich and appeared to have blown their chances. But three wins in eight days got them back on track and extends their season for one more game, at least.
Not sure who wrote the script for this one, but it could have been Kyle May himself. Afforded a guard of honour by both teams as he took to the field, Reds’ record appearance holder powered home a fine header with just four minutes on the clock.
That settled any pre-match nerves, if indeed, there were any. Less than twenty minutes later, the host were four goals to the good and one half of the equation sorted. At that point, Stourbridge were being held (1-1) by Salford City and that score line wouldn’t have been good enough for the West Midlands club. They eventually lost by the odd goal in three so Reds joined Blyth Spartans, Salford City and Ashton United in the end of season lottery.
Buxton hardly had time to recover from May’s opening goal before goalkeeper, Myles Wright, was retrieving the ball from his net a second time. Gareth Arnison swept home his first goal for three months with a fine finish to make it 2-0 with Buxton already sensing a long, painful afternoon.
Conor Tinnion, like Arnison, has endured a goal drought too but the pair combined to fashion Reds’ third after eleven minutes. Arnison’s perfectly weighted assist released Tinnion who elected to shoot first time, with the ball finding a route into the far corner of the net leaving Wright helpless.
Three quality goals, but the best was still to come. Rob Wilson hadn’t found the target in Workington colours but opened his account with a stunning half volley, from fully twenty five yards, and it was game, set and match after only twenty three minutes.
There was an ironic ripple of applause when Ally Mitchell comfortably gathered a Joel Bembo-Leta header, as the visitors put together their first notable attack after half an hour’s play.
Buxton restored some pride in the second half but the likes of George Grayson, Alastair Taylor and Ash Worsfold toiled in vain.
They rarely looked like scoring, though, and a Spencer Harris header, which cleared the bar, was the nearest they came to grabbing a consolation goal.
Reds’ top scorer, Scott Allison, hardly had a chance to add to his impressive tally but a foul on him by Bembo-Leta lead to the fifth goal of the afternoon. Tinnion’s low shot from the subsequent free kick found the net and Reds, once again, were celebrating success against Derbyshire opposition.
Workington: Mitchell, Simpson, Smith, May, Calvert (Hammell, 76), Wright (Tymon, 72), McGee, Wilson, Allison, Arnison (Hebson, 60), Tinnion. Substitutes – Studholme, Jamieson (not used).
Buxton: Wright, Wiles, Harris, Ravenhill, Bembo-Leta J, Young, Walker, Taylor, Barraclough, Worsfold, Doran (Grayson, 29). Substitutes – Salt, Ryan (not used).
Referee: Chris Isherwood, Leyland
Booking: Harris (Buxton)