Early Pitmen goals thwart Reds effort
Reds continue to be consistently inconsistent and were left to rue another poor start, with the visitors effectively securing the points inside the opening eight minutes.
Manager David Hewson had stressed the importance of a good, positive opening but that message clearly didn’t register.
Take out the two instances of comical defending, which produced the gift-wrapped goals, and you’re left with a battling goalless draw over eighty plus minutes. A hypothetical theory that could be applied to any game, of course, but giving the opposition an early incentive in the game is becoming a regular trait.
With just two minutes on the clock, dozens of supporters were discarding their golden goal tickets as Hednesford opened the scoring. Kyle May had clipped the heels of Tony Clarke who was through on goal and a free kick and a yellow card was administered.
Dead-ball expert, Tom Thorley, sent the ball goal-wards but saw his effort rebound of the metalwork and the only player to react was Jamie Sheldon who headed home from close range.
Before Reds could plan any sort of recovery mission, they were two down and staring down the barrel. A forty yard diagonal pass was about to test Jake Simpson’s resolve against quick winger David McDermott, one of four recruits made by Town in the last week. Simpson slipped, allowing McDermott a free run into the area culminating in a debut goal.
And we could all have gone home there and then. Hednesford had done what they had to do and Reds lacked the guile to do anything about it.
To be fair, the hosts did try to salvage something and there was certainly effort and commitment throughout, albeit in vain.
Indeed, the better chances fell to the opposition and it could have been considerably worse by the interval had May and Aaran Taylor not scrambled the ball off the line before the latter made a fine save to thwart Clarke.
Elliot Newby, twice, Josh Calvert and James Earl all sent shots over the bar as Reds had a good, but not convincing, spell up to half time.
Dan Crane’s first real save of note came after the break when he leapt to his right to push away a decent Joe McGee effort at the expense of a corner.
Newby was providing some decent service from the left but, time and again, there was no end product. And when Reds did get in a rare cross from the right, Scott Allison’s volley, via Simpson’s assist, sailed over the bar.
Workington appeared to have a consolation goal to cheer when they were awarded a late penalty following Dan Brenan’s foul on Allison. But, for the fifth time this season, Reds squandered the opportunity when Crane saved Newby’s less than convincing spot-kick, to complete a frustrating afternoon for players and spectators alike.
The defeat leaves Reds in 9th position with much work to do if they are to reach the play-offs for a third consecutive season.
Workington Taylor, Simpson, Rowntree (Waterston, 88), May, Douglas, Earl (Wright, 73), McGee, Calvert, Ryan (Symington, 60), Allison, Newby. Substitutes – Henderson, Fowler (not used).
Hednesford Town Crane, Rowley, Flanagan, Thorley, Caines, Brenan, Matthews (Leek, 60), Sheldon, Clarke, Sammons, McDermott (Shearer, 81). Substitutes – Dunkley, Forsyth, Hutton (not used).
Referee Chris Keightley, Middlesbrough
Bookings: May, Wright (Workington), Clarke (Hednesford Town)