Frustrating afternoon for the Reds
By Paul Armstrong
Jason Walker’s dismissal for alleged use of the elbow compounded a frustrating afternoon for Reds.
They were already heading towards a second defeat of the season when referee Darren Rogers issued a red card to Reds’ top scorer after an 85th minute coming together with Celtic defender, Michael Clarke.
There was certainly contact and the man in the middle was well positioned to see the incident and was quick on the draw with the card.
David Hewson discounted a knee injury to Sam Smith or Walker’s dismissal as contributing factors to the defeat, blaming instead a collective failure to score when dominating long periods of the game.
After an even first half, Reds were well in control for the opening twenty minutes of the second period but, that said, couldn’t make territorial advantage count.
Often the final pass or touch let them down but Celtic ‘keeper, Jake Turner, confidently caught a Brad Hubbold shot and then dived full length to his left to push away a Niall Cowperthwaite shot.
Had either of those efforts bulged the net, it might have been different.
But they were shown how to find the target with Celtic’s substitute Neil Kengni doing just that, against the run of play, with a well taken 68th minute winner.
He skipped away from Gari Rowntree and Matty Douglas and confidently placed the ball beyond Aaran Taylor for a fine debut goal.
Douglas had a lucky escape soon after when the ball hit his arm only for the loud appeals for a penalty to be ignored.
Reds were never the same after that, Kengni’s goal clearly deflating a previously buoyant performance.
The debutant was denied a second goal by a smart Taylor save just before the end.
Liam Tongue was off target with two first half efforts for the hosts and Scott Bakkor volleyed narrowly wide via a corner.
Sam Joel saw one effort clear the bar and another blocked in the first half while Max Brown’s shot lacked the power to trouble Turner.
Joint boss, David Hewson, praised the performances of Hubbold and Cowperthwaite who dominated the midfield area but said, “Collectively, we haven’t done enough to win and the players know that was three points dropped.”
Stalybridge Celtic Turner, Tongue, Wilson, Brown T, Brady, Clarke, Wilkinson (Kengni, 55), Akrigg, Bakkor, Marsden, Flint (Dent, 27). Substitutes – Spooner, Maieco, Rigby (not used).
Workington Taylor, Douglas, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Smith (Maguire, 34), Mellen, Hubbold, Cowperthwaite, Walker, Brown (Mossop, 69), Joel. Substitutes – Miller, Harker, Casson (not used).
Referee Darren Rogers
Bookings: Tongue, Kengni, Dent (Stalybridge Celtic), Douglas, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Brown, Maguire (Workington).
Red card: Walker (Workington)