Dabbers victory maintains their course for a play-off berth
By Paul Armstrong
Another woeful performance on home soil, another nail in the relegation coffin and still Reds live to fight another day.
It is quite incredible relegation could still be avoided despite Reds going down to a painful, twentieth defeat of a disastrous season but, on the evidence of this abject showing, that is highly unlikely.
We all recognised that overcoming a decent Nantwich Town outfit was a long shot but the very least the supporters deserved was a performance. Yet this was so far removed from the level required, it was embarrassing.
No structure, no cohesion and players repeatedly making the wrong decision made this an afternoon of pure misery for the loyal support. How ironic that some of the best attendances of the season have been recorded during a sequence of home games producing seven defeats in eight outings.
Town’s first ever win in west Cumbria kept the Cheshire outfit on course for a play-off berth but left Lee Andrews side adrift at the foot of the revised Evo-Stik Premier Division table.
It is now down to the ‘last chance saloon’ meeting with Mickleover Sports on Tuesday. Lose that and there won’t be an ounce of confidence left to fight the fight.
The Dabbers were in front with a well-taken goal after eight minutes but from a Workington perspective it was a poor one to concede. The outstanding Sean Cooke sent over a cross to the far post, Callum Saunders headed the ball back into the danger area and Danny Glover hammered the ball into the Town End net. All three players did what they had to do but the lack of a defensive challenge, on three occasions, made their task quite simple.
Those three players contributed so much to Nantwich’s victory on an afternoon when not one red shirt won the individual battle against an opponent in yellow.
Yet Reds responded well and were level within a minute. Jason Walker had been loitering in the Nantwich half but looked suspiciously offside when the ball was played forward. But assistant referee Thomas Wilson kept his flag by his side and Walker lobbed the ball over the stranded Lloyd Allinson.
There was a good chance soon after when Matty Douglas headed over the bar via Niall Cowperthwaite’s corner but Town were the dominant force thereafter.
They were back in front after eighteen minutes, this time via the penalty spot. Gari Rowntree had a little kick at Jamie Morgan and the referee was on hand to penalise the Reds’ skipper. Cooke did the rest, thumping the ball past Taylor.
Again Reds threatened a comeback but both Cowperthwaite and Walker failed to hit the target from efforts just inside the box.
Saunders almost made it 3-1 in the second half but saw his low shot evade Taylor only to rebound off the foot of the upright.
But the young striker, watched by proud dad, Dean, was involved in the build-up to a second penalty. Dan Wordsworth needlessly fouled the young striker and the referee had no alternative other than to award the visitors another spot-kick. Cooke subsequently converted.
The referee then awarded a third penalty of the game in the seventy-ninth minute, this time in Workington’s favour. Walker was adjudged to
have been fouled and the returning Scott Allison confidently demanded the ball before placing it past keeper Lloyd Allinson.
Nantwich had opportunities to put the game to bed, there was one almighty scramble in the six-yard box and Taylor saved well to thwart Saunders, but a looping Cowperthwaite shot almost gave Reds an unlikely equaliser.
But instead of getting the ball towards the Nantwich goal in the last minute, Reds opted to put their own ‘keeper, Taylor, under pressure with a mishit back-pass on the bumpy surface. Taylor miscued and the ball fell conveniently to Saunders who got the goal he deserved, albeit in bizarre circumstances.
It left the respective managers in contrasting moods after the game, relief from Town’s Dave Cooke but sheer frustration from Lee Andrews.
“We needed that result,” was Cooke’s take on matters while Andrews faced up to yet another failure on home soil, “After the highs of Whitby last week we have gone from an excellent team performance – nice and solid, compact and looking dangerous going forward – to the one we produced today which was well below par.”
Workington Taylor, Douglas, Rowntree (Holt, 75), Calvert, Smith (Wordsworth, 66), Carroll, Symington, Cowperthwaite, Walker, Thompson (Allison S, 59), Tinnion. Substitutes – Joel, Brotherston (not used).
Nantwich Town Allinson L, Morgan, Barnes (Mwasile, 88), Stair, Mullarkey, Hughes, Bourne, Lawrie, Glover, Cooke S (Bell, 88), Saunders. Substitutes – Cotterell, McDonald, Hawkins (not used).
Referee Stephen Dial, Gateshead
Bookings: Tinnion (Workington), Barnes, Glover (Nantwich Town)