Set pieces tree undoing of the Reds
By Paul Armstrong
Workington slipped to their twenty second league defeat of a depressing season and avoiding relegation to Evo-Stik West is now out of their hands. Premier Division survival will depend on a helping hand from the two clubs immediately above them, Mickleov
“Yes it was a disastrous afternoon with two poor goals conceded and probably not enough fight and spirit going forward,” was a despondent Lee Andrews’ view on this latest setback.
“We are in a relegation dog-fight and have a squad of sixteen players who should be raring to go as the minimum requirement and maybe a few went missing today,” he said after Albion became the fifth side to complete a league double at Reds expense.
And, with South Shields, Gainsborough Trinity and Scarborough Athletic to play a second time, that embarrassing statistic could worsen.
Preparation wasn’t ideal for Andrews with captain, Gari Rowntree, a late withdrawal and a further defensive reshuffle required just twelve minutes into the game when Josh Calvert retired due to recurring hamstring problems.
The switch saw Dav Symington drop a bit deeper and four central midfield players employed in front of him. They seemed to lack cohesion and toiled under the warm Cheshire sun - no shortage of effort but a dearth of creativity.
It wasn’t ideal as Reds were already chasing the game after conceding an eighth minute opener. A long throw into the area caused the damage and although Reds defended the first ball well they were slow to react to the second and central defender, Ben Harrison, pushed forward for his heading prowess, scored with a hooked volley.
Mid-way through the half, Reds carved out a decent chance to equalise with Garry Thompson and Scott Allison playing a good one-two on the edge of the box before the latter’s shot forced Greg Hall into an important save.
Thompson was then booked following Reds’ next sortie forward after protesting to the referee for not awarding a penalty. Allison seemed to be impeded by Hall but the referee saw nothing untoward.
Allison was again thwarted by Hall at the start of the second half but a Tinnion free-kick was scuffed into the wall and the keeper’s services were not needed.
Albion almost doubled their lead when Rob Hopley broke through but Aaran Taylor, at full stretch, caught the attempted lob.
Dan Wordsworth’s clumsy tangle with Hopley soon after would prove significant, the free-kick could have gone either way but was awarded in Albion’s favour. River Humphreys’ diagonal ball towards the far post was met by Harrison and headed home with Reds, once again, undone by a set piece after sixty two minutes.
A second appeal for a Workington penalty, when Allison was felled from behind, was again ignored by the man in the middle and Jordan Holt got involved in a bit of pushing and shoving with Anthony Gardner in the afters. Both were booked.
Substitute, Dan Carmichael, was introduced to the fray with twenty minutes remaining and, although he didn’t make much of an impact, one cross hit the post only to rebound conveniently to an Albion defender.
The hosts almost grabbed a third goal four minutes from time when Hopley got on the end of Gardner’s long throw from the right. Fortunately, his header hit the crossbar and landed on the roof of the net.
Matty Douglas and Sam Smith were the pick of a jaded looking squad with Scott Allison’s gradual return to full match fitness most welcome.
Witton Albion Hall, Gardner, Offord, Wardle, Humphreys, Harrison, McKenna, Owens (Lingouba, 80), Hopley, Smart (Jones, 55), Foley (Doyle, 90). Substitutes – Egan, Neild (not used).
Workington Taylor, Douglas, Smith, Wordsworth, Calvert (Holt, 12), Carroll (Carmichael, 69), Symington, Cowperthwaite, Allison, Thompson (Walker, 72), Tinnion. Substitutes – Joel, Rowntree (not used).
Referee Neil Evans, Wirral
Bookings: Gardner (Witton Albion), Smith, Thompson, Holt, Symington (Workington)