Farewell to 2018
By Paul Armstrong
Farewell to 2018 which for Reds and their supporters has been a punishing year we quickly want to forget.
Although there was no shame attached to this latest defeat against the potential champions, the statistics don’t lie and a dramatic turnaround is required in the first four months of the New Year to avert the real threat of relegation.
Patched-up Workington actually gave a good account of themselves against a powerful Shields outfit only to be done by three second half goals which may be filed in the ‘jammy’ category.
Already trailing to a twelfth minute strike from Lee Mason, and Reds’ defending was poor on that occasion, the second half goals emphasised that the top teams certainly don’t need a helping hand in that facet of the game.
We have to work for every goal we get but too many of those conceded have a slap-stick look about them.
The second, doubling Shields lead in the fifty-seventh minute, came via a soft free kick. Nathan Lowe was in charge of the set piece and the shot was certainly on target until deflecting off Jordan Holt and wrong-footing Aaran Taylor.
Then we had another dubious penalty awarded against us after sixty eight minutes, Josh Calvert adjudged to have tripped the lively David Foley, when the referee made one of his rare mistakes of the afternoon by pointing to the spot. Robert Briggs confidently converted.
And the fourth twelve minutes from time was just bizarre. Niall Cowperthwaite’s ballooned clearance looped back towards his own-goal and Taylor opted not to catch the ball. It bounced awkwardly when he tried to control it with his feet and the alert Josh Gillies dispossessed him and converted.
Reds’ moments in comparison were snatched-at, near-miss opportunities although Sheldon Mossop did find the back of the net only to be ruled offside and Sean Paterson squandered a golden opportunity when he placed the ball wide when clean through.
But the consolation goal five minutes from time was worth waiting for with Conor Tinnion, a rival for Foley as man-of-the-match, weaving his way in from the right flank and shooting from the edge of the box leaving Liam Connell helpless.
Shields almost grabbed a fifth just before the end when Gary Brown’s shot rattled the crossbar
Lee Andrews was full of praise for his threadbare squad, seven of whom were unavailable for one reason or another, and said, “The score flatters them and after scoring first and enjoying plenty of possession, they didn’t create too much and there wasn’t a lot in it. We made a tactical switch at half time, started the second period well but the deflected free kick has taken the wind out of our sails.”
It was unlikely Workington were going to dent The Mariners 100% home record which makes the opening two fixtures of 2019, both winnable, even more crucial.
South Shields Connell, Baxter, Lough, Shaw (Brown, 74), Morse, Turnbull (Guy, 74), Foley, Briggs, Mason, Finnigan (Gillies, 68), Lowe. Substitute – Adams (not used).
Workington Taylor, Cowperthwaite, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Calvert, Paterson, Holt, Maguire (Hubbold, 46), Allison, Joel (Mossop, 73), Tinnion. Substitute – Harker (not used).
Referee Martin Conroy, Durham