Celtic win after Devine intervention
By Paul Armstrong
Cleator Moor Celtic 1 Workington 1
(Celtic won 5-3 on penalties)
Workington’s hold on the Cumberland Cup came to a disappointing end with a meek surrender at McGrath Park. Reds’ thirteen match unbeaten run in the competition ended as jubilant Celtic reached their first final for nineteen years.
Lacking in passion, commitment and desire – three qualities the Wearside League leaders had in abundance – a makeshift Workington held the lead for seventy five minutes yet never had the belief they could complete the job.
The fact that they stayed in the game for so long, was more to do with Celtic, out of sorts by their own standards, struggling to get going for the first hour. But they dominated the second half and, after both teams agreed to dispense with extra time, deservedly won the penalty shoot-out, converting five of the best.
And it was left to Craig Devine to save Sam Smith’s spot-kick to reward Celtic with a Brunton Park appearance early next month and a date with Penrith.
Reds went in front after three minutes when a lucky ricochet favoured them in the box. Max Brown did well on the right and sent in a low cross which cannoned back off a Celtic defender and deflected into Devine’s net by Jamie Pattinson, who didn’t know much about his goal if truth be told.
Pattinson sent another effort wide of the upright but scoring opportunities were scarce at either end.
Celtic’s attacking forays had been nipped in the bud by some competent defending but a strong wind didn’t help matters.
Brad Tatton had their first effort of note but dragged his shot well wide then Kieran Maguire went ever so close on two occasions. His first was superbly saved by Aaran Taylor and the second cleared off the line by David Symington.
Taylor was involved soon after the restart, smothering Callum Birdsall’s header via a Maguire assist.
Pattinson, released by Cam Carter at the other end, should have scored the second goal Reds needed but his shot got past Devine but drifted a yard wide of the upright.
Reds squandered two further chances although Symington’s thirty yard free kick skimmed the crossbar, but Jordan Holt missed the target altogether soon after. And a Matty Douglas header, which also went wide, was the signal for Celtic to press for an equaliser.
It came in the eightieth minute after Workington failed to clear one of several corners the Green & Whites forced. Craig Corkhill had put in a steady shift at the back for Stuart Green’s side, and netted a deserved leveller with a low shot which found a route through a crowded goal mouth.
Neither side threatened a winner in the time remaining so matters were decided via a penalty shoot out at the Birks Road end of the ground.
Celtic went first and Kieran Maguire converted in style to make it 1-0, Dav Symington netted with his to make it 1-1, Tom Mahone confidently converted to make it 2-1 but Sam Smith’s well struck effort was brilliantly saved by Devine – advantage Celtic.
Jordan Little blasted home his effort for a 3-1 lead, Matty Douglas, probably Reds’ best on the night, converted for 3-2, Darren Little continued the excellent work from the spot to make it 4-2 only for Jordan Holt to place his effort beyond the ‘keeper, 4-3.
It was all down to Stuart Shaw, a clever last minute substitution by the hosts, to blast home the decider and spark wild celebrations, keeping alive their dreams of a league and County Cup double. 5-3, and worthy winners.
Cleator Moor Celtic Devine, Charlton (Shaw, 90), Edwards, Tatton (Close, 61), Little J, Corkhill, Mahone, Rooney, Birdsall (Dunn, 48), Little D, Maguire. Substitutes – Barnes, Kelly (not used).
Workington Taylor, Symington, Harker (Smith, 53), Douglas, Hetherington, MacDonald (Holliday, 66), Brown, Carter, Pattinson, Holt, Mossop (Sinclair, 71). Substitute – Ousby (not used).
Referee Scott Taylor, Carlisle
Bookings: Mahone, Little J (Cleator Moor Celtic)