Twelve months ago, there was a lot of self pity and dark clouds hanging over Borough Park after a disappointing relegation campaign but morale has been restored after a superb rehabilitation, albeit as a Step 4 club.
We were on course to regain the NPL Premier Division status we so meekly surrendered until a world-wide pandemic intervened and football, like everything else, was dramatically shelved.
But Danny Grainger, Steven Rudd, the players and staff have brought smiles back to Workington supporters’ faces by restoring pride after an outstanding 2019-20 season.
Danny was appointed manager before the dust had settled on the previous term and quickly started working on his first managerial role.
A positive pre-season was carried forward into the friendlies and one sensed almost immediately that Reds were ‘back on track’.
Although the opening day win over Pickering Town was a nervous affair, for manager and players alike, Reds obtained the three points and, from that moment, never looked back.
We led the NPL North West Division from 17 August until a below par showing on 25 January at Ramsbottom United cost us top spot. After languishing in second place for just over three weeks, we returned to the summit on 18 February and had established a ten point lead when the season came to an abrupt halt in mid-March.
Danny used thirty nine players over the season, thirty one of whom featured in the league. He gave debuts to twenty three players, including himself, and saw Ceiran Casson, Owen Durham, Millenic Alli and Mwiya Malumo mark their first outing with a goal.
Ceiran Casson made it a treble celebration on the opening Saturday – his league debut, his first goal in senior football and his 18th birthday all coincided to make it a special day. We won’t mention the fact that he also collected our first yellow card of the season!
The talented teenager was an ever-present, starting all thirty one of our league matches. Brad Hubbold was on duty in 42 of our 43 games including all our league games albeit a number via the bench.
Dan Wordsworth (38) started more matches than any other player and won the Player of the Month award twice (August and January) with the other recipients Ceiran Casson (September), Conor Tinnion (October), Brad Hubbold (November), Scott Allison (December) and Brad Carroll (February).
Two players had joined the club on loan with Taylor Charters (Carlisle United) and Millenic Alli (South Shields) helping the cause.
Conor Tinnion skippered the side on thirty occasions (20 wins, 6 draws and 4 defeats) with Brad Carroll deputising in nine matches (7 wins, two defeats), Luke Ivison wearing the armband three times (3 wins) and Gari Rowntree leading the team out in his final appearance (1 win).
Three goalkeepers were used over the course of the season namely Jim Atkinson (16 clean sheets), Ally Mitchell (3 clean sheets) and Lewis Casson.
Twenty one players, plus one opponent, shared the 108 goals we scored in the League (77), FA Trophy (8), Integro League Cup (10) and Cumberland Cup (13) with Scott Allison ending as top scorer (23) followed by Nathan Waterston (20) and Dav Symington (12).
Six hat-tricks were recorded with Nathan Waterston (v. Kendal Town in the League Cup and two in the Cumberland Cup v. Moor Row and Keswick), Scott Allison (two in the League v. Pickering Town and Clitheroe) and Brad Carroll (one in the League v. Kendal Town) all claiming a match ball.
We were awarded five penalties during the season with Scott Allison converting all five.
Reds conceded three penalties and only one of those (Newcastle Benfield) was converted. The other two were in the Cumberland Cup match v. Windscale, one of which was saved by Lewis Casson and the other missed the target.
Discipline was much improved, recognised by a monthly Fair Play award, and only Gari Rowntree, Sam Smith and Lewis Casson saw red. Fifty one yellow cards were administered with Brad Carroll (8), Dan Wordsworth (8), Ceiran Casson (6), Dav Symington (5) and Nathan Waterston (5) the chief miscreants.
The team recorded League doubles against: Pickering Town (4-1, 4-1), Kendal Town (5-0, 6-0), Tadcaster Albion (2-0, 4-2), Ossett United (2-0, 4-2) and Prescot Cables (4-0, 2-0) and, with the aid of a cup win, converted the doubles against Kendal, Tadcaster and Ossett into trebles.
Reds have never gone through a complete league season and remained unbeaten but, after sixteen home games, their record was won 13, drew 3, lost 0.
In addition to being top of the league when the season was suspended, Reds were still in the Integro League Cup (quarter final) and Cumberland Cup (semi-final). They won the NPL Club of the Month award for December and February.
Aggregate attendance for the sixteen home games was 7,762 with a high of 673 (Dunston) and a low of 309 (Prescot Cables) producing an average of 485. The aggregate for the fifteen away matches was 5,075 with a high of 622 (Ramsbottom United) and a low of 156 (Droylsden) producing an average of 338. Eight cup matches boosted the overall home attendance to 9,524 with the four cup games on the road boosting the aggregate figure to 5,844.