League leaders Workington held on to their narrow lead at the top of BetVictor North West, doing what they had to do at a stormy Sovereign Play Stadium.
And it was a very efficient performance from Danny Grainger’s against a Colne outfit beset by injuries.
It left the manager delighted with a crucial victory and, yes, reference was made to the appalling weather in his post match assessment.
“Obviously, when you are playing in conditions like we did and you get through the hardest part, which is playing against the wind and rain, and you reach half time one nil up you have a great chance of getting a result,” before adding, “I thought the boys were fantastic – the composure they showed on the ball, the way they moved the ball and the chances they created against a good Colne team was very pleasing.”
Chances, though, were few and far between in an evenly fought first half as both Reds (Colne share the same nickname) battled for supremacy.
And the turning point came in the thirty ninth minute when home ‘keeper Hakan Burton and Scott Allison contested a ball towards the corner flag and the former was forced into conceding a corner. Both players had a little push at each other, collecting the game’s only two yellow cards, but Burton’s punishment was compounded from the set piece.
Conor Tinnion delivered into the area, Charlie Bowman got the flick-on and Brad Carroll celebrated his birthday by bundling the ball home at the far post. After some of the goals they have netted recently it couldn’t be described as a classic but, in the grand scheme of things, an important breakthrough.
And surviving a Colne attack just before the interval when Eli Hay’s shot on the turn narrowly evaded Jim Atkinson’s net put the Cumbrian Reds in the driving seat.
When the players resumed for the second half, the weather had deteriorated leaving the hosts playing up the hill and facing a gale force wind and horizontal rain. And conceding a second goal within a minute of the restart made their task even more difficult.
Brad Hubbold gathered the ball wide on the left with his low cross into the area picking out Allison, and the in-form striker netted for the seventh successive league game with a crisp finish which left Burton helpless.
A third goal just after the hour mark made sure of the points and involved two of Reds’ substitutes. Jordan Little despatched a forty yard diagonal pass deep into Colne territory and home skipper, Alex Coleman, headed the clearance into Nathan Waterston’s path leaving the striker with the simple task of guiding the ball into the vacant net.
New signing Cole Lonsdale was introduced to the fray and he saw a free-kick tipped over the bar by Burton before setting Waterston clear with a defence-splitting assist. The latter dragged his shot wide prompting a late surge from the hosts in search of a consolation goal.
But yellow-shirted Workington were equally keen to keep a clean sheet and epitomised by Liam Brockbank’s brave headed clearance which resulted in him colliding with the upright.
Brad Lynch forced Atkinson into a late save before the referee brought a premature halt to proceedings without the customary ‘time-added on’.
Colne: Burton, Hollins, Poscha, Coleman, Makinson (Knox, 52), Coveney, Wilson-Heyes (Lynch, 69), Brownsword, Hey, Hasler-Cregg, Chippendale. Substitutes – Azam, Hughes (not used).
Workington: Atkinson, Hebson, Brockbank, Wordsworth, Smith (Little, 57), Casson, Hubbold, Carroll, Allison (Waterston, 61), Bowman, Tinnion (Lonsdale, 65). Substitutes – Symington, Grainger (not used).
Referee: Barry Lamb, Manchester
Bookings: Burton (Colne), Allison (Workington)