Cup football is still unfashionable it seems but, thankfully, the negative response at the turnstiles was outweighed by the positives provided by the team as Reds progressed to the quarter finals of the Integro League Cup.
Workington will now play South East Division outfit, Sheffield, in the last eight of a competition they have never won. Surely a first ever meeting against the world’s oldest club should attract a modicum of interest.
Danny Grainger named himself in a much changed side, handed Mwiya Malumo his full debut and was able to give a trio of talented teenagers valuable first team experience, via the bench, in the second half.
And whilst the likes of Matty Clarke, Sam Smith, Ceiran Casson, Brad Carroll, Dav Symington and Scott Allison were given the night off, Reds were still good enough to account for a plucky Ossett side, completing a treble over them in the process.
Add to that an excellent performance from Cole Lonsdale, who ran the show from midfield, prompting “a pleasing night all-round” response from assistant manager, Steven Rudd.
After Nathan Waterston had opened the scoring in the third minute, the sparse crowd may have been lulled into false expectation of being treated to another goal feast. Reds could, and should, have been comfortably ahead by the interval but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Scott Moloney kept Ossett in the game going into the second half.
It was a similar story after the break with more opportunities squandered and Rudd’s only criticism was that they need to be more clinical and convert a higher ratio of chances into goals.
Jim Atkinson was hardly troubled in keeping his fifteenth clean sheet of the campaign but two self inflicted errors didn’t lead to further embarrassment, thankfully. He twice lost possession to the lurking Tom Greaves but United were not able to capitalise.
The victory was secured late in the game when Dan Wordsworth got across James Knowles to send a looping header, via a cross from the left, over the stranded Moloney. Wordsworth saw an earlier headed rebound off an upright.
James Bell made his first team debut on the hour mark and impressed with his effective use of the ball and was subsequently joined by fellow seventeen year olds, Carl Lightfoot and Aidan Howarth.
So Reds continued the winning form of February into March and retain an interest in three competitions.
Workington: Atkinson J, Hebson, Brockbank, Wordsworth (Howarth, 80), Grainger, Lonsdale, Waterston, Hubbold, Malumo, Alli (Bell, 64), Tinnion (Lightfoot, 71). Substitutes – Atkinson H, Allison (not used).
Ossett United: Moloney, Gagan, Newall, Greenfield, Knowles, Stockdill (Greaves, 36), Clarkson, Harrison, Guest, Basic (Croft, 68), Haswell.
Referee: John Mulligan, Carlisle
Bookings: Hebson, Grainger, Malumo (Workington), Newall, Guest (Ossett United)