Danny Grainger cut a disheartened figure after his side slid to a fourth defeat in six games as their promotion dream quickly dissolves.
“After the good work on Saturday, we have taken a step back and that performance has left me frustrated,” he said.
He was referring to a sloppy end to a first half which started so full of promise yet deteriorated as soon as Brig took the lead. They defended better after the break but the damage was done by then, and their finishing lacked that cutting-edge which other teams seem to possess.
Once again, Workington finished second best in the most important statistic of all – goals. They had more than their fare share of possession, got more crosses into the box, won several free-kicks (in promising positions) and corners and were Brig’s equals in the passing game yet shipped three soft goals to hand the initiative to Jamie Milligan’s re-shaped team.
Brig have probably exceeded all expectations, considering the players they have lost, but Reds find themselves in a rut – mainly down to the lack of belief in themselves.
We expect a bit of naivety at times, with many still learning the game of course, but some need to adapt quickly and take on a bit more responsibility at both ends of the pitch – young and senior players alike.
Grainger is not one for making excuses but the odds have been stacked against him since that amazing first day win, which probably masked quite a few deficiencies. No team can run match after match without picking up their quota of injuries, yet had Reds not lost Aidy Roxburgh, Bobby Carroll, Sam Smith, Finlay Wallbank and Lewis Reilly, at various stages, whilst trying to bubble-wrap Dan Wordsworth, Scott Allison and Conor Tinnion between matches their points return, I’m sure, would have been far healthier.
It isn’t though and this latest reverse was inflicted upon them after conceding three times in fifteen minutes.
Harry Scarborough got the first after twenty-five minutes when he broke clear in acres of space down the right and rolled the ball past Jim Atkinson as he advanced off his line.
And it was a case of ‘hara-kiri’ from a Reds perspective twelve minutes later when another Harry, Benns on this occasion, weaved his way between three red shirts to score from an acute angle after being allowed to cut-in from the left.
The third was via Adam Dodd’s thirty-ninth minute corner and appeared to be shinned into his own net from Steven Rigg when a clear call from somebody might have averted that particular calamity.
All the other features of the game became insignificant after that but worth mentioning Taylor Bowen. He led the line reasonably well for one so young, was twice thwarted by Brig goalkeeper, James Pradic, but his afternoon ended in agony when he sustained a hamstring injury and he was added to the ever-growing unavailable list.
The Preston side put forward several contenders for man-of-the-match and former Reds trialist, Michael Potts, was as good as anyone.
A few of our heroes stood up to the mark, and some didn’t reach their normal levels, but credit to Connor Hammell who has waited patiently to start his second spell with the club, and acquitted himself well in a late cameo as a substitute.
And a nod of appreciation to another performer destined for better things – referee, Jacob Graham, who was superb throughout.
Bamber Bridge: Pradic, Kempster-Down, Thompson, Sinclair, Dodd, Butterworth (Churchman, 76), Benns, Potts, Scarborough, Forbes (Cullen, 63), Edwards (Wilson, 63). Substitutes – Bayode, Spencer-McDermott (not used).
Workington: Atkinson, McCaragher, Bell, Rigg (Casson, 56), Smith, Wallbank, Symington, Hubbold, Bowen (Hammell, 62), Kofi Moore (Reilly, 56), Tinnion. Substitutes – Lewis Moore, Tait (not used).
Referee: Jacob Graham, Manchester
Booking: Smith (Workington)