A performance which delivered so many positives earned Workington a much needed three points as they put an emphatic end to a six-match winless sequence. And they were good value for the three points against fellow strugglers, Basford, completing a first league double of the season in the process.
Reds’ squad of unfamiliar names actually looked like a team as this mixture of veterans, loan signings and new recruits produced a cohesive display which saw them dominate much of the game.
In terms of chances created, there were many. In terms of chances conceded, they restricted the hosts to very few and the fact that home ‘keeper, Kieran Preston, emerged as the sponsors man of the match tells you all you need to know.
It left Danny Grainger in a buoyant mood as he reflected on a first clean sheet since the opening day of the season, three wonderful assists, three excellent goals, positive contributions from the fourteen players who got on to the pitch, three welcome points which improved what had become a worrying league position and, most significantly, no further injuries.
Once again, the manager had to shuffle his starting XI with former Marske United defender, Camron Gbadebo, becoming the 31st different player to feature on the team sheet this season. And it was an impressive debut from the new recruit and celebrated at the end with a hug from his new manager.
The latest version of a Workington back four dovetailed so well Jim Atkinson’s only real save of note came late in the game. He made a point-blank stop and Gbadebo eventually cleared the ball off the line to keep out opponents who have pieced together a good sequence of results recently.
Workington thought they had gone in front after thirty-two minutes but Scott Allison’s well finished goal was disallowed after the assistant referee flagged for a marginal offside decision.
But, three minutes later, they were ahead thanks to a well worked set piece routine. Conor Tinnion’s short corner found Kitt Nelson and, with defenders adjusting to a delivery from a different angle, the youngster’s cross to the far post was emphatically headed home by the inform Steven Rigg for his seventh goal of the season.
Preston then made an important save to thwart David Symington.
The second goal came less than two minutes after the restart with innovative brilliance from an audacious Atkinson assist. Symington was lurking between the Basford back four and Preston, completely unmarked and some thirty yards from goal. Atkinson’s goal kick found Symington with pin-point accuracy and, before Basford realised what was happening, they were two goals down with a bemused goalkeeper left to retrieve the ball from his net.
Symington then thundered a great shot goalwards from forty yards out and Preston, diving to his left, saved well to prevent a third goal as Reds continued to dominate.
That third goal should have arrived with twenty minutes remaining but the Workington penalty hoodoo struck again. Mason Frizelle wrestled Rigg to the ground and the referee had no other option other than to award the spot-kick. Tinnion resumed duties, in Jamie Devitt’s absence, but his well struck shot was just the right height for Preston who pushed the ball away to safety.
Workington did score a third with another Symington wonder goal five minutes from time. Creator on this occasion was Ceiran Casson whose assist found Symington, in space once again. A sublime first touch from the talismanic number 7 was bettered with a wonderful finish from Reds’ top scorer – all in one swift, delightful movement.
A moment of brilliance to savour.
He was denied what would have been a deserved hat-trick when Preston thwarted him late in the day although the overworked ‘keeper could only watch as Nelson thumped another shot against his right-hand post.
Basford’s late flurry in search of a consolation goal was too little, too late as they had already accepted it wasn’t their day.
Basford United: Preston, Roma, Barnes, Lewis (Wakefield C, 47), Frizelle, Ritzema, McDonald (Goddard, 81), Thomas, Campbell, Hallam, Litchfield (Wakefield H, 61). Substitutes – Alexander, Holmes (not used).
Workington: Atkinson, Wallbank, Bunney, Gbadebo, Brookwell, Hubbold (Francis, 83), Symington, Nelson, Rigg (McCaragher, 73), Allison (Casson, 61), Tinnion. Substitutes – Moore L, Eccles (not used).
Referee: Haydn Lavender, Shepshed
Bookings: Roma, Barnes, Frizelle (Basford United), Symington (Workington)