Looking every inch a promotion winning side in October, Reds are anything but post lockdown and this was another mediocre display.
A number of players are out of form individually and the team effort is suffering as a consequence.
Yes, there are mitigating circumstances – injuries certainly a contributing factor and the stop/start nature of training and matches even more so.
Manager Danny Grainger was clearly angry in his post match briefing and he, too, is finding this weird season difficult to address.
“We didn’t deserve anything from that game,” he said, adding, “we were no way near our levels, slow, lethargic, off the pace and we think we have a divine right because we are a good football team that opponents are going to stand off and let us play nice football.
“But we have to do the ugly side first – win the challenges, run, work, graft and be better than the man you are up against and probably 90% of the squad didn’t do that.”
Grainger demands high standards from a talented squad and his post match rant was justified.
However, they should have still been celebrating a return to the top of the North West Division but the last kick of the game denied them the extra two points that would have taken them there.
Javelle Clarke, a livewire throughout, scrambled home the last gasp equaliser to reward a brave Brighouse performance which belied their lowly position in the table.
They had opened the scoring after twelve minutes with an unstoppable shot. Jack Boyle’s original free kick was charged down as the defensive wall stood firm but Danny Racchi latched on to the rebound to thump the ball into the top corner of the net.
Other than not conceding the original free kick, there was not a lot Reds could do about that wonder strike.
There was a response of sorts and Sam Smith saw a header cleared off the line and the follow-up shot from Brad Carroll was also cleared off the line. But Kurt Harris’ heroics saw him injured in making those spectacular clearances and the Brighouse skipper was forced to limp off midway through the first half.
Reuben Jerome, making a return to one of his first clubs, was to become the pantomime villain during a frustrating return to the Yorkshire Payments Stadium.
His first attempt on goal was weak and Town’s talented teenager ‘keeper, Jacob Carney, saved easily.
And although he did eventually net Reds’ equaliser, he squandered a great chance to put the game beyond the hosts and was fortunate to stay on the pitch after a wild challenge on Town’s Jack Tinker. He was shown yellow when it could easily have been red.
Before half time, Smith saw another powerful header cleared off the line via a David Symington corner.
Two substitutions were made at half time with Liam Brockbank and Carl Lightfoot making way for Matty Clarke and Scott Allison. The changes made an immediate impact with Clarke enjoying his best forty five minutes for some time and Allison emphasising his importance to the team after his lay off.
The two substitutes combined to fashion an equaliser within ninety seconds of the restart with Clarke’s low cross into the area finding Alison whose lay off to Jerome allowed him to finish from close range.
The Cumbrians were in front before the hour mark when the outstanding Smith made it third time lucky to head home Allison’s cross from the right.
But Brighouse showed no signs of surrendering and kept the game alive. It took an excellent Jim Atkinson save to prevent Laurence Sorhaindo levelling matters and provided a reminder that there was still work to be done.
And Reds had three good chances to put the game to bed.
Symington shot wide when well placed with time and space, Jerome was denied by Carney’s excellent save when clean through on goal and Carroll’s attempt from the edge of the box was also dealt with confidently by Carney.
Then came Clarke’s dramatic late, late show when he got the final touch in a goal mouth scramble with the home celebrations followed by the full time whistle.
And although Reds were seconds away from victory, Grainger’s final words probably put the performance into perspective.
“We got a point we didn’t deserve today,” he concluded.
Brighouse Town: Carney, Tinker (Smith M, 53), Reed, Grant, Harris (Wilkinson, 22), Beedon, Clarke J, Haigh, Sorhaindo (Hay, 70), Racchi, Boyle. Substitutes – Mohammed, Church (not used).
Workington: Atkinson, Kelly, Brockbank (Clarke M, 46), Wordsworth, Smith, Casson, Symington (Wooding-Holt, 83), Carroll, Jerome, Lightfoot (Allison, 46), Tinnion. Substitutes – Bowman, Potts (not used).
Referee: Neil Howlett
Bookings: Haigh (Brighouse Town), Wordsworth, Carroll, Clarke, Jerome (Workington)