The impressive statistics continue to underline Workington’s dominant season in NPL’s West division.
This was a fifth successive away win, their seventeenth overall, a fourth league double, a twelfth clean sheet and, after scoring their fiftieth league goal so far, a healthy goal difference of plus thirty.
Unfortunately, there is no method for recording dogged resilience but they certainly needed that grit and determination during the first twenty five minutes before extinguishing the fire in Liverpool bellies.
An indifferent start, coupled with the hosts’ early high tempo, saw Reds struggle to get out of their own half in the first quarter but, crucially, City didn’t score during that period and once Workington took the lead they lost their way.
Jack Hazlehurst was kept quiet generally but he came closest to giving City the lead. His free kick from the edge of the box had Jim Atkinson scrambling across his goal to push the ball away for a corner and, other than that, the Reds’ keeper was rarely troubled.
Josh Quarless, a giant of a centre forward, saw one header flash narrowly wide of the target but he was kept in check by the outstanding Dan Wordsworth/Sam Smith partnership in the heart of the defence.
David Symington’s stunning goal in the thirty-eighth minute was, to be fair, against the run of play but was worthy of winning any Northern Premier League contest, the FA Cup, the Champions League Final or even the World Cup in Qatar – it was that good.
Out wide on the right, he had the choice of going past the fullback and sending over one of his trademark crosses or, attempting the impossible, cutting inside and hammering a superb left-footer from an acute angle in to the top corner of Oliver Martin’s net.
He chose the more difficult option and, two seconds later, Martin was retrieving the ball from his net. A game changer if ever there was one!
There might have been a second goal for Reds’ number seven but a well struck shot was pushed away by Martin who, at least, had his hands warmed on a cold night.
And the scorer turned provider ten minutes into the second half when his teasing free kick was flicked on by Wordsworth and met by Carroll at the far post to guide home Reds’ second goal with Liverpool’s static defending proving costly.
Chris Willcock’s side created further chances but failed to increase the winning margin. Reuben Jerome had one effort cleared off the line by a smart piece of defending from Zac Aley and Brad Hubbold’s volley was kept out by an unorthodox save from Martin, the busier of the two ‘keepers on the night.
It was an impressive night’s work from the table-toppers but tarnished by an early injury to skipper Conor Tinnion. He pulled up sharply in the twentieth minute with a hamstring problem and was immediately substituted.
City of Liverpool: Martin, Aley, Walls, Schofield, Hinnigan, Hassall, Monaghan (McKinney, 80), Edgar, Quarless, Hazelhurst (Scarborough, 80), Murphy (Bahula, 60). Substitutes – Isherwood, Johnson (not used).
Workington: Atkinson, Harrison, Clarke, Wordsworth, Smith, Hubbold, Symington, Carroll (Rigg, 86), Jerome, Tinnion (Casson, 22), Gaul. Substitutes – Fenwick, Leslie, Eccles (not used).
Referee: Simon Robinson
Bookings: Schofield (City of Liverpool), Carroll, Clarke, Jerome (Workington)