Danny Grainger’s twelve months wait for an FA Cup win as a manager is over after Reds made progress in this Preliminary Round tie with the minimum of fuss.
They weren’t allowed to play their normal free-flowing football with a robust Knaresborough outfit battling gamely for ninety minutes, making it more a war of attrition than an exhibition of movement and quick passing.
And Grainger’s post-match use of the words courage, desire and a willingness to work, epitomised a determined Workington performance.
“Can we play better, yes we can. Did we play our best, probably not. It’s the FA Cup, though, and they were well up for it but it’s job done and that’s all that matters,” summed up a good afternoon’s work by a well pleased manager.
They were boosted by an early goal, handed the advantage back to the hosts almost immediately, regained the lead before half-time then illustrated how they can play with a magnificent third goal just when Town were thinking they were still in the game.
The opener came in the ninth minute after the first of many raids down the right flank by Matty Clarke. His speed and nimbleness took him clear of the home defence and his cross towards the far post was ushered into the net by skipper Conor Tinnion for Reds’ first competitive goal of the season.
But the lead was short lived and the Northern Counties East League outfit restored parity just two minutes later. A ball over the top saw Reds appealing for an offside which never came and Toby Harris nonchalantly lobbed the ball into the net for a surprise but well taken equaliser.
And it might have got worse for the Cumbrians on thirty-four minutes when Brad Walker broke through a grey-shirted defence only to lose his composure and drag his shot wide of the target.
They never seriously threatened thereafter and it proved a costly miss with Reds back in front three minutes before the interval. Liam Brockbank chipped the ball forward, Tinnion flicked it on with a brave header and Scott Allison did the rest. His first touch put him in control of the situation and his second swept the ball past Sam Lee for a trademark finish.
Brad Hubbold came close to adding another in the last attack of the half.
A textbook volley from Allison cleared the bar by inches as Reds looked for the killer third goal but it didn’t arrive until the later stages.
In the meantime, Town were racking up a number of unproductive corners and Dan Wordsworth and Sam Smith were working overtime for period.
But with twelve minutes to go, Reds produced a wonderful passage of play which culminated in a special goal, one that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the final itself.
Tinnion, Clarke and Allison linked well on the right and it was the latter who danced through to guide the ball past the helpless Lee.
There was no way back for Knaresborough after that special goal although Tom Dugdale did squander the chance of a late consolation when he blasted a shot over the bar.
Reds will return to the white rose county next week when their eagerly awaited league campaign gets underway.
Knaresborough Town: Lee, Powis, Milsom, Thirkell (Youhill, 70), Anderson, Kidd, Wicks (Dugdale, 46), Parkes, Harris (Ward, 72), Walker, Carr. Substitutes – Bedford, Stevens-Neale (not used).
Workington: Atkinson J, Clarke, Brockbank, Wordsworth, Smith, Casson, Potts (Hebson, 75 – Lightfoot, 81), Hubbold (Carroll, 57), Jerome, Allison, Tinnion. Substitutes – Kelly J, Bowman, Atkinson H, Robertson (not used).
Referee: Ali Majid
Bookings: Milsom, Ward (Knaresborough Town), Brockbank, Wordsworth (Workington)