In a week when the first team bowed out of the FA Cup after conceding two goals in stoppage time, the club’s talented youngsters suffered similar disappointment after losing to a ninety first minute penalty.
And it sent Reds crashing out of the FA Youth Cup, denying them the opportunity of a dream trip to Hartlepool United in the next round.
Both teams were running on empty by the end of ninety minutes and it seemed as though we were destined for a penalty shoot-out to determine the winners. Ultimately, though, just one spot-kick was needed, and James Robinson converted the last gasp decider to send the hosts through.
It was a tough one to take for Reds, particularly their young ‘keeper, Max Smith, who had kept his side in the tie with a string of fine saves. He did get gloves on Robinson’s penalty but not enough to keep the ball out of the net.
The Cumbrians had their moments in this fourth meeting between the clubs in six years but they were not at their best and didn’t quite do themselves justice. That may seem harsh, but their heroes were in defence – young Smith and the more experienced Matty Hartley and skipper, Harry Atkinson, were probably their better players on the night.
After an even first half, Reds seemed rather sluggish on the restart and it took them a while to get going. Their resilience kept them in the game and the outcome might have been different had Charlie Johnston’s seventy-sixth minute strike found the net instead of rebounding off the upright.
He had chipped the ball over the stranded ‘keeper, Cieran Churchill, but in a ‘slow-motion’ moment, luck was against him.
Aidan Howarth had the game’s first chance of note but his fifth minute strike narrowly missed the target and that set the tone for Reds with most of the opportunities which came their way either squandered or failing to trouble Churchill.
Town opened the scoring after an even seventeen minutes when Robert Woodroffe was allowed to turn in the box and send the ball past Smith from fifteen yards.
There was a good response from blue-shirted Workington, and they equalised on the half hour mark. Ciaran Poultney did well on the right flank, but his cross evaded everyone in the box only to find Joe Palmer lurking at the far post. He steadied himself before despatching the ball into the net for a well taken goal.
Hebburn dominated for a spell in the second half but they couldn’t find a way past Smith with a diving save to keep out Dillan Short’s free kick and a brave stop at Woodroffe’s feet the best of half a dozen stops.
We had gone beyond the ninety-minute mark when Palmer’s mistimed tackle saw Kane Doughney go down in the area leaving the referee with no alternative other than pointing to the spot.
Robinson duly converted, just, and brave Reds were left to contemplate what might have been!
Hebburn Town: Churchill, Bewick, Short, Nicholls, Archibald, Campbell (Ray, 48), Scurfield, Robinson M, Woodroffe (Arthur, 71), Robinson J, Hepplewhite (Doughney, 74). Substitutes – Taylor, Docherty, Singh, Herald (not used).
Workington: Smith, Howarth (Grant, 46), Hartley, Hendron, Atkinson, Palmer, Pickering, Watson, Foster, Johnston, Poultney (Scott, 70). Substitutes – Knowles, Rowntree (not used).
Referee: Evan Culling, Bedlington
Bookings: Nicholls (Hebburn Town), Hendron, Palmer (Workington)