An excellent Brad Carroll goal in the thirty-fifth minute secured an opening day victory for Reds – a maiden three-pointer for new boss, Chris Willcock, and a first ever win at the Autonet Stadium.
And, apart from a scare mid-way through the second half when the hosts rattled the crossbar, an efficient Workington side looked good value for the win.
Willcock handed league debuts to Kieran Charlton and Nic Evangelinos with fellow newcomers Iyrwah Gooden and Danny Eccles having to settle for a place on the bench.
Also amongst the substitutes was talismanic scorer, Scott Allison, who is keen to resume after missing the bulk of pre-season through injury.
Kidsgrove had only lost one of eight pre-season games and made a bright start to this West Division encounter.
Kingsley Adu Gyamfi shot wide with their first opportunity and Jacob Lovatt scooped a good chance over the bar after Kyle Diskin supplied the cross from the right.
But Reds remained resilient in the opening quarter of an hour and, by half time, had a vice-like grip on proceedings looking defensively sound.
They were hungry, first to the ball and winning their individual battles – the ingredients for any successful away performance.
Their first chance almost produced a first league goal for Evangelinos who met an excellent Matty Clarke cross to the far post only to head narrowly over.
Then the skilful Reuben Jerome worked his way towards goal but when he was unceremoniously blocked-off, the referee played a good advantage allowing Conor Tinnion to progress into the area. The skipper was thwarted by an excellent Kieran Harrison save who had advanced smartly off his line.
Jerome was also heavily involved in the match winning goal. A powerful surging run on the right culminated in a measured pass to Carroll who took the ball in his stride to finish with aplomb.
Workington looked the more likely to add to their tally in the second half as Athletic couldn’t make any impression on a watertight back four.
Diskin was well off target with their only attempt of note in the early stages of the second period.
Evangelinos then saw another far post header saved after he got on the end of a David Symington cross and a second goal then would have killed the game.
But Reds had to survive a goal mouth scramble when another ball into the area caused a brief moment of panic as Ethan Hartshorn’s header rebounded off the crossbar.
The Grove never came close after that and it stayed at one nil after Harrison made the save of the match to keep out Jerome’s powerful header.
There were one or two feisty incidents yet Reds stood their ground in a physical encounter but at a cost – Carroll, Jerome and Dan Wordsworth all receiving yellow cards for their transgressions with Jim Atkinson also booked for blatant time wasting.
Athletic completed the game with only ten men, William Byers hobbling off after they had already introduced their three substitutes.
A pleasing start for Willcock and Workington, and a solid foundation to build on.
Kidsgrove Athletic Harrison, Byers, Stubbs, Bromfield, Bergin, Winkle, Diskin, Blake (Urwin, 66), Brown (Hartshorn, 66), Lovatt J (Twyford, 57), Adu Gyamfi. Substitutes – Hickman, Lovatt C (not used).
Workington Atkinson, Clarke, Charlton, Wordsworth, Smith, Hubbold (Casson, 82), Symington, Carroll, Jerome (Bowman, 76), Tinnion, Evangelinos. Substitutes – Allison, Gooden, Eccles (not used).
Referee Thomas Swift, Northwich
Bookings: Harrison (Kidsgrove Athletic), Carroll, Wordsworth, Jerome, Atkinson (Workington)