After two good training sessions and a dressing room debate about what went wrong against Widnes, Chris Willcock expressed himself well satisfied with Reds’ response in a comfortable friendly victory against a makeshift City team at the Giant Axe.
The West Cumbrians were dominant throughout and shook off the disappointment of the Widnes setback with a convincing win on a bumpy, uneven surface.
The manager thought the performance went someway to getting the team back on track after the derailment a week earlier. He was able to hand valuable game time to the two Scotts – Fenwick and Allison – with Danny Eccles, Liam Lightfoot and Leon Dmytrowski all featuring prominently in the second half.
Sam Smith was rested, injured duo Conor Tinnion and Nic Evangelinos didn’t feature whilst Keelan Leslie was unavailable. Josh Dixon has returned to parent club, Carlisle United, after his loan spell.
Reds established a two goal advantage when City were at their strongest but the second half became rather fragmented when both teams rang the changes. Even so, this was a good display from Reds ahead of five key fixtures before they meet Warrington Rylands – the new title favourites, according to manager Willcock.
“If we can go on a decent run over the next month it will set-up a cracker of a game against Rylands who appear to have the better run-in of all the title contenders,” said the Workington boss.
Assistant manager, Steven Rudd, took in the Warrington game at Kendal on his way home whilst Willcock spent the afternoon watching two future opponents playing against each other.
The first half belonged to David Symington (inset) with his two goals laying the foundation for the morale boosting success. His first, after seventeen minutes, was a replica of the free kick goal he netted at Clitheroe earlier in the season and the second, eight minutes later, was a good left-footed cross shot – both strikes leaving Curtis Anderson helpless.
Former Workington and Lancaster City legend, Vaughn Williams, watched the game from the stand and was impressed with Symington’s first half display, which also included a shot from almost fifty yards – so nearly producing his hat-trick.
Reds’ back four, and goalkeeper Jim Atkinson, were rarely troubled during a one-sided first half.
Within six minutes of the restart, Reds had increased the lead and the third goal came from forgotten man, Allison. He put a frustrating spell on the sidelines behind him with a trademark left foot strike from the edge of the box.
City, who included former Workington players, Liam Brockbank and Niall Cowperthwaite in their line-up whilst the injured Rob Wilson watched from the terraces, reduced the arrears after sixty three minutes. The visitors had just made a change in central defence and, before the new back line had chance to adjust, Nathan Reid nipped in to score a well taken consolation goal.
But the three goal cushion was restored ten minutes from time thanks to a superbly weighted Steven Rigg pass which set Connor Gaul free. His first touch was good and his second guided the ball beyond Max Povey and into the empty net.
There are two very important games on Merseyside on Tuesday and Reds will be involved in one of those at Bootle in a crucial NPL West encounter, the other sees Liverpool hosting Inter in Champions League action.
Referee: Mr A Feber