There is, apparently, more than one way to skin a cat and, similarly, various ways of winning a football match.
But how Reds won this one will remain a mystery after a laboured, sloppy second half performance made it a nerve-wracking affair which culminated on an emotional high.
After a mistake-ridden forty-five minutes, they emerged with immense character in the penalty shoot-out and a stunning victory was rewarded with a plum tie at York City in the next round.
They were a goal down inside ten minutes after Michael Luaba had opened the scoring with a fine cross shot after he wriggled inside from the right.
It was just what the hosts wanted but how would the young Reds react? Well, the response was superb and, gradually, they grew into the game and started moving the ball about well.
And a bit of good fortune in the twenty-fourth minute saw them equalise and deservedly so. Luke Bewsher-Canon tried a shot from the edge of the area but the effort lacked the power to trouble home ‘keeper, Jordan Jackman. However, he fumbled the ball which spun out of his grasp and trickled into the bottom corner of his net.
Morpeth’s problems were compounded after thirty-two minutes when Godwin Williams was shown a straight red card for raising an arm and delivering a blow to Zach Martin’s face.
Would that aid or hinder Reds for the remaining hour of the game? It certainly didn’t help and for long periods of the second half Morpeth were the far better team and dominated possession.
Lewis Moore had gone close soon after the restart with a right-footed shot which just cleared the crossbar but, after that, it was one-way traffic towards the Workington goal.
Reds were repeatedly giving the ball away and making life difficult for themselves and certainly rode their luck at times.
Town’s first half scorer, Luaba, saw another shot from distance hit the post and had another two efforts saved by Reds’ substitute ‘keeper, Lucas Walker.
Yet the longer the game progressed, the more resilient Workington became.
In isolated counter attacks, Brad Keenan screwed one shot wide and was then thwarted by a decent save from Jackman. The stopper then made an even better block to keep out a firmly struck shot from Martin.
When Sam Davidson blasted a late chance for Morpeth over the bar it was down to penalties and that’s when the character and confidence oozed from Craig Johnston’s side.
First up for Town was Steve Luaba but his low shot towards the bottom corner was superbly saved by Walker.
Milo Cooke was first on the spot for Reds and he confidently converted to hand Reds the early advantage.
Jacob Holmes converted his penalty to make it 1-1.
Zach Martin restored Reds’ advantage when he scored with his effort then Walker excelled once more when he saved in similar fashion to keep out Dan Rowell’s kick.
It went to 3-1 when Lewis Moore nonchalantly netted his kick but Oscar Baston kept Morpeth in contention when he, too, converted.
That left Brad Keenan with the task of putting Reds into the next round and that he did with another confident finish.
Cue the celebrations.
Bradley Barwise, Zach Martin, Lewis Moore and Owen Johnston were Reds’ top performers on the night but the whole squad deserve the plaudits for their effort and commitment which, somehow, avenged a heavy defeat at the same venue a few years ago.
Team: Suproto Mansur (Lucas Walker, 46), Milo Cooke, Callum Bell, Owen Johnston (Aston Mackay, 61), Bradley Barwise, Zach Martin, Lewis Moore, Spencer Bland, Luke Bewsher-Canon (Brad Keenan, 61), Sam Christian, Alfie Schofield. Substitute – Ben Carini (not used).
Referee: J Whitfield, Whitley Bay