Reds completed their first league double of the season in NPL West, maintaining third position in the process.
But it was a costly afternoon with no fewer than three players limping away from the ground whilst Reuben Jerome faces a suspension following his sending off towards the end of the first half.
With eight yellow cards and two sent off, it might appear a dirty, niggly game but, apart from one flash point, it wasn’t.
Workington will appeal the decision if they find conclusive video evidence. If not, Jerome will serve his suspension, albeit reluctantly.
The fracas followed a trip on Dan Wordsworth who responded angrily. The usual melee erupted with players pushing and shoving each other and the referee, with the input of his two assistants, brought matters to a close by brandishing a red card to Jerome and United’s Ethan Devine.
The game had got off to an explosive start with Reds a goal to the good after fourteen seconds. Greg McCaragher won the ball, found Lewis Reilly who released David Symington and, although the top scorer didn’t connect as sweetly as normal, the ball found a way past Sam Ashton in the home goal.
Workington were passing the ball about efficiently, the movement was good and the football was pleasing on the eye. Openings were being created but not taken and gradually Skem were getting back into the picture and a good contest was developing.
Jim Atkinson’s only save of note denied Sam Turner whilst, at the other end, Symington was thwarted by an Ashton block and a Bobby Carroll effort hit the foot of the post.
But, three minutes, before the interval, the west Cumbrians doubled their advantage. Symington’s fierce shot was touched onto the bar by Ashton’s fine reflex save but McCaragher reacted quickly to the rebound and forced the ball home from close range.
The assistant signalled that the ball had crossed the line although Skelmersdale were adamant it hadn’t but the goal stood.
Then we had the unsavoury incident which tarnished the game with both sides down to ten men for the entire second half.
Skelmersdale seemed to cope better than Reds for the first twenty minutes of the second half but, overall, Danny Grainger’s side managed the second half well. Their offensive players caught the eye in the first half but the back four certainly contributed after the break and none more so than Dan Wordsworth who was magnificent winning headers, tackles and blocks all afternoon.
The hosts did reduce the arrears after fifty-seven minutes with Taylor Prescott tapping home his first goal for Skem from close range after Harry Hagen provided the assist from the right.
Prescott had two other opportunities in quick succession but Atkinson, on his 100th appearance for Reds, blocked both. He made an even better save to tip over an Abdul Djalo effort.
Other than that, Reds defended well and always looked dangerous on the break without creating too many clear-cut chances.
With Skem unable to draw a game this season and Reds specialising in 2-1 score lines, the points were in the bag and mission accomplished.
Skelmersdale United: Ashton, Hagen, Freeman, Sheen (Djalo, 72), Herbert, Grogan, Norris, Devine, Brodie (Prescott, 46), McLoughlin, Turner (Hamilton, 66). Substitutes – Wagster, Lees (not used).
Workington: Atkinson, Clarke, Birch (Moran, 87), Wordsworth, Casson, Carroll (Rigg, 77), Symington, McCaragher (Palmer, 59), Reilly, Jerome, Tinnion. Substitutes – Leslie, Eccles (not used).
Referee: Mustafa Zharir, Wirral
Bookings: Sheen, Grogan, Brodie, Djalo (Skelmersdale United), Birch, Wordsworth, Grainger, Reilly (Workington)
Red cards: Devine (Skelmersdale United), Jerome (Workington)