Workington’s winning start to the campaign, the sequence of five matches their best in thirty four seasons of Northern Premier League football, came to an end in sultry Manchester against a decent Trafford outfit.
But they salvaged a point after twice coming from behind in a pulsating NPL West Division encounter.
It looked as though they were heading towards a first league defeat during Chris Willcock’s tenure but a late rally got them back in the game and a draw was probably a fair outcome.
It was the third successive 2-2 draw between two sides who should be promotion contenders on the evidence of this absorbing contest.
The hosts went ahead just past the half hour mark when Astley Mulholland’s pass opened the Reds defence and marauding fullback Aidan Roxburgh finished in some style.
Workington responded positively to the setback and were only behind for a matter of six minutes. Two attacks were repelled but the third produced a break when the referee awarded a penalty.
Max Hazeldine’s raised hands prevented the ball hitting the target and, despite his protests, he was penalised and booked.
Rowan Roache shuffled forward and confidently converted his second spot kick in successive games to restore parity before half time.
Trafford, who played at a high tempo throughout, restored their one goal advantage nine minutes after the restart. Roxburgh turned provider on this occasion releasing Hazeldine on the right who, in one swift movement, sent the ball firmly past Atkinson with a fine angled drive.
And that prompted a spell of dominance from Danny Caldecott’s side with Reds having to show dogged resilience to stay in the game. Trafford couldn’t convert territorial advantage into clear-cut chances but Reds were finding it difficult getting out of their own half.
But they did find a way and Roache, whose delivery and crosses troubled Trafford throughout, provided a telling assist from the right. Delivered at the perfect height, Reuben Jerome met the ball and powered in a terrific header for his first goal of the season.
Although both sides did push for the winner in the remaining eight minutes, plus stoppage time, neither looked capable of turning one point into three and the draw was just about right.
Trafford: Mee, Higgins, Roxburgh, Mulholland, Davidson, Neild, Palma (Ford, 89), Dorney, Hazeldine (Burke, 80), Belcher, Morgan. Substitutes – Rooney, Hughes, Cooper (not used)
Workington: Atkinson, Clarke, Charlton, Casson, Smith, Marshall (Rigg, 68), Gooden (Leslie, 55), Hubbold, Jerome, Lawrence, Roache. Substitutes – Lightfoot C, Howarth, Eccles (not used).
Referee: Simon Robinson
Bookings: Hazeldine (Trafford), Smith (Workington)