A fine headed goal from Matty Foster in extra time helped Reds’ youngsters finish the season on a high by lifting the magnificent Whitehaven Cup.
Substitute Foster was introduced to the game just after the hour mark and met Leon Dmytrowski’s teasing cross from the right in the 104th minute to decide this evenly fought contest.
Reds then had to survive a late onslaught from Aspatria who battled gamely until the end of a two hour encounter played at Borough Park.
The game took a while to burst into life with both teams a tad nervous in a cagey first half. But with Workington eventually getting into their rhythm during the second half, and playing some good football, and Aspatria dominating the later stages of extra time it became compelling.
A largely uneventful first half hour was brought to life when Aspatria’s Richard Hudson was sent to the ‘sin bin’ for a verbal outburst over a disputed throw-in but he appeared to return to the action before his ten minute punishment expired.
Reds were unable to capitalise on some good service from the right with no takers from two great crosses from Leon Dmytrowski and Ciaran Booty.
The two aforementioned went closest to opening the scoring and Thomas Houghton was almost through on goal only to be upended in full flight.
At the other end, Aspatria’s best chance fell to Wayne Iredale but his shot didn’t trouble the almost redundant Scott Paden-Gale in goal as the ball sailed over the bar.
It was goalless after ninety minutes but Booty had a great chance to break the deadlock, breaking through the inside right channel in the early stages of extra time. Mark Irwin averted the danger, though, making an important save to deny the Reds’ striker.
A trademark surging run from Dmytrowski down the right eventually led to the winner. He delivered a measured cross and Foster’s header left Irwin helpless.
Paden-Gale then kept Reds slender lead intact with a brave piece of goal-keeping. Hudson was charging through on goal and looked a certain scorer until the teenage ‘keeper advanced quickly off his line and smothered the ball at the striker’s feet, sustaining a painful blow to the kneecap in the process.
He required a lengthy spell of treatment and when back on his feet he made another good save, punching clear a cross from the left.
With Workington nervously hanging on to their slender advantage, Lady Luck stepped in to help them over the line.
With the last meaningful attack of the night, Aspatria came close to a last-gasp equaliser only for Andrew Trestianu’s left-footed shot to rebound off the crossbar and rebound to safety.
Outgoing manager, Brian Dawson, was full of praise for his side saying, “I thought we dictated possession and always looked in control but failed to capitalise on the chances we created which made for a tense finish to the match.
“Credit to Aspatria, they always give us a tough game and this was no different. Our lads were fantastic in testing conditions and, by the finish, deserved the victory.”
He concluded by adding, “Craig Routledge and I would like to thank them for their efforts over the past three seasons, they have been a pleasure to work with and we wish them all the best for the future wherever that may be.”
Aspatria: Irwin, Dixon, Haughen, Hodgson, Smith, Creighton, Pearson, Law D, Hudson, Iredale, Trestianu. Substitutes – Little, Graham, Rudd, Law S, Parker.
Workington Development: Paden-Gale, Dmytrowski, Whitehead, Butterworth, Skinner, Stephenson, Lightfoot C, Hambling, Booty, Lightfoot L, Houghton. Substitutes – Howarth, Foster, Lowrie, Bosward, Pears (all used).
Referee: Tommy Linford
Bookings: Howarth (Workington), Smith, Law D, Hudson (Aspatria)