A disjointed performance from Reds culminated in an early exit from the FA Trophy leaving a decent home crowd feeling short-changed with their afternoon’s entertainment.
With Dunston suffering from an injury crisis themselves, it would be churlish to put forward Reds’ absentees as a plausible excuse for this tame surrender. Suffice to say the visitors were the better of the two makeshift sides on view.
For the first half, at least, it looked as though the tie might have to be settled via a penalty shoot-out with the few chances created all squandered. But a penalty in normal time proved sufficient to determine a winner.
It came ten minutes into the second half when Liam Thear appeared to fall under a clumsy challenge from Donae Lawrence and Sam Smith but the referee said play-on, only for Smith to give a live ‘action replay’ by doing the same again.
This time the referee pointed to the spot and Terry Galbraith hammered home the decider.
And from a Workington perspective that was about it – all over with thirty five minutes to go. They huffed and puffed thereafter but never looked capable or interested in grabbing an equaliser.
It was a pity Reds’ performance didn’t hit the levels they are capable of because a stunning early attack suggested a cracking game was about to unfold. A swift counter from one end to the other was about to result in a certain Charlie Bowman goal, but a wonderfully timed Ursene Mouanda tackle saved the day for the NPL East division outfit.
Other than that, Lawrence headed wide from a Connor Gaul corner, the latter then had a shot saved by Liam Connell after Bowman laid off the ball, Tom Skinner was narrowly wide when meeting a Rowan Roache assist with Skinner’s on target header easily dealt with by Connell.
Dunston didn’t create much more to be honest but they used the ball more efficiently and certainly showed more cohesion throughout.
Thear saw one shot come to rest in the side netting during the first half and Michael Pearson brought a fine finger-tip save out of Danny Eccles at the expense of a corner.
Then after the game’s only goal, they should have doubled their advantage but let Reds off the hook. Jake Stafford’s close range effort rattled the post and Sado Djalo pounced to convert the rebound but only succeeded in skying the ball over the bar towards the river.
So, were there any positives for Chris Willcock to take from the game?
He would be pleased to see the likes of Eccles, Sam Smith and Bowman in the starting XI with Brad Carroll, Reuben Jerome and Roache getting valuable minutes via the bench and was also impressed with the three teenagers – Skinner, Aidan Howarth and Carl Lightfoot – who stepped up from the Development Squad.
Skinner, in particular, caught the eye with a competent performance on his debut after just two first team outings in pre-season. The seventeen year old from Aspatria certainly has the potential to succeed and if he needs any further inspiration he should take a look at the career of Dunston, boss, Chris Swailes. Now 50 years old, Swailes actually named himself as one of Dunston’s substitutes and, rest assured, would have took to the pitch had there been any defensive issues. A true north-east legend!
Workington: Eccles, Clarke, Lawrence, Skinner, Smith, Casson, Gooden (Jerome, 63), Howarth (Carroll, 56), Bowman, Lightfoot (Roache, 56), Gaul. Substitutes – Rowe, Symington, Atkinson (not used).
Dunston: Connell, Baxter, Galbraith, Pearson, Capewell, Hall, Thear (Pattison, 74), Mouanda, Djalo (Mason, 74), Stafford (Elliott C, 87), Elliot J. Substitutes – Swailes, Clark (not used).
Referee: Stephen Dial, Durham
Booking: Jack Elliot (Dunston)