Walker hat-trick secures victory
Another useful ninety-minute workout for Reds as they strolled to victory in this hastily arranged, final home friendly of the summer.
And if goals determine how entertaining a game of football is, this deserves an 8/10 rating.
Jason Walker certainly enjoyed himself and, apart from displaying the individual brilliance one would expect from such an impressive CV, he showed how valuable he could be as a team player. His hold-up play and general use of the ball gave Reds a presence up front, a quality lacking at the tail end of last season.
With all due respect to a decent Keswick outfit, Stafford Rangers and the rest will not give Walker room to breathe when league points are on offer and it is then, and only then, when Jason and the rest will be judged.
Walker’s hat-trick, after 20, 77 and 87 minutes was special, however, with quality written all over it.
The first was a perfectly despatched penalty after Chris Rowley had checked his progress inside the area, the second a wonderful volley with his right foot after he controlled the ball on his chest and the third was the most audacious chip over the ‘keeper, cleverly dinking the ball into the net.
Reds had opened the scoring without Walker’s involvement after sixteen minutes but with a strong Barrow influence, nevertheless. Sam Joel released Brad Hubbold with the latter making good progress before providing the perfect assist for Jamie Mellen. He gleefully scored his first Borough Park goal with a neat finish.
The Reds faithful would argue that the scoreline might have been more emphatic had it not been for Keswick ‘keeper, John Phillips, who pulled off half a dozen ‘top drawer’ saves, three in each half.
But the Westmorland League champions provided decent opposition and deserved their consolation goal which Karl Southern cracked home in the seventy-ninth minute.
Stevie Hindmarch skippered Keswick on his return to Borough Park, just seventy-two hours after his wedding day. Two of the well-dressed guests on Saturday, Conor Tinnion and Dan Wordsworth, were in the opposition camp this time and in more familiar football attire.
Wordsworth actually took part in the pre-match warm-up as he inches towards a first-team return following a hernia operation.
On hat-trick hero Walker’s performance, manager David Hewson found it difficult to curb his excitement.
“His quality stood out a mile, the one where he brought the ball down on his chest and volleyed into the top corner – class. That’s why, I suppose, we brought him in bringing that added quality but it’s the other side of his game – his link-up play, his hold-up play is something we haven’t had in a while. He brings so much to our squad.”
Former Reds player Lee Collins, now part of the coaching staff at Keswick, thought his side acquitted themselves well and gave a good account in what was also their penultimate friendly.
“We showed that we have some decent players and try to play good football but the main difference was Reds’ fitness and the pace of the game,” he concluded.
Workington Taylor, Douglas, Rowntree (Pearson, 46), Smith, Tidy, Mellen, Bradbury (Maguire, 46), Hubbold (Cowperthwaite, 46), Walker, Joel, Tinnion (Miller, 46). Substitutes – Hetherington, Harker, Holliday and Mossop (not used).
Keswick Phillips, Rowley, Southern, Reilly, Cumber, Hindmarch, West, Little, Bannister, Andrews, Robinson. Substitutes – Hilton S, Hilton J, Frampton, Marriott, Doolin.
Referee Adam Pattison, Workington