Chris Willcock’s first game in charge at Borough Park ended in frustration and a narrow defeat despite their domination against a re-jigged City side.
City’s line-up had more to do with an outstanding County Cup final they have to play this week than their probable starting XI for the League, whilst Reds were without the injured trio of Scott Allison, Ceiran Casson and Jordan Little plus the unavailable Iyrwah Gooden.
And although this was scheduled to be the final friendly, the manager will try and squeeze another game in before they start the season proper at Kidsgrove on the 14th August.
“I felt we should have won the game comfortably,” was Willcock’s assessment, based on the amount of possession enjoyed throughout the game, then added, “but our mistakes magnify what became a disappointing defeat.”
It certainly hasn’t been a seamless transition between Danny Grainger’s departure and the new manager’s arrival but he feels they are gradually moving in the right direction.
Best chance for Reds during the first half fell to David Symington after Steven Rigg’s diagonal assist released him down the right. He advanced towards goal but, as Sam Ashton advanced off his line, he guided the ball the wrong side of the far post.
Brad Carroll and Reuben Jerome linked well in another promising attack but the former was unable to toe-poke past the ‘keeper.
City were more clinical when their first chance came along after thirty three minutes. Sam Bailey swung a free-kick towards the far post, the ball was headed back into the danger area and it was Niall Cowperthwaite, a player who spent two spells at Borough Park, who deflected the ball into the Town End net.
It was twenty minutes into the second half before Reds seriously threatened the City goal and two corners in quick succession did unsettle the orange-shirted rearguard. Sam Smith’s looping header might have found the top corner of the City net until the back-pedalling Matt Alexander intervened, palming the ball to safety.
Tinnion’s second corner was deeper but again found Smith at the far post. He headed the ball back into the ‘mix’ and Rigg reacted to score his first Workington goal at Borough Park.
Reds looked capable of going on to win from that point but Alexander’s save to deny Symington proved a turning point.
City finished the stronger as Reds faded in the final quarter of an hour.
The winning goal was a combination of tired bodies making mistakes but Dan Wordsworth paid the penalty, literally! Although he had his back to Joel Darley, his attempted clearance was high and dangerous and, with the Lancaster substitute falling in a heap two yards inside the area, the referee awarded the spot-kick. Harsh, but probably the correct decision.
Another former Workington player, Rob Wilson, stepped forward and converted to secure a narrow win for Mark Fell’s Premier Division outfit.
Workington: Atkinson, Clarke, Charlton, Wordsworth, Smith, Hubbold, Rigg, Carroll, Jerome (Hebson, 87), Tinnion, Symington (Bowman, 83). Substitutes – Lightfoot C, Howarth, Houghton, Eccles (not used).
Lancaster City: Ashton (Alexander), Sloan, Bailey S, Hudson, Steel, Anderson, Dawson, Cowperthwaite, Kilifin, Norris, Mills. Substitutes – Teague, Wills, Fensome, Trialist, Darley, Trialist, Wilson.
Referee: Scott Henry, Carlisle
Booking: Wordsworth (Workington)