With half their squad missing for a variety of reasons, Morpeth were put to the sword by rampant Reds in the final pre-season workout for both clubs.
But, as Chris Willcock pointed out in his post match interview, “You can only play the opposition that is put in front of you.”
Morpeth boss, Stephen Turnbull, probably feels he would have been better off not playing the game but his opposite number was delighted with a highly satisfactory afternoon’s work.
He saw his team score six cracking goals but was equally pleased to have kept a clean sheet – only the second in nine practice matches.
And if seeing your goalkeeper score a goal and save a penalty in the same match is not enough to satisfy your thirst for the unusual, this one-sided game had plenty of other side shows to make up for a pre-season of disappointing results.
Jim Atkinson (pictured) wrote himself into the record books with one of the quickest goals in eighty four years of football at Borough Park. Receiving the ball, two touches after kick-off, Jim struck the ball sweetly and watched his eighty yard clearance bounce once and come to rest in the Derwent End net with the Trialist ‘keeper left embarrassed by this most unique of starts to a game.
The clean sheet which meant so much to Willcock was assured in the seventy-fifth minute when Atkinson saved his third penalty of pre-season. Referee Adam Pattison hadn’t put a foot wrong throughout the game but there were gasps of disbelief when he pointed to the spot after Jordan Little left Liam Noble on the turf in winning an aerial tussle between the two.
Jack Foalie took the controversial penalty but Atkinson dived full length to his left to pull off a spectacular save. That was Morpeth’s best chance of a consolation goal but, generally, it was an afternoon they will quickly wish to forget.
The sparse crowd, who witnessed the dramatic start, were still discussing Reds’ first goal when they bagged a second with the unnamed foreign goalkeeper again failing to cover himself in glory.
Debutant, Nic Evangelinos (inset), had a free run on goal and his well struck shot was certainly saveable but squirmed from his grasp and over the line.
We hadn’t reached the quarter of an hour mark and two goals had been scored and two substitutions made. Steven Rigg and Kieran Charlton hobbled off simultaneously but, “only as a precaution,” according to the manager.
The unfortunate goalkeeper then atoned for his two blunders with decent saves to thwart Charlie Bowman and Conor Tinnion.
By the twenty-seventh minute, Dav Symington had got in on the act after finding acres of space down the inside left channel. With Town’s defenders generously ‘social distancing’, Symington’s left footed shot found its way into the far corner of the net for Reds’ third.
Tinnion increased the Workington lead with the maestro scoring a sublime goal eleven minutes after the restart. Collecting the ball on the very corner of the Morpeth area, the skipper’s wand of a left foot sent the most audacious swerving shot over the ‘keeper for a wonderful fourth goal.
An isolated Morpeth attack saw Noble’s thumping drive beaten away by Atkinson with the penalty save following shortly after.
Morpeth had requested a plea for mercy at this point but they conceded again in the eighty-first minute. Symington’s wonderful assist released Brad Hubbold deep into Morpeth territory. Reds’ number 6 chopped the ball back inside onto his favoured left foot and blasted past the ‘keeper for goal number five.
And a flowing move just before the final whistle culminated in Brad Carroll unselfishly pulling the ball back for Tinnion who side-footed home his second, Reds’ sixth of the afternoon.
How fitting that Tinnion should score two goals, having recently become the father of twin boys!
Workington: Atkinson, Hebson (Lightfoot, 49), Charlton (Clarke, 14), Wordsworth (Little, 65), Smith, Hubbold, Rigg (Symington, 14), Carroll, Bowman, Tinnion, Evangelinos (Casson, 36). Substitute: Paden-Gale (not used).
Morpeth Town: Trialist, Forster, Ramsey, Sayer, Hodgson, Trialist, Trialist (Trialist), Noble, Foalie, Donaldson (Trialist), Johnson (Trialist).
Referee Adam Pattison