Scott Allison’s first league goal of the season produced the biggest sigh of relief at Borough Park for years as Reds produced their ‘get out of jail’ card.
For much of the afternoon, it had been a hard watch for the Workington faithful as anxiety again got the better of the team in their quest for automatic promotion. There was a lack of cohesion throughout, passing and ball retention was poor and decision making was consistently wrong during a painful ninety minutes.
So to find a way to win like they did says much about the character in this group at the moment.
On the basis that they should have won at Leek a week earlier and didn’t, they will gladly bank the three points from this epic struggle when, perhaps, they didn’t deserve the victory.
Trafford played for all but two minutes of the ninety with just ten men after Aidan Roxburgh was controversially shown a red card after disrupting Workington’s first attack. He stopped Connor Gaul’s route to goal and, although there was another Trafford defender in the vicinity, the referee decided he had to go.
But, as so often happens, the harsh sending off galvanised Trafford who, to a man, gave an extra 10% of effort whilst Reds levels probably dropped by the same rate, complacency perhaps! The upshot being it was difficult to assess who was playing with ten men.
And after Reds squandered a few decent chances themselves, they were fortunate not to concede the opening goal. Sam Smith was sold short with a pass from Matty Clarke enabling Matthew Barlow to nip in only to steer the ball wide and waste a rare chance for the visitors.
Gaul was getting in to great positions but lacked the end product with, on one occasion, the ball finding a way into the grounded goalkeeper’s hands when it looked easier to score.
He wasn’t the only culprit with Dav Symington and Brad Hubbold also wasting decent opportunities.
But a fine passage of play after forty one minutes did produce the opening goal. Hubbold picked out Brad Carroll with a fine pass down the inside left channel and his assist landed in Conor Tinnion’s path and he slotted home his first goal of the year.
Would that be enough to settle the side and enable them to approach the second half in a more relaxed mood? I’m afraid not.
A group of Workington heroes from yesteryear were paraded on the pitch at half time and Reds could have certainly used John Reach’s driving force or some enterprising wing play from the likes of Peter Foley or Paul Handley in their prime.
It took Trafford a while to realise that if they ventured forward they might obtain some joy at the other end, instead of contenting themselves dealing with Reds blunt attack.
And they did that after sixty five minutes scoring after good play down the right. Adam Rooney’s cross was met well by Max Hazeldine who maintained his excellent scoring record against Reds by heading home a fine equaliser.
The fear then was that Trafford might go on and inflict a damaging defeat upon the hosts but, thankfully, they seemed content with the point.
And Carroll, released from his temporary defensive duties, did a fine impression of former skipper Reach with a swashbuckling run towards the heart of the Trafford defence. He could have lost possession at one point but a brave block saw him retain possession and slide the ball into Allison’s path and he broke Trafford’s hearts with a typical confident finish.
That goal five minutes from time released a whole lot of frustration from the home support but I’m sure, somewhere, there was a touch of sympathy for gallant Trafford.
Workington: Atkinson, Harrison, Clarke, Carroll, Smith, Casson (Allison, 46), Symington, Hubbold, Jerome (Fenwick, 70), Tinnion (Leslie, 70), Gaul. Substitutes – Evangelinos, Rigg (not used).
Trafford: Cooper, Higgins, Sloan (Morgan, 46), Roxburgh, Cosquer, Rooney, Mulholland, Worrall (Belcher, 58), Burke, Hazeldine (Lopes, 80), Barlow. Substitutes – Bickerton, Dorney (not used).
Referee: Alex Beckett
Red card: Roxburgh (Trafford)
Booking: Carroll (Workington)