The excitement, drama and passion drummed up in the six minutes of stoppage time masked a below par showing from Reds who, once again, struggled on home soil.
They have toiled at Borough Park on several occasions this season but, in contrast, their performances on the road have been far more relaxed and certainly more enjoyable for players and spectators alike.
Not sure how many ‘get out of jail’ cards they were dealt at the start of the season, but winning games in stoppage time is becoming a nerve-wracking habit.
Widnes were allowed to start brightly and a lethargic-looking Reds were all over the place in the early stages and could have been three down mid-way through the first half.
Somehow, they found a way to win the game and to do that when nothing was going right epitomises the character within the group.
Widnes almost scored in the game’s first attack but Max Bardsley-Rowe saw his shot hit the foot of the post before rebounding conveniently into Jim Atkinson’s arms.
Reds failed to heed the warning and Widnes opened the scoring in similar circumstances after fourteen minutes. Again, it was Bardsley-Rowe who found space in the Workington defensive third and this time his shot found a way past Atkinson to give the visitors a deserved lead.
It could have got worse for the hosts had Sean Miller steered his shot into an empty net after Atkinson had gone AWOL from his area. Thankfully the ball drifted wide so a one goal deficit didn’t seem too damaging at the time.
Conor Tinnion was introduced to the game at the expense of the unfortunate Niall Moran (it could have been any of the outfield players substituted) and the influential skipper did get the engine room ticking over.
Scott Allison did have a couple of half chances before half time but both were squandered and Widnes were good value for their one goal lead at the break.
It was one-way traffic towards the Town End goal in the second half but despite almost continuous possession Reds were forcing the issue, repeatedly giving the ball away and unable to get behind enemy lines.
The one move which did open the Widnes defence saw good play down the right culminate with a teasing cross from David Symington met by a fine Lewis Reilly header, only for debutant ‘keeper, Luc Rees, to pull off a great diving save palming the ball away.
Reilly had other opportunities but two fine strikes narrowly missed the target.
There was a lot of huff and puff and very little finesse but, thankfully, loads of spirit within the ranks and it was that togetherness that eventually got them over the line.
Normal time had elapsed before Workington equalised yet cometh the ninety-second minute, cometh the talismanic captain.
A free kick was awarded on the edge of the box with Symington and Tinnion considering their options as they placed the ball. The yellow-shirted wall appeared to part and Tinnion’s low shot skimmed along the surface and came to rest in the bottom corner of Rees’ net.
The collective feeling of relief was tangible.
And fifty four seconds later, the ecstasy on the terraces turned to pandemonium as Reds found a last-gasp winner. Symington lifted the ball into the area, Reilly got an important touch and up popped Reuben Jerome to thrash the ball home from eight yards – game, set and match!
It was tough on Widnes who would contemplate what might have been on the way home whilst Workington have to come up with a solution as to why their home form is so erratic.
Workington: Atkinson, Clarke, Leslie (Birch, 64), Wordsworth, Moran (Tinnion, 30), Casson, Symington, Allison, Reilly, Jerome, Carroll (Palmer, 69). Substitutes – Rigg, McCaragher (not used).
Widnes: Rees, Shorrock, Rain, McCulloch, Burke, Isherwood, Hassall, Irwin, Sephton, Miller (Wynne, 65), Bardsley-Rowe (Rigby, 21). Substitutes – Stephens, Brookfield (not used).
Referee: Curtis Wood, Lancaster
Bookings: Atkinson (Workington), Irwin, Shorrock (Widnes)