Credit to County League side, Gosforth, who gave the cup holders a mighty scare in the final match of the Fred Conway Cumberland Cup First Round ties.
The village side went about their business in an efficient manner and, had they taken one of the few chances which came their way, a giant killing might have been the outcome.
Instead, they left Borough Park as gallant losers but consoled by the generous applause directed at them for their efforts over ninety minutes.
Indeed, they may still be reflecting on the two chances which came their way eight minutes before half time. Danny Eccles, Reds’ loyal understudy ‘keeper who captained the side in last season’s final, was forced into two excellent saves in quick succession, thwarting first Macauley Sharp and then Robbie Bagley.
Taking the lead at the point would have been a fillip for Gosforth who gradually got into the game having seen very little of the ball in the early stages. Reds passed the ball with ease but without purpose and there were signs of frustration when they couldn’t find a way through the wall of blue shirts.
Hayden Tait’s shot was touched onto and over the bar by Ian Studholme who kept his team in connection with a handful of smart saves. His best of the night came on the hour mark when he had to dive high to his left to palm away a well struck Lewis Moore effort.
Moore, the youngest of Reds teenagers, had a fine game as did Zach Martin and Zach Lester – Martin at the back alongside Argentinian, Gabriel Rios and Lester dovetailing nicely with Moore in the middle.
Two other members of the Development Squad, Evan Stephenson and Harry Watson, didn’t look out of place either and it was the latter who scored the only goal of the night in the seventy-ninth minute. Substitute Jack Dunstan created the opening via the left, squaring the ball to Watson who steadied himself with his first touch and drove past Studholme with his second.
Just before what proved to be the winner, Dan McGarry headed a good chance over the bar as Gosforth mounted a rare attack towards the Derwent End.
Workington had a golden opportunity to double their lead when Studholme and a blue-shirted defender collided with Watson and the referee awarded what seemed a harsh penalty.
Skipper for the night, David Symington, pulled rank and grabbed the ball only to subsequently blast it against the crossbar and into the night sky. Justice perhaps for the visitors.
That spurred them on in the closing stages and they launched a few crosses into the box, all dealt with by Messrs Eccles, Martin and Scott Williamson.
Reds will play an even lower-ranked side, Dearham United, in the Second Round.
Workington: Eccles, Tait, Bell, Newton (Williamson, 64), Martin, Lester (Dunstan, 77), Symington, Moore L, Hammell, Stephenson, Watson. Substitutes – Harrell, Pears, Grisdale (not used).
Gosforth: Studholme, Wordsworth J, Todd, Denwood, Richardson, Woodall (Pilkington, 72), Gray, Denwood, Sharp (McGarry, 78), Singleton, Bagley (Wordsworth S, 62). Substitutes – Dorgan, Hart (not used).
Referee: Dan Forbes, Carlisle
Bookings: Tait (Workington), Wordsworth J (Gosforth)