Every time this fixture is played, you’ll find a number of the participants have strong connections with both clubs and this pre-season encounter was no exception.
But there were two surprise inclusions in the Penrith squad, namely Ronan Irving and Obua Mugalula.
Irving has been Reds’ physiotherapist for the past couple of seasons and his professional career has developed during his time at Borough Park. But he was keen to resume the playing side of the game, took the opportunity to sign for the Northern League outfit and looked comfortable throughout in his defensive role.
Mugalula’s situation wasn’t quite as straightforward and manager, Danny Grainger, explained that his release came about because of a disciplinary issue and felt he had to take action because of time-keeping transgressions.
Both were popular members of the group and we wish them well during the next phase of their respective careers.
The game itself saw Reds’ management tinker a bit with the formation with some personnel asked to do different jobs than normal. Edmondson and his ‘new’ assistant, another ex. Red, Richard Prokas, had a few missing but still used eighteen players.
The assumption is that both camps learned a lot from the game, as both sets of supporters sift through the numbers attempting to predict the respective starting XIs for the first league game.
From a Reds perspective, it was good to see the strongest squad of the summer turn out and the final two friendlies – both tough assignments in the north east – will determine who gets the nod for the 12 August.
Reds opened the scoring via a Steven Rigg side-foot volley after the young Penrith ‘keeper, Harvey Reay, couldn’t deal with Conor Tinnion’s free kick on the left. The nineteenth minute opener came seconds after Rigg had headed over the bar when meeting a Tinnion corner.
Rigg was involved again soon after, this time a mishit shot found Kofi Moore who set himself up for an effort at goal. But the Oldham Athletic youngster will have to wait a bit longer for his maiden Borough Park goal as the ball rebounded into play off the crossbar.
Reds were comfortable at this point but dropped the tempo in the last ten minutes of the half and were punished accordingly. Alfie Brunskill’s trickery saw him cleverly avoid a couple of sloppy tackles before he found Shane Dorwood, who finished confidently to make it all square at the break.
Ten minutes after the restart, Reds were back in front thanks to Bobby Carroll’s first Borough Park goal. After exchanging passes with Aidy Roxburgh, he chopped inside and curled a measured shot into the top corner of Reay’s net – a fine goal and his second in successive matches.
The third Workington goal was another belter with the two Lewis’s, Reilly and Moore, combining to great effect. They played a clever one-two in a crowded area culminating in the seventeen-year-old passing the ball into the net for a sublime goal……and his second against Penrith this year!
The final half hour saw a raft of substitutions made with Jim Atkinson making his long awaited first outing of the summer. Thankfully, his precision distribution skills haven’t been hampered by his extended break as normal service resumed, albeit with the number 21 on his back!
New signings Hayden Tait and Matty Bell played the full ninety minutes for Reds as did the midfield Trialist. He has done well during pre-season with the manager set to decide on his immediate future, and that of the goalkeeper, in the next week or so.
It was good to see Robbie Hebson back on the field in a blue shirt, after his injury problems, but most of the focus during that fragmented second half was on the man who scored four goals against Penrith in May – Mugalula.
He went close to scoring via one effort which narrowly cleared the bar and then forced Atkinson into his first save of the summer with a well struck shot from outside the box.
Workington: Trialist 1, Tait, Bell, Wordsworth, Rigg, Casson, Moore K, Hubbold, Allison, Trialist 2, Tinnion. Substitutes – Wallbank, Smith, Roxburgh, Moore L, Carroll, Reilly, Symington, Atkinson (all used).
Penrith: Reay H, Hebson, Metcalfe, Irving, Storey, Moynan, Hunter, Prokas C, Brunskill, Taylor DJ, Dorwood. Substitutes – Mugalula, Holden, Smales, Reay O, Cullen, Thornley, Delaney (all used). Substitute – Taylor A (not used).
Referee: Adam Pattison