A warm tribute on a cold evening preceded this protracted Cumberland Cup tie as both teams, officials and an above average crowd remembered the late Fred Conway, one of Egremont’s finest.
A minute of applause began and ended on the referee’s whistle as we remembered the sad passing of the Cumberland FAs chairman.
And when the action got underway, the two sides served up a decent encounter as this match was finally played at the third attempt.
Danny Grainger gave youth a fling with thirteen members of the Development Squad given the opportunity to represent the club. The other three players were the first team understudy goalkeeper, a player making his comeback after a frustrating twenty-six months on the side-lines and a trialist who caught the eye on an impressive debut.
Danny Eccles captained the team and was inspirational throughout, Robbie Hebson played for an hour and looked as though he had never been away and Obua Mugalula could have had a hat-trick after consistently tormenting the home defence.
Windscale looked a bit rusty after a sequence of postponements but the Wearside League outfit came on strong in the second half as they tried to overcome a two-goal deficit.
Mugalula had travelled three hours from his Manchester home to play in the match but, after three minutes, had made his mark after opening the scoring with a fine individual goal. The tall, pacey wide man made ground down the left, chopped inside his marker before a well struck cross-shot found its way past Ian Studholme, with the ball striking both uprights before trickling over the line.
The young Reds doubled their advantage after fifteen minutes and, if the first goal was a solo effort, the second was the product of good team play. Swift passing broke the Windscale press and culminated in Cain Pears releasing Josh Palmer through the inside right channel and the seventeen-year-old finished with aplomb.
Windscale came to life and Lewis Jolly registered their first shot on target but Eccles saved comfortably. The ‘keeper looked assured throughout making saves and taking crosses with ease and, when he didn’t have the ball, was barking out instructions to his inexperienced colleagues.
Ben Graham saw one effort narrowly clear the bar and another bravely blocked as Windscale tried their utmost to get back into contention with the first half ending with Jolly thwarted again.
The hosts, paying the penalty for a sluggish start, were out of the blocks quicker on the restart and Matthew Semple was the next to try for goal only to be denied by the impressive Eccles.
But it was Mugalula who twice came close to scoring the third goal of the evening. A sixty-yard run from his own half left four frustrated defenders trailing his wake but his final shot was cleared off the line. And then a far post header appeared to have crossed the line, before Studholme clawed the ball to safety, but the assistant referee was too far behind play to make a decision.
Windscale took advantage of the reprieve and they were back in the game mid-way through the second half when they were awarded a penalty after Zach Lester was adjudged to have handled.
Graham took the spot-kick and, for once, Eccles was beaten. Game on!
But Windscale found an equaliser elusive despite putting the Reds defence under a spell of sustained pressure following a flurry of corners.
Workington had to dig deep to preserve their narrow advantage but they did so efficiently and their game management got them over the line and into the next round, taking a notable scalp in the process.
Windscale: Studholme, Leeson, White, Walker, Morgan, Pierce, Fretwell, Carter, Sempill, Graham, Jolly. Substitutes – Metcalf, Phillipson, Fitzwilliam, Frazer, Black
Workington: Eccles, Hebson (Percival), Whitehead, Birkett (Wilson), Martin, Pears, Lester, Moore, Josh Palmer (Brown), Davidson, Mugalula. Substitutes – Rae, Lister (not used).
Referee: Scott Taylor, Carlisle
Bookings: Pierce (Windscale), Birkett, Moore, Davidson (Workington)