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Friday, 25 April 2014

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10-man Workington Reds deny runaway leaders Chester

Workington Reds 1 Chester 1: Taking points off Chester has proved virtually impossible as Neil Young’s record breakers ease to the Blue Square Bet North title.

Dave Hewson photo
Dave Hewson

And taking points off the runaway table toppers, who have won 25 of their 30 games this term, with 10 men, is unheard of.

For 85 minutes, Workington Reds were forced to battle with a man disadvantage after Lee Andrews was controversially sent off.

The experienced defender was harshly adjudged to have hauled Chester livewire Nathan Jarman to the deck.

Referee Peter Wright was quick to flash the red card, believing Andrews was the last man between Jarman and Joel Dixon’s goal.

The decision was condemned by Chester boss Young, who admitted his side were lucky to leave Borough Park with a point.

He said: “It wasn't a red card. If anything it was a free kick for Workington.

“Then, we got a goal we probably didn’t deserve. It was a great equaliser, but we weren’t good enough.

“We have to come to places like Workington, who have nothing to lose. They are fighting to stay in the league but that was our worst performance of the season.

“We were so poor it was unbelievable. Workington closed us down, and were in our faces, but we had to be brave. We struggled to do that.”

He described the 1-1 draw as the worst performance of the season – surpassing the only defeat Chester have suffered.

Following that loss to Boston in September, The Blues have now set a new league record with the draw at Workington.

Going 22 games without defeat, Chester have equalled Eastwood’s long-running streak set in 2011.

But that meant nothing as Workington threatened to end the run with a display of dogged determination.

From Dixon in goal to Gareth Arnison and Jonny Wright in attack, those in red gave everything they had for the cause.

Gari Rowntree, in particular, was outstanding at fullback, continually thwarting the marauding attacking force of Chester.

And the Workington-born defender proved his worth higher up the pitch too, harpooning a stunning equaliser.

Chester had taken the lead five minutes after the break, when Marc Williams headed home Antoni Sarcevic’s cross.

The lead barely lasted 120 seconds as Rowntree latched on to a loose ball and ran at the heart of the visitors' defence.

And, from 20 yards, he unleashed a fierce shot into that flew like an arrow the roof of the net, to restore parity. It was nothing less than the 10 men of Workington deserved either.

But after Darren Edmondson’s men got back on to level terms, they frustratingly dropped deeper, allowing Chester to press for a winner.

Fortunately, the defence stood firm and held on for the most unlikely of points.

Captain David Hewson added steel the midfield, with Joe McGee causing problems on the flanks.

And the Morecambe loanee had a chance to open the scoring minutes after Andrews’ red card.

But after breaking into the box from Arnison’s knock down, his weak left-foot shot was blocked by John Danby.

His opposite number Dixon was called into action two minutes later when he was forced to parry Williams’ volley over the bar.

Chester continued to push, with Jarman seeing his low drive blocked on the line by Rowntree.

In first half injury time, Williams was again denied, this time Dixon got down low to block the striker’s header.

Former Swansea City hitman Lee Trundle, who was once Carlisle United’s nemesis, was brought on for his Chester debut.

Given a 28-minute cameo, the tricky front man, spent little time getting into the thick of the action.

Two minutes after his arrival, he was sent sprawling in the box, but referee Wright waved away his penalty appeals.

And 12 minutes from time, Trundle had a glorious chance to win the match, but opted to turn inside his marker instead of shooting first time.

The delay allowed Workington’s defence to regroup and his shot eventually deflected for a corner.

Workington Reds: Dixon, Andrews, Rowntree, Johnson, Wordsworth, Boyd (Greenhalgh 70), McLuckie, Hewson, J Wright (A Wright 84), Arnison (Owusu Andrews 74), McGee. Subs (not used): Manship, Taylor

Crowd: 531

Referee: Peter Wright (Southport)

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