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Thursday, 10 July 2014

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Few positives as Workington Reds lose at home to Oxford

Workington Reds 1 Oxford City 2: Workington Reds’ search for an elusive home victory moves into its 104th day as Oxford City extended the dismal run to six winless matches.

Joe Greenhalgh photo
Joe Greenhalgh controls under pressure

Not since relegation favourites Droylsden visited on October 30 have the Borough Park faithful had something to celebrate.

Four defeats and two draws have followed, including the 6-1 humbling at the hands of Bradford Park Avenue.

Only the three teams occupying the drop zone have worse home records than Workington, who have lost half of their 12 matches on west Cumbrian soil.

The unwanted run continued on Saturday as Oxford netted either side of the break to run out 2-1 winners.

And that was despite boss Darren Edmondson having both Jonny Wright and captain David Hewson back.

There were few positives to take from the loss, as Reds, who remain seven points above the relegation zone, again failed to put away their chances.

It was a frustrating case of déjà vu, but could have been different had Gareth Arnison netted with either of his two injury-time efforts.

Unfortunately, a combination of poor control and good defending stopped the top scorer finding the net. But those two chances only capped off another bad day in front of goal.

Wright was first to miss, heading straight at goalkeeper Matt Ingram from close range with nine minutes on the clock.

The striker was unmarked when Gari Rowntree’s free-kick was floated in, but couldn’t direct his effort into the back of the net.

Joe Greenhalgh was next to miss the target, lashing wildly over the bar after great work by loan star Joe McGee.

The tricky Morecambe winger used quick footwork to fashion the opportunity for Greenhalgh, who failed to hit the target from 18 yards.

Only last-gasp defending stopped Wright firing Workington in front on 26 minutes.

Andy Gunn’s reactions denied him the opening goal, heading off the line after the No9’s driven effort was deflected.

Oxford were fortunate to still be level, and had another slice of luck to take the lead as a wicked deflection in their favour broke the deadlock.

Two minutes after Wright’s shot was blocked, City went in front through Mark Bell.

The midfielder’s weak effort from 25 yards hit Hewson, lunging in to block the shot, and wrong-footed Jonathan Mitchell.

Mitchell could do nothing to stop the ball trickling slowly into the net.

Winger McGee was a constant threat with his neat footwork, and had a chance to level minutes before the break, but his 16-yard shot was again straight at Ingram.

Oxford took just seven minutes after the restart to double their advantage.

Ashan Holgate, City’s most potent threat, latched on to a long through ball. As he approached the Workington box, he was squared up by Kyle May.

Turning back on his preferred right foot, Holgate drove low and hard to score at the near post.

The game became disjointed after that with neither side producing much in the attacking third.

A flurry of substitutions and time-wasting tactics by Oxford were the only moments of note.

That was until Wright halved the deficit with five minutes left.

Oxford failed to clear a Workington corner, Phil McLuckie put the ball back across goal, and this time the unmarked Wright prodded in from two yards.

As time ran out, Workington pushed forward, but couldn’t find a way back into the game.

The first of Arnison’s two chances came on 93 minutes, but his control from Mark Boyd’s floated pass let him down, and then only a late sliding challenge denied the hitman.

Workington Reds: Mitchell, Andrews (Owusu Andrews 67), Rowntree, May, Wordsworth, Hewson (Boyd 70), McLuckie, Greenhalgh (Manship 74), J Wright, Arnison, McGee. Subs: A Wright, Smith.

Attendance: 312

Referee: M Bristow

Star man: Joe McGee was a pain for the Oxford defenders. His trickery created numerous openings.

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