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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Mwasile's early strike earns Workington Reds the points at Gloucester

Gloucester 0 Workington Reds 1: Manager Darren Edmondson had called for a response from his troops after the home mauling by Bradford PA two weeks ago.

Joe Mwasile photo
Joe Mwasile

Well, he got it in bucketsful at Whadden Road as Workington grabbed their third away victory, their first-ever at the home of Cheltenham Town.

In fact when Joe Mwasile knocked-in the fourth minute goal, which eventually proved to be the winner, it was the first time that Reds had netted on the ground in three attempts.

The only real surprise was that Workington didn’t go on and win by a more comfortable margin. As is always the case with a slender advantage there is always the concern that it might not prove enough over 90 minutes.

Gloucester did have a couple of opportunities to get back on terms but not as many as Workington had to extend their advantage.

It was a thoroughly impressive all-round team performance from the visitors. When three or four players are in contention for man of the match you know it’s been a good effort.

Any winning display away from home has to be built on a solid work ethic and that was at the heart of Workington’s game plan as they closed down and pressed in all areas of the pitch.

The bonus for Edmo, his team and the small band of Workington supporters who made the long trip, was the clean sheet – only the third of the season and the first in Blue Square North.

The hard graft put in by the whole team, around the bed-rock of a solid defence, meant that Aaran Taylor was only rarely extended.

There was certainly an urgency about the Cumbrians from the first whistle and they started much the better side, with Gloucester struggling to make progress into the Reds’ half of the field.

Reds went ahead on four minutes after some good build-up play down the right and Phil McLuckie’s low cross went all the way through to Mwasile who had a simple tap in at the far post.

Gloucester, who had ended a losing run in midweek with a narrow 1-0 home win over Boston, were slow to respond and Workington continued to look the more purposeful side.

Gareth Arnison clipped the top of the bar with a header when he got to the near post to meet a Gari Rowntree corner. Then Arnison had keeper Mike Green struggling by the foot of a post to keep out his drilled shot on the run.

McLuckie almost doubled the lead on 27 minutes. He came late into the box to lift the ball over Green but skipper Matt Coupe was covering well to get back and divert the goal-bound effort to safety.

This was more like the McLuckie of old, getting round the pitch to good purpose – winning the ball and using it quickly and effectively.

Gloucester were only briefly in contention during the first-half when Adam Mann got to the by-line and as Taylor tangled with Will Morford trying to deal with the low cross it spun inches beyond the far post.

The half ended, in fact, with Taylor going full length to make a save from a half-hit shot by Mann.

Gloucester, presumably, had some harsh words spoken to them during the break for there was certainly more urgency about them in the second period. But Workington countered well in defence, the back four all making solid contributions so that Taylor was never seriously tested.

He did lose one cross but redeemed himself with a brave dive among the flying boots to palm away, and then right at the end of the game he went down well to hold a downward header from Tom Hamblin.

Workington also had their moments in attack, even though they didn’t enjoy as much possession as in the first-half.

Jonny Wright got away on one occasion but opted against the angled chip over the advancing Green and went for the low shot on the run which swerved wide.

Then when new signing Jonathan Hooper came on as a substitute for the last 20 minutes he could have marked his debut with a goal. McLuckie drove into the box and probably put too much on the low cross as Hooper was unable to get a touch on the six yard line.

The victory moved Reds up to ninth in the table, just five points off the play-offs but Edmondson knows his side can expect a tough month with three of the next four matches away from home – and the clash at Borough Park on December 22 is against League leaders Chester.

Workington Reds: Taylor, Cowperthwaite, Rowntree, May, Andrews, Hewson, McLuckie, Vaulks, J. Wright (A. Wright 87), Arnison (Hooper 68), Mwasile. Subs (not used) Boyd, Greenhalgh, Dixon.

Referee: Mick Pottage, Dorset

Crowd: 230

Star man - Phil McLuckie was outstanding in midfield but the most remarkable performance came from LEE ANDREWS in defence.

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