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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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New boys help inspire Workington Reds to win at Colwyn Bay

Colwyn Bay 1 Workington Reds 4: After a dismal week for the club, Workington Reds finally found some cheer in north Wales with an important victory.

Four lost points through the Will Vaulks affair and the subsequent resignation of secretary Steve Durham, allied to a midweek home defeat had suddenly made Saturday’s game a relegation issue.

Victory for Colwyn Bay, who had started the day in the third and final relegation place, would have put them just one point behind the Reds.

So there was every reason for manager Darren Edmondson to feel satisfied with his side’s performance as they swept to a clear-cut victory to put some daylight between themselves and the Seagulls.

Edmondson could also take a bow for yet another good piece of loanee recruitment following the efforts of James Bolton, Andre De Costa, Will Vaulks and Joe Mwasile in Workington colours.

For his latest signing, 19-year-old Morecambe midfielder Joe McGee had an outstanding debut - scoring the opening goal and having a hand in the three second-half goals which put Reds out of sight.

Busy, comfortable on the ball and with some dangerous running at opposition defenders, he was understandably a big hit with the travelling group of Workington supporters who enjoyed their day out on the Welsh coast.

Edmondson had been trying to get him for a few weeks and, initially on a month’s loan, might be able to keep him until the end of the season if all is well with the player and his club.

There was also a scoring debut for Joseph St Juste, a former Leeds United junior whose career has been curtailed by injury, and whose most recent club has been Garforth Town.

With Joe Greenhalgh capping another very capable and solid effort in midfield with a splendid first goal for the club it was a good day all round for the new boys.

The perfect afternoon would have been rounded off by a clean sheet, so it might be rather churlish to say that was the one blot on Reds’ performance, but it did come late in the game when the points were in the bag.

Reds had actually had the chance to go in front in the first minute when Gari Rowntree lifted a ball into the box. Although Gareth Arnison slipped, he had beaten the offside trap and was able to pick himself up before shooting from close range but keeper Chris Sanna mad a timely block with his legs.

Immediately Colwyn Bay countered and after a good run down the left Rob Hopley’s cross was perfect for anyone taller than Alex Meecham, who just couldn’t jump high enough to convert a good chance.

That was Reds’ only moment of alarm in the first-half and they created several opportunities themselves. The best two both came from McGee – a shot on the run which Sanna went down well to hold, and another drive from the edge of the area which skimmed the angle of post and bar.

It was McGee who broke the deadlock on 43 minutes. Arnison played him into space on the right and he made a couple of yards into the box before slamming an angled low drive beyond Sanna into the bottom corner.

Then two minutes into the second-half be became provider. Out on the right he produced a fine, deep cross which saw Phil McLuckie rise high at the far post to head downwards and into the back of the net.

There was a bite and determination about the Workington play and they went further ahead on 58 minutes. This time McGee produced a lovely flighted ball over the top for McLuckie to chase down the right. He went on and then sent-in a delicious, curling low cross behind the last Colwyn Bay defender which was met by the unmarked St Juste with a fine, controlled finish past Sanna.

Workington were in complete control and it was no real surprise when they added a fourth on 73 minutes.

This time McGee ran at veteran defender Frank Sinclair, skipped round him and pulled back a hard-driven low cross which was only half cleared to the edge of the area.

It was Greenhalgh who seized his opportunity and crashed a superb shot beyond Sanna, with the keeper rooted to the spot.

Colwyn Bay had no answers, apart from a close-range header from Meecham, which was brilliantly turned over by a reflex save from Jonathan Mitchell.

So, therefore, it was disappointing when they did salvage a consolation on 78 minutes. The Workington defence, for once, was unhinged by a diagonal ball over the top, a clever back heel from Hopley and a well-struck, angled shot from substitute Jason Lampkin which flew past Mitchell.

Even then Workington could have had another. McGee put Arnison away and when a return pass would have put the midfielder through, Reds’ top scorer opted to go on himself and as he was trying to skip round the keeper, Sanna was able to grab the ball off his feet.

Workington Reds: Mitchell, Cowperthwaite. Rowntree, May, Wordsworth, Hewson, McGee, Greenhalgh (A. Wright 75), Arnison, St. Juste (Boyd 63), McLuckie (Manship 75). Subs (not used) L. Andrews, Smith.

Referee: Rob Jones, Wirral

Crowd: 268

Star man: Joe McGee - Very impressive debut with a goal and three assists and a busy, skilful and productive performance.

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