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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Superb team display nets Workington Reds win at Droylsden

Droylsden 0 Workington Reds 1: Workington produced the perfect dress rehearsal for this Saturday’s big FA Cup clash against Rushden and Diamonds at Borough Park.

Workington Reds action photo
Gareth Arnison, right

In stretching their winning sequence to four games with the best performance of the season to beat the Blue Square North leaders, Reds hoisted themselves to 12th in the table.

But with £12,000 at stake this weekend Workington showed that if they apply themselves in a similar fashion at Borough Park they will have a great opportunity to pocket that tasty prize – with power to add.

For basically this was a stunning team effort – hard-working, committed and efficient in all areas of the field. Although they didn’t see the ball as much as their hosts they prevented them from making serous progress throughout the game.

Workington were well-organised, with two banks of four – defence and midfield – providing a formidable barrier through which Droylsden simply couldn’t find a way through.

Although they passed the ball for fun, on many occasions they were forced to go back and play across their back four as they just couldn’t find openings further forward. It was clear that by the hour mark the Bloods had just run out of ideas, a testament to the stranglehold that Workington had put on the game.

Tony Caig had one serious save to make in the whole match, and he was also beaten by a 30-yarder which smashed against the bar, but otherwise received excellent cover from the men in front of him and it was generally routine work for him collecting crosses.

By contrast former Carlisle keeper Chris Howarth had to make two excellent saves in the second-half to deny Gareth Arnison a hat-tick.

Workington now have the second tightest defence in the League – just 14 goals conceded in 13 games and were the first team in Blue Square North to shut-out the Bloods, who previously had averaged three goals a game.

Picking a man of the match was difficult, simply because everyone played their part, but the two central defenders Kyle May and Tom Aldred, along with the two central midfielders Shaun Vipond and Tony Hopper were outstanding.

But no one typifies more the approach to the game Reds need than Phil McLuckie, a bundle of energy down the right hand side – helping out in both attack and defence.

Reds – who actually played in their new blue change strip – had got off to a great start with a superb goal on six minutes.

Anthony Wright intercepted a weak clearance from Liam Brownhill and immediately fed Jonny Wright.

The centre-forward turned smartly before threading a super ball between the two Droylsden centre-backs for Arnison to take in his stride.

It was a clinical finish from the Reds forward as he went on a yard before sliding the ball under the diving Howarth from just outside the area.

Droylsden’s first effort on goal came after 15 minutes when Alex Brown cut the ball back from the left and Tony Gray’s first time shot was under-hit so Caig got down smartly and held it on the line.

The nearest Droylsden did come to an equaliser came after 29 minutes when former Barrow midfielder Paul Brown tried his luck from 35 yards and with Caig beaten saw the ball bounce back from the cross-bar before Reds cleared.

In the second-half Droylsden just couldn’t penetrate a well-drilled, organised Workington side and the collective defending employed by the Cumbrians frustrated the home fans and players alike.

Workington could have doubled their lead when good work by Vipond released Arnison but Howarth made a good diving save to block.

Then when Anthony Wright slipped Arnison into space it was almost a repeat as again Howarth did well to block the shot.

Those who remembered last year’s clash at the Butcher’s Arm will recall that Reds took an early lead only to be pegged back by a late equaliser.

But despite referee Richard Bartlett playing a good five minutes, after four had been announced (remember we were playing in Manchester), Droylsden didn’t look repeating that late rescue act and Workington were thoroughly deserving of all three points.

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