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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Workington Reds win County Cup

Workington Reds 2 Penrith 0: Two extra-time goals for Workington Reds secured a hard-fought victory in the Cumberland Cup final at Brunton Park on Wednesday night.

Striker Gareth Arnison struck first in the 101st minute when his looping header from a Jonny Wright cross found the back of the net.

And, with just two minutes remaining, Callum Ruttledge made sure of the win when he smashed home from close range.

The fact that Workington needed an extra 30 minutes to beat their lower-leagued opposition was a credit to the way Penrith went about the game. The 2-0 scoreline was harsh on the Blues because for large periods of the game they looked the better team.

Reds boss Darren Edmondson went with a strong starting line-up but his side came unstuck against a Penrith team that had played 120 minutes in the Northern League Cup semi-final just two days earlier.

The opening period saw Penrith playing much the better football but were unable to find a way though.

On 21 minutes, Penrith played a lovely sweeping move, which began with right back Mark Birch, and ended up with winger Matty Lea shooting over the bar.

Reds’ first effort of the game came minutes later when Anthony Wright’s in-swinging corner found the head of Jonny Wright but James Holland, in the Penrith goal, made a good reaction block to deny the Workington hitman.

Penrith strikers Daniel Robinson and Will Paul looked lively and the pair combined to slice open Workington’s defence on 30 minutes.

Paul’s ball to Robinson was neat and the front man shrugged off Reds defender Dean Gordon but keeper Adam Collin was out quickly and smothered the Robinson’s effort.

As half-time approached Birch hit a 30-yard free kick but Collin was equal to it, diving low to his right.

Edmondson replaced Lee McCullough at half-time and brought on Arnison, who made an immediate impact.

Jonny Wright looked more composed now that his strike partner was on and the two combined well just before the hour mark.

Wright fed a through ball for Arnison to chase. Holland came out for it but the striker was too quick and took it off his fingertips.

With no time to think, Arnison curled a great effort from right on the goal-line but fortunately for Penrith the crossbar came to their rescue.

Former Reds midfielder Dean Douglas had an impressive game and he brought a smart save from Collin with just 10 minutes of normal time left.

Extra time saw both teams going for the win.

It was real end-to-end stuff and Workington took the lead after 101 minutes.

Jonny Wright’s precise cross found the head of Arnison, who nodded the ball over Holland and into the far corner.

Reds could have had a second just before the break but Jonny Wright’s header was saved.

Workington should have been out of sight a minute after the restart, when a smooth move involving Tony Hopper, Jonny Wright and Arnison put the goal ace through but he somehow missed the target.

Douglas then managed to jink his way through the Workington defence but his tame effort was easy for Collin.

Penrith dominated late on and pinned Workington into their box.

The Borough Park club couldn’t clear the ball and Penrith had chance after chance to put the ball into the net.

However, it wasn’t to be and Reds broke away to score a second. An Arnison header was saved by Holland, Penrith failed to clear the ball and Ruttledge hit home from 10 yards out.

Afterwards, Reds boss Edmondson said he was proud of the way his players went about the game.

He added: “I think we played some good football out there tonight and deserved the win.

“The game was a bit physical, but you expect that in these kind of matches.

“I am delighted for everyone connected with the club that we have been able to get out name on the trophy this season.

“When you get into semi-finals and finals you want to win it and you can see by the side I put out we wanted to win it.”

Penrith’s joint manager Richard Prokas said he couldn’t fault his side for the effort they put into the game.

“We put in a great performance,” he said.

“If Workington are three or four divisions ahead of us then tonight you couldn’t tell and I think that is a credit to us.

“I cannot fault the lads for their effort, they gave it their all but it wasn’t to be our night.”

Workington: Collin, Langford, A Wright, Gordon, Andrews, McCullough (Arnison 45), Bromley (Hardman 58), Hopper, Ruttledge, J Wright, Robinson. Subs not used: Mitchell, Main, Rossi

Penrith: Holland, Birch, Jones, Thorntonm (Gray 83), Robertson, Lynn (Reed 102), Douglas, Anthony (Brown 45), Robinson, Paul, Lea. Subs not used: Blaylock, Prokas

Star man: Dean Douglas was sensational and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

Referee: Chris Blackhouse (Brampton)

Attendance: 344


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