Arnison grabs two but Wright stars as Workington Reds open with big win
Published at 11:11, Monday, 20 August 2012
Workington Reds 4 Stalybridge Celtic 1: Workington Reds got their season off to a flier with a stunning 4-1 win over Stalybridge Celtic.
Boss Darren Edmondson described the victory as “one of the best overall 90 minutes we have put together in a long time”.
Workington waltzed to the win, playing some attractive football and outclassing their full-time opponents.
Gareth Arnison scored either side of the break and missed a penalty, during the victory.
His strike partner Jonny Wright was Reds’ star man, scoring once, and creating another during a virtuoso 78-minute performance.
Wright is not only Workington’s talisman, he’s also one of the best hold-up players in Conference North.
Stefan Scott made sure of the win late on as Workington went joint top of the league.
Goalkeeper Aaran Taylor made two incredible saves to ensure Reds ran out winners. But it was an injury to his opposite number Andy Ralph, which was the game’s major talking point.
Ralph broke his leg in two places after colliding with Phil McLuckie with less than three minutes on the clock.
Play was stopped for eight minutes while Ralph received medical attention.
He was taken to Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital but his season could be over after fracturing his tibia and fibula.
Edmondson said: “We really turned it on at times, and played some incredible football.
“It was very pleasing to watch and I was pleased because no one expected us to win by that margin.”
New recruit Niall Cowperthwaite made his debut at right back, while captain David Hewson was a surprise starter in the middle of midfield.
It took Workington 13 minutes to register the first shot, but Mark Boyd’s well-hit free kick went straight to substitute goalkeeper Ashley Woodhouse.
The set piece was awarded after Joel Bembo-Leta, who did his best to impersonate a footballer all day but failed miserably, pushed Wright in the back.
Bembo-Leta’s shocker continued when a lack of communication with Woodhouse saw the keeper pick up the defender’s back pass.
An indirect free kick was awarded and Boyd’s fierce drive was handled by Mark Lees.
Referee Andrew Miller immediately pointed to the spot and Arnison stepped up to net the perfect penalty.
High into the corner of the net, Woodhouse dived the wrong way, as Workington grabbed the initiative.
It was 2-0 less than 60 seconds later, when another mix up in the Celtic defence led to Wright stealing in to prod the ball into an empty net.
Celtic reduced the deficit to make it three goals in as many minutes when the dangerous Mitchell Austin stole the ball off an indecisive Cowperthwaite, before driving past Taylor.
And the visitors came within inches of levelling before the break but Taylor made the first of his two incredible saves to deny Austin, who ghosted in at the back post to head goalwards from range.
Putting a big fist up, Taylor managed to get the slightest touch to ball just past the post.
Workington could have put the match to bed five minutes after the restart when Wright was upended by Bembo-Leta inside the box.
Arnison again stepped up to take the penalty, went the same way, but Woodhouse guessed correctly and palmed the ball away.
The follow-up shot struck the post before Celtic cleared.
Arnison came within inches of restoring the two-goal lead on 58 minutes but stabbed wide, after some beautiful play by Hewson and Mark Sloan.
And Arnison went close minutes later, but headed Gari Rowntree’s free kick over the bar with the goal gaping.
At the other end, Taylor pulled off another superb stop when he stopped Austin just after the hour.
Back peddling, the custodian got finger tips to the winger’s attempt, after a long ball caught the Workington defence out.
Less than 60 seconds later, Workington were 3-1 up when Wright played a delicious ball down the right channel for Arnison, who muscled past Jordan Barrow, before rounding Woodhouse, composing himself and firing in from 12 yards.
The game was put to bed eight minutes from time when Arnison turned provider, playing the marauding Rowntree in.
Racing down the left wing, the defender chipped Woodhouse and Scott came charging in to volley home.
And the young striker came close to making it five in stoppage time but after brushing past Sam Egerton, saw his low shot saved.
Workington Reds: Taylor, Cowperthwaite, Rowntree, May, Andrews, Boyd (Simpson 84), Sloan (Scott 78), Hewson, Wright (Wraighte 78), Arnison, McLuckie. Subs not used: Routledge
Referee: Andrew Miller (Durham)
Star man: Gareth Arnison scored twice and helped set up the fourth, Mark Sloan put in a strong shift in the middle of the park, but Jonny Wright was the best player on the pitch. The striker scored, assisted and tormented the Celtic defence.
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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