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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Solihull Motors punish poor Workington Reds defending

Solihull Motors 2 Workington Reds 0: Workington’s persistent habit of giving away soft goals cost them dearly again at Damson Park as they slipped to defeat.

Nick Rogan photo
Nick Rogan

For the most part they were the better footballing side, with more possession and territorial advantage than their hosts, but they couldn’t accept the chances that came their way.

And crucially, their defending was found wanting again as two second-half strikes were typical of the kind of goals they have given away all season.

A 58th-minute corner was struck deep beyond the far post where Solihull defender Dominic Langdon powered in a header which thumped the underside of the bar and dropped over the line before it was steered into the net.

The second was an even bigger catastrophe. Matt Smith won the first header to put pressure on the Reds defence but with too many people undecided, Junior English got in first and his header evaded Aaron Taylor to find the bottom corner.

Really, those were the only times that the Workington defence was seriously tested in the second half which Reds dominated for long periods.

They had also taken the goalless first-half on points but there are no marks for technical merit, style or presentation in football and they were made to pay for their slack defending later in the game.

In tackling Solihull, the Reds were taking-on the form team in Blue Square Bet North and their ultimate victory stretched their unbeaten run to 12 games.

But any neutral observer who didn’t know the relative stats would have taken Workington to be the team in the better form.

Darren Edmondson’s men thought they had taken the lead on 20 minutes with a quality goal. Good work by Phil McLuckie and Shaun Vipond released Nick Rogan into the area and he pulled the ball back perfectly for Jonny Wright to smash home.

Celebrations were cut short, however, when the flag was seen to be raised indicating that Rogan had just been offside when he received the pass.

Rogan, who was lively throughout and is growing into his forward role with the Reds, was also involved in a good penalty shout almost on half-time.

There didn’t seem a lot wrong with Charlie O’Laughlin’s challenge but when the referee blew for a foul he should have pointed to the penalty spot. The incident clearly occurred inside the area but he chose to give Reds a free-kick a yard outside.

Anthony Wright teed up the ball for Jonny Wright and his fierce shot rebounded off the Solihull wall to Andy Langford whose shot was deflected behind for an unfruitful corner.

Taylor had only two saves to make in the whole game – both in a two-minute spell midway through the first-half.

Simon Johnson was the attacker in both instances – first cutting in from the left and seeing a shot easily held almost on the line by Taylor. Then he burst clear in the inside right channel and this time his shot was better struck and the Workington keeper did well to palm it behind for a corner.

The best save of the game came from Jasbir Singh early in the second-half when Rogan looked to have given Reds the lead. Vipond lifted a clever ball forward into the box which Rogan collected on his chest and then fired in a cracking low drive which Singh did really well to get down to and push round the post. Workington also produced the best move of the match from which they were within a whisker of levelling the scores on 62 minutes.

Anthony Wright fed in Dave Hewson on the left and the skipper rolled his man cleverly before firing across a low ball. Phil McLuckie put the Solihull defence on the wrong foot by cleverly stepping over the ball and letting it run through to Jonny Wright who turned and shot in one movement but cruelly saw his effort curl inches past the foot of the post.

Disappointingly all Reds’ best efforts came to nothing and, in the end, their lack of decisive defending at vital moments, cost them even a share of the spoils.

Workington Reds: Taylor, Smyth, Langford (Murray-Jones 77), May, Andrews, Vipond, McLuckie (Tinnion 71), Hewson (Main 83), J. Wright, Rogan, A. Wright. Subs (not used) Hindmarch, Blake.

Referee: David Plowright, Nottingham

Crowd: 267

Star man: Nick Rogan – Continuing to up his game as fitness returns and was Workington’s liveliest performer throughout.

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