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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Workington Reds battle to point at home against Alfreton

Workington Reds 0 Alfreton 0: Title favourites Alfreton’s flawless away record was dented as Workington Reds fought hard to secure a battling point.

Kyle May photo
Kyle May

Darren Edmondson’s men held their own against a team that has not lost against the west Cumbrians since 2006.

Reds were made to work for the point and in doing so kept just their third clean sheet of the season.

Alfreton boss Nicky Law was left frustrated after his side missed a number of chances to seal the win.

Afterwards he said: “It’s disappointing when you come away from home and try and win but the home side are playing for a draw.

“The first half was scrappy but we had chances to win it. I’m frustrated that we haven’t come away with the points we deserved.”

The visitors included three debutants in their line-up with Chris MacKenzie, Theo Streete and Scott Garner are wearing the Alfreton yellow for the first time.

Workington welcomed their talismanic front man Jonny Wright back after a 13 week layoff with a broken coccyx.

Wright started on the bench after loanee Billy Greulich missed out through an injury of his own.

Edmondson opted to start with the same side that beat Gainsborough 4-2 last time out but it was Alfreton who started the game on top.

Playing some neat, passing football, the visitors kept the ball well but failed to create many chances.

Reds’ backline was stayed strong and the midfield worked tirelessly to keep Alfreton’s chances to a minimum.

That determined style of play ended Shaun Vipond’s afternoon as he limped off midway through the half.

The tough-tackling midfielder took two knocks to his left ankle in as many minutes and withdrew.

He spent the rest of the game nursing his injured ankle with ice, while Adam Main took his place in the arena.

Alfreton were a physical and strong side and their over-exuberance in challenges frustrated Edmondson, who remonstrated with referee Anthony Backhouse.

His cries fell on deaf ears and Town continued to try and bully the Workington lads.

In Aaran Taylor, Reds have an up-and-coming star. His handling was excellence, keeping hold of crosses and his footwork was equally as impressive.

The only chance of the first half came on 37 minutes. Captain David Hewson was lucky not to net at the wrong end when he headed an Alfreton corner onto his own cross bar.

The danger was cleared and a few minutes later, fans, players and club officials were screaming for a penalty.

Nick Rogan cleverly flicked the ball over his marker, who looked to have handled in the box.

Referee Backhouse waved away the protests to the fury of Edmondson, who lambasted the official.

Reds were chasing every ball and their determination almost paid off when Anthony Wright blocked Streete’s clearance. Luckily for the big defender, the ricochet went over the bar.

The second half was a livelier affair with both sides looking for the win. Within two minutes of the restart, danger man Paul Clayton lofted a volley over the bar after good work from Nathan Howell.

Phil McLuckie and Lee Andrews were both denied within the space on 60 seconds.

First Hewson played Gareth Arnison in down the left. His cross found McLuckie in the centre but his shot was deflected for a corner.

From the set piece McLuckie headed goalwards and Andrews’ header was cleared off the line.

MacKenzie made a great reaction save to deny the defender his second goal of the season.

Kyle May was next to try his luck from the edge of the box but his effort was straight at MacKenzie.

On the hour mark, the game burst into life with chance after chance being created at both ends.

First to try his luck was Howell but he headed over from Connor Franklin’s left wing cross.

Clayton was replaced by the energetic Liam Hearn whose pace scared the Workington defence.

Andrews picked up a yellow card for scything the striker down just minutes after his arrival.

Alfreton’s Matthew Wilson was their main goal threat and the midfielder went close three times to winning the tie. On each occasion he failed to hit the target.

Wright made his arrival on 72 minutes, coming on for Rogan, who was carrying a hamstring injury.

Wright’s appearance was his first since the 1-0 defeat to Telford on November 16.

He had two chances to win the game but a rusty first touch let him down on each occasion.

His namesake Anthony had a glorious chance to seal the win with eight minutes left but his volley was miss-hit, which allowed MacKenzie to gather.

Kyle May made sure Workington earned a point by throwing himself in front of Wilson’s goal-bound effort as Edmondson’s side held out for a deserved point.

Star man: Kyle May was immense at the back and played a major role in keeping Alfreton out.

Team: Taylor, Smyth, Langford, May, Andrews, Vipond (Main 27), McLuckie, Hewson, Arnison, Rogan (J Wright 72), A Wright. Subs not used: Murray-Jones, Blake, Tinnion.

Attendance: 348

Referee: Anthony Backhouse (Cumbria)

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