Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Workington Reds win fifth game in row to keep play-offs dream alive

Workington Reds 1 Fleetwood Town 0: Veteran keeper Tony Caig pulled off a world-class save to keep Workington Reds’ play-off dream alive in a thrilling 1-0 win over league leaders Fleetwood.

Workington Reds action photo
Phil McLuckie is stopped

The big shot-stopper rolled back the years to thwart Fleetwood’s Nathan Pond with just 12 minutes remaining.

It looked certain that Pond would fire the visitors level when he took aim with just Caig standing in his way but the 35-year-old stuck out a hand and beat his six-yard effort to safety.

Reds held out to secure their fifth win in a row in the Blue Square North and still remain a point off the play-offs but do have games in hand over their nearest rivals.

It was a fast and furious match with both sides having to adapt to blustery conditions at Borough Park.

Reds reacted best and took a deserved lead on 13 minutes when Phil McLuckie stabbed home at the second attempt.

Gareth Arnison teamed up well with Callum Ruttledge down the right and his perfect, low cross found McLuckie unmarked in the middle of the goal.

His first shot was blocked by Danny Hurst in the Fleetwood net but the midfielder was quickest to react and he poked the ball in with Hurst well beaten.

Reds could have taken the lead even earlier but Arnison, who was sent through on goal by skipper Tony Hopper, his a weak shot that was simple for Hurst to gather.

Reds put their table-topping visitors to shame at times with their neat passing and tenacious tackling.

At the heart of Reds’ play was David Hewson who ran the show alongside McLuckie and Hopper.

Reds approach play was unsettling for Fleetwood and keeper Hurst was having a nightmare. He looked unnerved and heaped more pressure on his side was poor clearances and flapped at crosses.

Hurst almost gifted Reds a second goal when he attempted to let a long ball go out for a corner but Arnison had other ideas.

The tall striker nipped in to steal the ball but as he cut in field Hurst got back in position and gathered his high shot.

Fleetwood failed to register a shot on target throughout the opening period and were almost two behind in injury time when Ruttledge swung and shot but his effort went harmlessly wide.

If Fleetwood were toothless in the first half then they definitely came out fighting in the second.

With the wind behind them, the league’s top side went all guns blazing to make sure they left west Cumbria with at least a point.

But in their way was some awesome Reds defending with Kyle May leading the way.

The experienced defender put in block after block to deny Fleetwood a share of the spoils.

Fleetwood could and should have been level within a minute of the restart when Lee Thorpe latched onto Lee Andrews’ misplaced header.

Thorpe was through on goal but the immense May raced back and made the perfect tackle to keep the score 1-0.

Caig then denied Anthony Barry when he palmed away his vicious in-swinging corner, which looked certain to creep under the bar.

With the wind behind them Fleetwood kept pumping the ball into the Reds penalty box but Ruttledge did ease the pressure with a mazy run down the right hand side.

Fleetwood upped the pressure with 15 minutes to go and brought on strikers Nick Rogan and Gareth Seddon in a bid to change the match.

Their fresh legs tormented the Reds defence with strong running but Workington remained a strong unit and gave nothing away.

Fullback Andy Langford epitomised that with a block on the line from Barry with Caig beaten.

Two minutes from time Fleetwood had a golden chance to level the tie after substitute Shaun Vipond brought down Jamie Maguire 20 yards out.

As Caig was organising his wall, Barry took a quick free kick but missed the target with the goal gaping.

That miss proved costly as Reds kept the ball for the five minutes of added time to see out an invaluable win that keeps their play-off dreams alive.

Team: Caig, Langford, Rowntree, May, Andrews, Hewson (Vipond 83), McLuckie, Hopper, Ruttledge (J Wright 72), Arnison, Hindmarch (Tinnion 90) Subs not used: Blake, Taylor.

Star man: David Hewson was colossal in the middle of the park. He ran the show alongside Tony Hopper and Phil McLuckie.

Attendance: 731

Referee: Steve Smith (Darlington)



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