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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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First-half display earns Reds victory

THIS was always going to be a targeted win for Darren Edmondson after the trials and tribulations of the summer for Burscough.

Reds 4 Burscough 1

Eleven players had moved on and only four newcomers brought in as the reserves from last season were given an early chance to establish themselves.

Reds were intent on making-up for a disappointing performance at Blyth on Saturday and the first-half was almost a mirror image in reverse of what happened at Croft Park.

The Spartans had led 3-0 at the break and this time it was Workington who had established a three-goal advantage by the break. The main difference was that Reds had opportunities at Blyth – Burscough had none.

There was also a sending-off at Borough Park with Burscough’s Sean Clancy given a straight red after a late, clumsy tackle on Tony Hopper in the 24th minute.

With a three-goal lead and a man advantage Reds might have been expected to push on in the second half and improve their goal-difference but that didn’t materialise. However, the west Cumbrians produced lots of good football and created enough chances to have doubled their tally but couldn’t add to it until nine minutes from time.

The one downside for manager Edmondson after collecting his first win of the season, was that Reds conceded from another set-piece – the sixth time in seven goals that this happened so far.

With both Craig Johnston and Andrew Hardman working, Edmondson had to make changes and he decided to alter things quite considerably after Saturday’s disappointment.

Kyle May was the only player in the back four who retained his starting position, although Lee Andrews did move infield from left-back.

Shaun Vipond was given his first start on the right-hand side of midfield and Gareth Arnison, in his second spell with the club, started up front for the first time.

It was a formula that worked because Reds dominated the game from the start, playing more constructive football in the opening 20 minutes than they had in the whole of Saturday’s choker.

It took only seven minutes for Reds to break the deadlock. Anthony Wright, moving infield from the left, played a clever ball inside the full-back for Jonny Wright to chase down on the right.

It looked as though he had been driven too wide but he collected and then turned past the covering defender before firing a sweet, left-footed shot through a crowded area and into the bottom corner beyond keeper Zak Hibbert.

Not surprisingly that was the first time Reds had led in a match this season and it did them good. They proceeded to dominate the first-half, with good, bright movement and controlled, measured football which was easy on the eye.

The second goal came on 14 minutes and was superbly finished by Tony Hopper.

Hibbert’s clearance kick from a back pass on the edge of his area was poor and fell straight to Hopper 40 yards out. Seizing his opportunity in Beckhamesque fashion he lifted the ball over the stranded keeper for a well-taken goal.

Worse was to follow for Burscough as Clancy was shown the red card by referee Bernard Law for a late tackle on Hopper.

Then on 28 minutes Reds scored again. More good build-up play ended with Graham Anthony dinking a clever flighted ball into the box where Jonny Wright finished with aplomb. Arriving late he cleverly guided the ball past Hibbert for his third goal of the season.

Arnison also arrived late to get on the end of another good ball into the box from Anthony but his first time shot flashed just over the bar. It was Arnison who was closest to adding to Workington’s lead in the second-half. He shot over from a good position after cutting in from the left; he smacked a header against the bar which dropped on the line and then he struck the outside of the post with Hibbert scrambling to get there.

Dan Robinson had his best game of the season, coming on to play wide right in the second-half, where he looked much more comfortable than he has done in a more central attacking role.

It came as something of a surprise when Burscough reduced the arrears with a goal on 77 minutes. Reds were caught-out at a free-kick again, and this time Adam Roscoe was the unmarked aerial challenger who whipped home a free header. Four minutes later Reds had restored their three-goal cushion.

Anthony took a short corner on the left and Anthony Wright shifted the ball onto his right foot before whipping in a low shot which skidded past the diving Hibbert. Job done – on the move at last, now the test will be to keep it going against stiffer opposition.

STAR MAN – LEE ANDREWS: Quite superb in the centre of defence, continuing to shine in an impressive personal start to the season.

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