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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Workington Reds silence Tamworth's Lambs in FA Trophy

FA Trophy: Tamworth 0 Workington Reds 1: Workington produced their best performance of the season to avenge a recent home defeat by Blue Square North leaders Tamworth.

Jonny Wright photo
Jonny Wright

With an unbeaten run of 15 league games behind them, and confident after the 4-1 victory at Borough Park last month, the Lambs went into the FA Trophy tie as hot favourites.

But after a promising opening 20 minutes they generally had to play second-best to a Workington side who genuinely looked the ones most likely to grab a winner the longer the game went on.

Jonny Wright grabbed the all-important goal on 77 minutes and apart from one late scare in stoppage time Workington eased through to the finish line to collect a welcome cheque for £4,000 – and the opportunity to earn more.

It was Workington’s first away win of the season, but the significance could be immense, given Tamworth’s impressive record this term.

Remarkably, given their lowly League position, Reds have drawn at Southport, AFC Telford and were all square after 90 minutes in an FA Cup-tie at Harrogate – who with Tamworth occupy promotion/play-off positions.

Delighted manager Darren Edmondson said: “It is down to belief and we are trying to impress on this group of players that we have the ability to take on anybody in the League. We do not need to be frightened of anybody.

“We had a daft 20 minutes against Tamworth which is why we lost 4-1 and I thought if we could defend well as a team and also get at them a bit, we would have a chance.

“Jonny Wright’s return from injury has made a big difference to us and he had an immense game. There were a lot of good performances throughout the team and I was delighted for them.”

Workington will now be looking for good fortune in today’s draw and if they do get a game at Borough Park on December 13 they won’t have to travel again until Boxing Day.

Tamworth, as their record suggests, are a capable side and they did force the pace early on when Workington had their most anxious moments.

Two early corners were eventually hacked clear; the dangerous Bradley Pritchard fired high over the angle of post and bar from a good position and Gareth Sheldon lifted a free kick over the wall and just outside the post.

But from the midway point Workington started to pose questions themselves and before the break had carved out much the better opportunities.

Anthony Wright went closest with a thundering shot which came back off the bar while keeper David Bevan, on loan from Aston Villa, was fortunate to keep out a shot from Jonny Wright with his legs as he went the wrong way.

Jonny Wright and Gareth Arnison also linked up well down the left but the pull-back flew invitingly across a gaping goal with no-one there to apply the finishing touches.

Bevan went down smartly to hold a shot from Jonny Wright; a speculative effort from Anthony Wright flew just over the bar while Shaun Vipond wasn’t too far away with a free kick from just outside the area.

Good signs them from Reds as the half closed but it was an ascendancy they enjoyed from the re-start, with more possession and territory than their hosts.

Adam Collin was a spectator to much of what happened in the second period, although his opposite number Bevan had not much serious work to do himself.

But Workington, showing a great aptitude for work all over the pitch – pressing, harassing and closing down the home side – were growing in confidence, and looked increasingly like the team who could win the game if we were to avoid a replay on Tuesday.

The breakthrough came on 77 minutes when Gari Rowntree hoisted a ball down the left hand-side for Jonny Wright to chase. He got there first and despite being hotly pursued by three Tamworth defenders he held them all off before guiding the ball beyond the advancing Bevan into the bottom corner.

Reds might have even doubled their advantage soon afterwards when Arnison had a shot blocked in the six yard box.

Tamworth threw former Carlisle United defender Craig McAughtrie forward into attack for the closing minutes as he was brought on as a late substitute.

It was McAughtrie who almost set-up a Borough Pak replay. He rose well to reach a left wing cross and his header evaded the diving Collin, struck the post and ran along the line where it was cleared by Rowntree.

The assistant referee was perfectly positioned on the far side to wave aside shouts from the Tamworth players and supporters that it had crossed the line.

Workington haven’t had much luck this season but that really would have been rough justice if a goal had been given to deny the Cumbrians a deserved victory.

With no need for a Trophy replay Workington will now be in action on Wednesday night when they host Frizington White Star in the third round of the Cumberland Cup.

MATCH FACTS

Workington: Collin, Hewson, Rowntree, May, Andrews, McLuckie, Vipond, Hopper, J. Wright, Arnison, A. Wright. Subs (not used): Hardman, Robinson, Coleman, Edmondson.

Referee: R. Thornley, Stockport

Crowd: 433

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