Monday, 30 November 2015

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Workington Reds slump to heavy defeat at Fleetwood

Fleetwood 4 Workington Reds 0: Goals and confidence go hand-in-hand, as Darren Edmondson’s men found to their cost at the Highbury Stadium.

Short on goals, short on confidence, so Workington misfired again to suffer their biggest defeat since Darren Edmondson took over as manager almost two years ago.

Conversely Fleetwood, an ambitious club both on and off the field, were feeling pretty low themselves after a poor performance at Droylsden on Saturday had seen them lose 2-0.

But against the Reds, after just about deserving a 1-0 half-time lead, they had the boost of a second goal five minutes after the restart and that effectively sealed the game.

Oozing confidence now from that two-goal cushion Fleetwood took complete control and for the next 20 minutes or so Reds looked a shambles.

The home side oozed confidence, knocking the ball around well and virtually threatening on every attack. It was, from that point, a question of how many and, in many ways, Reds got off light.

Although they re-gathered their senses, rather like a boxer on the ropes clearing his head, the damage had been done and the fact they got through the last 18 minutes without any further addition to the scoreline was no consolation.

Four games without a win, two successive defeats and a fall down to fourth bottom are the grim facts staring out from scrutiny of the table.

Confidence is clearly at a low ebb and it seems to be a collective thing now as the team has been affected by some low-key individual performances.

Despite the score-line, in some ways, this was a better performance than the 1-0 home defeat to bottom side Northwich Victoria on Saturday. But the way Reds capitulated in those 20 minutes at the start of the second-half was the unpalatable side of it, which had the small band of Workington supporters heading for the exits well before the finish.

Getting back to basics, with hard graft, closing down the opposition and defending from the front, are the nuts and bolts for the re-building job which is needed for two home games coming up in the space of four days.

But back to the opening theme of goals and confidence – for the second defeat in a row Workington could have had the first goal on the board.

On Saturday, it was goalkeeper Curtis Aspden who denied Andy Cook in the 11th minute of the game when presented with a great opportunity to fire Reds ahead.

At the Highbury Stadium it was a superb defensive block by full-back Shaun Beeley which denied Anthony Wright after only five minutes.

A poor headed clearance from ex-Barrow centre-half Steve McNulty, making his Fleetwood debut, was picked-up by Matt Henney who fired over a good cross.

Although taking a deflection it found it’s way to the unmarked Wright inside the area who picked his spot and unleashed a strong goal-bound shot which was bravely blocked at close-range by Beeley.

Reds had been sharper than their hosts in the early stages, making a promising start but all that changed on ten minutes when Fleetwood took the lead.

Dead-ball specialist Jamie Milligan lifted a free-kick round the defensive wall to leave Tony Caig flat-footed.

That lifted Town and Workington were under pressure for a while. McNulty headed onto he roof of he net; a couple of low crosses zipped across the face of goal without anyone being there to apply the finishing touches and another clever Milligan free-kick was deflected for a corner.

But they weathered the storm. Kyle May had a header taken just under the bar by Danny Hurst and Gareth Arnison landed a far post header onto the roof of the net.

Only a goal adrift at he break Reds were still in the contest but all that changed five minutes after the restart.

From a corner on the left, swung in viciously, Adam Warlow volleyed into the roof of the net and the points were as good as won.

Fleetwood gave Reds a torrid time as they stroked the ball around well and got the ball into the box – a third goal and more was inevitable.

It came on 61 minutes when a long searching ball from ex-Aston Villa veteran Alan Wright was misjudged by Gari Rowntree and Michael Wile went on to round Caig and slot into an empty net.

Reds were staring own both barrels and on 72 minutes they took another direct hit. Caig couldn’t hold Jamie Mullan’s fierce low shot and when the winger raced onto the rebound he was forced wide. The first attempt at finishing-off his cross fell to Wilde but his shot was blocked only for Nathan Pond to stride forward and hammer past Caig.

There was a real feeling that Reds would fold completely to more embarrassing depths but at least they rallied – and looked a bit livelier up-front with the introduction of Dan Shannon and Andy Hardman.

They should also have had a penalty when Wright appeared to be blatantly tripped in the area by keeper Hurst but the referee saw nothing wrong. It would have only been a possible statistical consolation.

As if the result wasn’t bad enough for the west Cumbrians they lost skipper Tony Hopper at half-time with a knee injury.

With Jonny Wright also missing out again completely because of a mystery knee injury it’s been a depressing week-end for the club.

A fit Hopper and Wright are essential for Reds when they go in search of what could be valuable morale-boosters at Borough Park against newcomers Ilkeston and well-fancied Alfreton.


Reds: Caig, Langford, Rowntree, May, Andrews, Vipond, Henney, Hopper (McLuckie 45), Cook (Shannon 70), Arnison (Hardman 77), A. Wright. Subs (not used) Ruttledge, Edmondson.

Referee: Paul Marsden, Preston

Crowd: 1,079

STAR MAN: Not many candidates, but surprisingly in a 4-0 defeat the two central defenders did best with Lee Andrews, taking on the skipper’s armband after Tony Hopper’s departure, edging it over Kyle May.



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