Workington Reds narrowly lost out in an action-packed encounter against Stalybridge Celtic.

In the end Stalybridge took the win 4-3 and the league points but the result was in doubt up until the final whistle as Reds threw everything at their visitors in the latter stages.

Perhaps the injury problems in the end took their toll on Reds as they could only name three fit players on the bench, and all youngsters.

But nobody's effort could have been doubted as Reds nearly clinched the draw in the dying minutes.

There were three goals in the opening half but, despite Reds' best efforts it was the visitors who lead 2-1.

Stalybridge opened the scoring inside the sixth minute as Oliver Roberts got the ball into the path of the powerful Liam Dickinson and he made no mistake hammering it past Aaran Taylor in the Workington goal.

But there was an immediate reply for Reds as they won two successive corners.

Stalybridge looked to clear the second but not very well as it fell to the feet of Conor Tinnion and he tried a powerful shot through the defenders but the keeper managed to palm it away.

But it only went as far as the waiting Sam Smith who slotted it home to equalise.

The pace quickened as both sides looked to try and get their noses in front, Scott Allison looked dangerous as he raced the keeper to a loose ball but Jack Walton just pipped him to it.

There was another melee in the goalmouth as Reds peppered the visitors' goal, a header from Jamie Mellen was blocked and then Allison was again denied by the keeper as he looked to slide in at the near post.

Reds had been pushing hard but it was Celtic who took their chance when it presented itself to retake the lead.

Stalybridge broke back upfield, battling with the Reds midfield and Alex Honeyball produced a good drive across the goal, that beat Taylor and Connor Hughes just tapped it home.

A corner from the boot of Roberts was put into a dangerous position but Danny Morton's header went high over the bar.

As the half drew to a close things got a little bit tasty with Gari Rowntree having an altercation with Celtic's Connor Hughes and then Tinnion receiving a yellow card but it finished 2-1 to Stalybridge at the break.

Things went from bad to worse at the start of the second half as a defensive mix up allowed Stalybridge to extend their lead.

The ball was put across the goal and it was Greg Wilkinson who provided the finish, much to the despair of the home defence.

Wordsworth came to the rescue moments later clearing another dangerous ball put into the box with Stalybridge upping the ante, with their noses well in front.

Celtic had a claim for a penalty waved away by the ref as Hughes was brought down by Wordsworth as he bore down on the goal.

A free kick out on the right hand side was driven in well by Hughes but it went straight into the waiting arms of Taylor, as the rain began to worsen at Borough Park.

Just as it looked as though Workington were out of this match, Tinnion looked to weave his way through in the area but was brought down by by Hughes and referee Lindsey Robinson pointed straight to the spot.

Allison stepped up to take the penalty and he made no mistake, slamming it into the back of the net to reduce the deficit to just one goal.

Allison looked to try and hook another in moments later as Reds picked up some confidence but his effort was blocked by the defence.

Reds were awarded a free kick which Symington whipped in and a great diving header from Smith forced a good save from the keeper as the home side battled to level the game.

But, just as they were forcing their way back into the game, Stalybridge struck on the break with Hughes curling a nice ball into the net to widen the gap once more.

Wordsworth saw his header cleared off the line, and his claims that it had gone just over the line were waved away.

But, with 10 minutes remaining, Tinnion played a short corner to Sam Joel and he cut into the area from the right hand side.

He took the shot with his left foot and rifled the ball into the back of the net to lift his side and give them hope.

Reds continued to try and push on and as the clocked ticked down, a great ball over the top found Allison bearing down on goal but he forced a great save from the keeper at close range.

Then, at the opposite end, Celtic skipper Morton saw his effort sail wide before Taylor had to come well out of his area to clear the ball with Hughes bearing down.

Sam Joel shot wide in the last few seconds before Reds won one last corner. It was taken quickly with Taylor coming out of his goal to join the Workington attack.

But it was to no avail as the final whistle sounded as the ball was cleared to hand the visitors a narrow win.