Workington Reds 4-2 Hednesford Town

This was a significant milestone on the road to recovery for a Workington side claiming a first league win for three months. 

The length of time since the last win in Evo-Stik Premier has been disheartening, but it’s been the manner in which some of the setbacks have been administered that has caused most concern. 

Once they have gone behind, Reds have been incapable of fighting back. Too often, they have crumbled and completely lost their way. 

Well this time, in an entertaining and eventually profitable afternoon, Reds came good on two fronts.

They ended the long run of winless league games and fought back from a 2-1 half-time deficit to win with something in hand. 

A good start, with a goal on 20 minutes, had been undone by a disastrous final 15 minutes of the half in which the Pitmen struck twice to send them in on a high at the break. 

They had travelled north just a few days after their management team had left to takeover at Halesowen, and coach Francino Francis was given charge of the team, hoping to audition successfully for the top job on a regular basis. 

He must have been delighted to go in at half-time with the lead, and will have been well informed on Reds' poor record when going behind. 

But a gritty second-half display from the Reds eventually sent Francis and his players back to the Midlands with nothing to show for their efforts. The hosts scored three second-half goals without reply to grab three precious points. 

Captain Gari Rowntree, in a purple patch of form despite being switched from left to right in defence, scored his second goal of the season to put his side level and inspire the revival. 

It was also another senior member in the team, Jason Walker, who produced a man-of-the-match display, despite the fact the experienced striker didn’t find his way on to the scoresheet. 

Walker’s hold-up play, lay-offs and general willingness to work hard for the side were vital ingredients on one of the best 45 minutes of the season so far. 

Unchanged from the FA Trophy win at Stalybridge, Reds made a lively start and Kieran Maguire was close to giving his side the lead.

One shot was deflected and went through the legs of teenage keeper Josef Bursik, an England Under-19s international. Before Walker could pounce, Bursik had dived back to grab the ball just before it rolled over the line. 

Then, when Conor Tinnion sent Maguire haring clear, Bursik just got enough on the resultant shot to slow it down. This time as it trickled towards the net, a defender got back to clear. 

But the breakthrough came on 20 minutes when, after a series of shots had been blocked in the area, the ball fell to Tinnion on the edge and he fired a low drive past Bursik into the bottom corner. 

Hednesford with Osebi Abadaki a tricky and dangerous attacker, had their moments and Aaran Taylor had to make an excellent block to deny Michael Howard. 

They had gradually been building-up a head of steam when they equalised on 36 minutes.

Full-back Nathan Fox, overlapping well, cut in and let fly from the left-hand edge of the area. Taylor got a hand to the low shot but could only divert it on to the post, and it rebounded into the net. 

Worse was to follow in the minute of time added on. The Pitmen won a corner on the left and, although the ball was in the air a long time, it was eventually forced home by Sam Griffiths. 

Reds needed a reaction and they got it. They were level inside 10 minutes and ahead three minutes later. 

A corner ws only partially cleared to the edge of the box and Rowntree drilled a low shot through a crowded area to find the bottom corner. 

Then, a long ball forward from Rowntree found Scott Allison in the area with a defender right in behind him. Showing clever control and movement, the striker lost his man and then drove a low shot into Bursik’s left hand corner again. 

More breathing space was achieved seven minutes from the end with the fourth and final goal. 

Good, patient build-up down the left involving Tinnion and substitute Brad Hubbold, ended with a fine cross from Maguire being turned home by Jordan Holt – nestling once more in the bottom left-hand corner of the net. 

Match facts

Workington: Taylor, Smith, Rowntree, Wordsworth (Mellen 59), Calvert (May 46), Cowperthwaite (Hubbold 68), Maguire, Holt, Walker, Allison, Tinnion. Subs (not used) Joel, Paterson. 

Goals: Tinnion (20), Rowntree (55), Allison (58), Holt (83) 

Hednesford Town: Bursik, McNally, Fox, Gatter, Misambo (Martin 62), Griffiths, Curley, Hallahan, Cockerline, Howard, Abadaki (Drain 77). Subs (not used) Veiga, Clarke, Turner. 

Goals: Fox (36), Griffiths (45). 

Referee: Andrew Parkinson 

Crowd: 301 

Star Man: Jason Walker