Workington Reds 2 Bamber Bridge 1: Workington Reds secured a crucial home victory over Bamber Bridge as their fight for Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division survival begins in earnest.

Reds held out for a 2-1 success at Borough Park after dominating proceedings in the second half.

Goals from Sam Joel and Sam Smith were enough to see Reds home, despite a few tense moments throughout with Niall Cowperthwaite and Brad Carroll to the fore for the home side.

This was always going to be a key game for Reds as they targeted points from the next four games to try and begin their climb out of relegation danger.

And after an opening 10 minutes with nothing to really see from either side, the game began to get into a rhythm and it was Reds who looked to have the edge.

Reds got the crucial first goal after 12 minutes as Jason Walker angled his header back into the area to find Joel. He turned and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner and it was the home side who were in front.

They looked to have an opportunity to extend their lead moments later but Jordan Holt's final touch was a little wild and it came to nothing but Reds had their heads up.

However, Bamber Bridge broke away upfield and, after a scramble in the goalmouth where a couple of initial shots were blocked, it was Scott Harries who got the final touch to punish Reds and level the game up.

Reds had a bit of work to do but, slowly, they began getting back into the game and some nice work allowed Joel to get a cross in, looking for Gari Rowntree at the far post but he just couldn't meet it.

And a free-kick from Conor Tinnion was curled well into a packed box but it was a Bamber Bridge defender who just got enough on the ball to clear it and break downfield.

Carroll, who was enjoying a great spell for Reds, put in a great long ball for Holt and he took one touch before firing goalward but the keeper Lloyd Rigby got down to deal with it.

Cowperthwaite decided to try his luck as he lofted the ball in, looking to curl it just under the bar but it just tipped the wrong side of the crossbar, much to the relief of the leaping keeper.

And another shot from Cowperthwaite moments later was deflected out for a corner which the visitors initially cleared, but then, the ball came back in and Walker tried to slip it through the amassing ranks and it went out for a second corner.

Reds were putting the pressure on as the clock ticked down to half-time but, despite a third successive corner, they could not find the crucial goal to restore their lead and the two sides went in at 1-1 at the break.

It looked as though the second half might open with a bang as Tinnion tried to fire home a powerful shot that was just halted by the keeper.

Then, Holt put across a great ball into the area, looking for a diving Joel, but again, the danger was narrowly cleared.

Reds had a real let-off inside the 62nd minute as the visitors' Adam Dodd looked to be clear on goal but completely mis-hit his shot and allowed the home side to breathe again.

Workington had a big shout for a penalty turned away by the referee when it appeared Carroll had been pushed down inside the box, and then, Bamber Bridge picked up a free-kick just inside the Reds half which was eventually badly cleared for a corner.

But Dawson's header from the corner was gathered by Reds' keeper Aaran Taylor to defuse the pressure.

At the opposite end of the field, Walker tried to put the pressure on and won a corner and Reds finally made it pay.

Cowperthwaite put the ball into the box and it was nudged on and then met by Smith by the post to put it home, much to the delight of the home faithful.

It always looked like they would need another to be completely sure of this game and they came close but Joel's effort was collected by the keeper as Reds upped the pace.

Rigby had to come out and block another attempt from Joel who was working hard, looking to get his second of the afternoon.

Reds then had to defuse a dangerous-looking free-kick before it was whipped back in but centre-half Phil Doughty just ballooned the ball over the bar.

Joel had one last effort before he was replaced by youngster Sheldon Mossop but the ball just went across the face of the goal.

Tinnion saw his shot in the dying seconds bounce off the top of the crossbar and Reds held out for a key victory.