Reds fell to a sixth successive defeat, and their 25th overall, in the Derbyshire sunshine but restored a modicum of respect with this performance.

Play-off chasing Buxton were two goals ahead inside eight minutes and battle scarred Workington supporters feared the worst. But, by the end, The Bucks were hanging on as Lee Andrews’ side came close to salvaging a point.

“The overwhelming feeling today is one of pride and the character of the lads, at last, came through,” claimed Andrews.

“After a really poor start and finding ourselves two nil down and already relegated, they could easily have folded but credit to them for showing great determination and sticking to the task and, by the end, were probably unfortunate not to get something from the game.”

Even before conceding those early goals, Reds were given a warning as to Buxton’s intentions of quickly getting the ball forward. Liam Hardy got beyond Reds rearguard in the first minute and his low cross only needed good contact from Diego De Girolamo for the opener. Thankfully he squandered a great opportunity.

But the reprieve was short-lived and the same player did open the scoring after six minutes. He was the first to react around the edge of the area and his low shot deflected off Matty Douglas and left Aaran Taylor stranded as the ball trickled over the line.

The situation deteriorated in Buxton’s next attack with Dav Symington getting himself in a tangle as Hardy lurked with intent. A feeble back pass was intercepted by Buxton’s top scorer and he advanced into the area before placing the ball beyond Taylor and into the net for a gift-wrapped second.

At that point, the hosts thought everything was falling into place. They needed a three goal swing to see them leap-frog Gainsborough Trinity in the final play-off berth and Workington didn’t seem up for the fight.

But a good response from Reds, something not witnessed too often this term, saw them gradually get a foothold in the game.

Symington almost made amends for his earlier blunder when a fiercely struck free kick saw Theo Roberts fumble the ball initially before gathering at the second attempt. It was Reds’ first effort on target but it gave them a lift and period of territorial domination.

Buxton still looked a threat every time they ventured forward and Taylor came to the rescue to thwart Hardy who, once again, found himself in acres of space on the 4G surface.

Workington’s loyal band of travellers has understandably dwindled in recent weeks but those in attendance at least saw the four match goal drought end, albeit via the penalty spot.

There were two confident appeals from Reds in first half stoppage time. Gari Rowntree’s low cross was deflected by Josh Meade’s arm but the referee wasn’t convinced but, in the next attack, Brad Carroll helped the ball goal-wards and a blue-shirted defender used his arm to block.

This time Mr Nield awarded the penalty and Jason Walker, who had missed twice from the spot earlier in the season, confidently converted in the final act of the half.

Nine minutes after the restart, Buxton restored their two goal advantage. Reds might have been awarded a free kick for a foul on Dan Wordsworth and when it wasn’t given, Douglas’ rash challenge on Hardy presented the hosts with a free kick on the angle of the penalty area.

Ash Young stepped forward and whipped in a well struck shot which Taylor got a hand to but could only push into the roof of the net.

Surely that was it with Reds looking momentarily deflated. Nothing of the sort as they give it a right good go. Symington was twice denied by Roberts in quick succession before the ‘keeper made his best save to deny Sam Joel.

And when Roberts conceded a second penalty for impeding Conor Tinnion, Walker once again converted to register his thirteenth goal of the campaign.

Walker was twice denied by Roberts as Reds sought an equaliser while, at the other end, Hardy saw a fine shot on the turn hit the underside of the bar before the ball was eventually scrambled clear.

So, Buxton’s play-off push continues into the final week of the season whilst Reds can only wonder where the next win is coming from.

Match Facts

Buxton: Roberts, Meade (Dean, 56), Brown, De Girolamo N, Roscoe, Sephton, Chippendale, Young, De Girolamo (Oyibo, 64), Hardy (Grayson, 87), Pritchard. Substitutes: Woods, Bruce (not used).

Workington: Taylor, Symington, Rowntree, Wordsworth (Harker, 67), Douglas, Carroll, Joel, Holt, Walker, Carmichael, Tinnion. Substitutes: Thompson, Smith, Cowperthwaite (not used).

Booking: Harker (Workington)

Referee: Jack Nield, Northwich

Attendance: 436