Workington Reds 0 Marine 0: Workington Reds collected another valuable point in their bid to earn promotion from the NPL North West Division as the leaders ground out a goalless draw with fourth-placed Marine at Borough Park.

The 533 supporters at Borough Park on Saturday were treated to a top-of-the-table clash which was far more dramatic than the scoreline suggests, with both sides taking an aggressive approach from start to finish, but neither goalkeeper had much to do.

In the end, both teams had to settle for a point but, considering the quality of the opposition and the fact that Workington had not been at their fluent, dominant best, it was a point they could perhaps be happy with.

The first chance of the game fell to the visitors with Niall Cummins finding space in the box and curling a shot which cracked the left post, with Reds’ goalkeeper Jim Atkinson only able to watch.

Workington had their first sniff of goal in the sixth minute when Liam Brockbank set Dav Symington sprinting away down the left and the winger’s cross found Scott Allison, who was back in the starting line-up after missing last weekend's match with a bug.

The forward tried to hit the ball first time but miscued his attempt and Marine got away with one.

The away side were in the ascendancy in the early stages as the league leaders struggled to keep hold of the ball but Reds got a foothold after 10 minutes, and Conor Tinnion took advantage to draw a free-kick on the edge of the box which Marine were just able to keep away from the leaping Allison.

Reds were beginning to turn the screw and Symington’s low cross pulled back to the penalty spot in the 28th minute was begging to be put away, but a Marine defender got there first.

A couple of corners for the away side gave the opportunity to apply some pressure to their hosts but, both times, Atkinson commanded his six-yard box to punch clear before collecting a speculative cross. Seconds later, he was charging out of his area to head clear a long ball forward.

The last significant action of the half saw Josh Solomon-Davies scamper down the right wing for Marine and drill a low ball across the six-yard box but Dan Wordsworth was there to slice behind.

Atkinson had the first save to make in the second period when the lively Cummins brought down a driven ball forward from the back but, with time to shoot, he steered the ball straight at the goalkeeper.

Danny Grainger made his first change in the 55th minute when Ash Kelly replaced Nathan Waterston up front as Reds looked to give their opponents something different to think about.

Tricky play down the right from Solomon-Davies opened up a shooting opportunity for Steven Irwin but his powerful effort took a nick off on its way towards goal and nestled into the arms of Atkinson.

With Reds struggling to open up their visitors, Millenic Alli was introduced from the bench at the expense of Symington in the 60th minute, looking to add a spark.

It was almost disaster for Workington when a long ball forward saw Wordsworth and Atkinson collide trying to deal with it but, as the ball dropped at the feet of Cummins in the box with the goal at his mercy, the Marine striker thought he was offside and left it, much to the frustration of his coaches who felt otherwise.

Reds put together one of their best moves of the match when Tinnion, Brad Hubbold and Ceiran Casson linked up well in midfield as they have done all season, but the end product was a wild shot which was more likely to exit the ground than trouble the goalkeeper.

Shamal George had not yet had a save to make but Casson, who is so at home in front of his own back four, almost left him helpless as he gave the Marine defence the runaround and his curling shot from outside the box just didn’t curl back enough as it whistled past the far post.

Moments later, an almighty scramble in the box saw a number of shots blocked, with Reds finally finding their rhythm in the visitors’ half.

But they were indebted to Cummins for again sparing their blushes in the 72nd minute when Brett Mbalanda robbed Workington on the right, surged down the wing and played a perfect cross exactly where his strike partner would have wanted it, only for the captain to fluff his lines.

Tinnion almost scored a goal-of-the-season contender in the 79th minute when he bamboozled one defender after another as he danced into the box but his hopes were dashed when his shot came back off the woodwork.

Marine threatened again minutes later when Anthony Miley sent a powerful header towards an open goal after a mix-up from a free kick but Sam Smith was there to volley off the line.

With five minutes of the 90 to play, it still looked like anybody’s game but Workington must have wondered how they weren’t ahead when, in the 80th minute, Allison challenged ex-Carlisle loanee George as the goalkeeper looked to collect a looping ball forward from Reds.

The Marine stopper fumbled and the ball fell to Allison, but his pass back to the penalty spot was cleared by the away side.

The 89th minute saw Kelly flash a header just past the post as Reds turned up the heat but that was as close as either side got to a late winner.