WORKINGTON Reds got back on track with a hard-fought 2-0 win at Prescot Cables to stay second in the NPL North West Division.

It was more a gritty, committed effort than a product of the free-flowing, possession football which has been Reds trademark for much of the season.

That was appreciated by manager Danny Grainger who admitted he and assistant Stephen Rudd had been looking for a response after last week’s defeat at Ramsbottom.

He said: “Everyone – the players and the management team – knew we had let ourselves down at Ramsbottom and there had to be a reaction.

“To be truthful I knew this group of players would respond accordingly so it was what I expected from them.

“I was particularly pleased with how they were so disciplined, which is something we had stressed ahead of the game.

“Everyone worked so hard for that result and I think it’s fair to say that we contained them really well. So much so I can’t recall Jim [Atkinson] having a serious save to make.”

Grainger, who came on for the last 13 minutes, had made four changes from the side which lost the previous week, with one forced upon him. Nathan Waterston, who had scored a hat-trick in a midweek County Cup win, was missing with a heavy cold.

Both Cole Lonsdale and Millenic Alli got their first league starts for the club and played their parts in the victory, which completed a double over the Merseysiders.

“It wasn’t the best game for them to come into but I was pleased with how they performed,” said Grainger who is hoping to add one more player to his squad to step up the battle for promotion.

“We’ve had a particularly tough January and although we lost top spot after five months we are still very much in the race for the automatic promotion place,” said the manager.

Reds now have two home games against Ossett Albion, currently struggling to avoid the drop, lying third-bottom.

Albion visit Borough Park in the league on Saturday and return on the following Tuesday for an Integro League Cup-tie.

Reds then play a third successive home game on Saturday, February 15 against Mossley who are currently lying mid-table.

“We will be looking to win all three games, especially the two League matches, and be hoping our main rivals slip-up,” said Grainger.

Leaders Ramsbottom won 3-0 at Droylsden; Pontefract Collieries were 2-1 winners at Clitheroe; Marine edged out Ossett Albion 1-0 away from home but Marske United were beaten 1-0 at Mossley.