Workington Reds eased into the Integro League Cup quarter-finals with a routine 2-0 home win against fellow NPL North West Division side Ossett United.

Danny Grainger named a strong team for the tie, making seven changes to the starting line-up from Saturday’s 4-1 league win against Clitheroe but keeping plenty of first-team regulars.

In a game played in far kinder conditions than those at the weekend in front of 163 supporters at a calm, dry Borough Park, Reds were the dominant force from the off and made it count on the scoresheet just two minutes in.

Ossett were made to rue an early wasted opportunity when tthe ball was floated in behind and, although Conor Tinnion’s shot from Mwiya Malumo’s low cross was blocked, Nathan Waterston pounced on the loose ball and tapped it into the back of the net to open the scoring.

There were plenty of opportunities for the hosts to add to their advantage, with the front three of Waterston, Malumo and Millenic Alli terrorising the Ossett back four and captain Tinnion pulling the strings from midfield, while the away side’s few half opportunities came from moments when Workington were a touch too casual in possession in and around their own box.

Dan Wordsworth, who was an immovable object at the heart of the defence, came closest to making Reds’ lead more comfortable when centre-back partner Grainger swung in a cross but his fellow defender struck the post with a header after 70 minutes.

Countless chances went begging for the home side, with plenty sent straight at visiting goalkeeper Scott Moloney, but on 79 minutes it was Wordsworth who made the scoreline more comfortable when his looping header arced into the top corner.

Three minutes after the opener Reds should have doubled their lead after Waterston made a great run up the pitch, fed Millenic Alli and the on-loan forward’s quick feet hoodwinked the defender to create space for a shot which was straight at the goalkeeper.

They had another golden opportunity after eight minutes when Tinnion whipped the ball into the box from a free kick wide on the left but his pinpoint delivery was headed over the bar.

A deft turn from Malumo on the box allowed him to take aim after 13 minutes but his effort was again met by an Ossett defender.

Waterston really ought to have made the second breakthough at last when he played the ball into the feet of Malumo half way into the visitors’ half but he couldn’t find the finish after receiving the ball back from a delightful flicked through ball after 16 minutes.

Tinnion was next to draw a save out of Scott Moloney just after the half-hour mark, teasing a defender on the right corner of the box and his curling shot was on-target but looped comfortably into the arms of the keeper.

Alli flung himself at a Tinnion delivery from a corner a minute later as the ball dropped to him with the goal at his mercy but his diving header was caught by Moloney at full stretch.

An injury to one of the Ossett players saw them restart play with just 10 men and Reds nearly took advantage as Malumo was sent sprinting clear of the defence with just the keeper to beat but, once more, the strike was straight at Moloney.

After a few minutes played as a depleted side, striker Tom Greaves was introduced from the bench to replace Jack Stockdill.

Greaves almost made an instant impact as Reds gave the ball seconds following his entrance but somehow Jim Atkinson was able to recover and keep him from levelling six minutes of the half to play.

Tinnion, who had been pulling the strings throughout the first half, almost put Alli in on goal as he sprayed the ball out wide on the volley but the flag went up for offside.

Brockbank was the next to try his luck when a high ball to the back post was nodded down to the left-back and he drilled a daisy-cutter towards goal which took a slight deflection and skidded past the far post with a minute left.

There was still time for one more Reds chance as a great four-man move ended with Waterston firing back across goal from a Cole Lonsdale delivery and out for a throw-in just before the half-time whistle.

The first notable effort on goal came from Lonsdale, eight minutes into the second half, when he wrongfooted a couple of defenders on a run down the middle but his bouncing shot drifted a foot wide of the post.

Workington were finding plenty of joy down the left flank, with Alli and Brockbank combining well and Tinnion knitting everything centre from the middle of the pitch.

Harry Gagan had to time his last-ditch tackle perfectly to prevent halt Malumo as the striker was bearing down on goal from an Alli through ball and he got the challenge right to keep Reds out on 57 minutes.

Workington were well on top and looking the likeliest to add to the scoreline but they had to keep their concentration and Atkinson was a bit too clever for his own good as he tried to dink the ball around experienced forward Tom Greaves in his own box after 69 minutes and the visitor robbed him of the ball but somehow the Reds stopper prevented him from getting a shot away.

A minute later Reds struck the post, with the two centre-backs combining, and they spurned yet another clear chance when Brad Hubbold had Waterston and Malumo to choose from with a three-on-one break deep into the Ossett half but the former dragged his shot wide after latching onto a disguised through ball.

Wordsworth's late goal put the tie to bed and earned Reds a home game against Sheffield in the quarter-finals after they drew 3-3 with Trafford then won 4-3 on penalties to progress.