Workington Reds 2 Mossley 0

Workington Reds moved 10 points clear at the top of the NPL North West Division last night with a 2-0 win against Mossley at Borough Park.

The visitors, who had already beaten Reds once this season, had plenty of pressure, possession and corners, but an off-colour Workington made their chances count when they were presented to them to maintain their unbeaten home league record and win their seventh league game in a row.

A throng of 362 loyal Reds fans watched their team put their bodies on the line, battle for the ball and ensure that a spirited, energetic performance from the away side came to nothing.

The win was made even sweeter by the news that Pontefract Collieries, one of Reds’ main rivals for the title, had lost at Marske.

Reds had the lead after just three minutes when Scott Allison received the ball to feet midway into the Mossley half with time and space to manoeuvre.

He took full advantage, swivelling and lofting the ball over the top to allow Nathan Waterston to bear down on goal and reward his manager for restoring him to the starting line-up by slotting past the keeper.

Some good approach play gave Dav Symington the chance to let fly from just outside the area after nine minutes but his usually emphatic right foot did not connect as he might have liked and the ball skidded harmlessly wide.

Symington had a pop from a free kick next, curling around the wall rather than over it, but the goalkeeper got plenty behind the save.

With 10 minutes of the half to play Grainger would be happy with the scoreline but perhaps not as pleased about the performance, with Reds struggling to dictate proceedings as they so often have and imposing Mossley frontman Ben Halfacre certainly making his presence felt.

The half-time whistle went with the visitors yet to really test Jim Atkinson but matching their hosts in open play and ensuring that they would have to be on their toes.

An early scare for Reds in the second half came when Atkinson charged out of his box to beat Ryan Brooke to a loose ball, took it around one attacker but then ran into trouble and Matty Clarke was forced to put the ball behind in blocking the shot.

The away side continued to enjoy the better of the ball early in the half and were almost level when Kaydie Coppin turned his marker in the box and struck a left-footed drive which found the side netting, inches wide of the post.

Grainger had clearly seen enough and Brad Carroll entered the fray with Brad Hubbold making way after 51 minutes.

The midfielder was looking for an instant impact as he flung himself at a Brockbank cross seconds later but missed the ball and when it rolled to Waterston at the back post he somehow blazed wide in a rare opening for the home side since they had opened the scoring.

Three minutes later space opened up for Clarke to line up his delivery from Reds’ right flank but his cross swung harmlessly into Liam Lovell’s grasp.

Coppin had another chance to make Reds sweat after 58 minutes when a cross bounced in front of him on the edge of the home side’s box but his swinging right foot found only thin air and Workington were grateful for the opportunity to clear.

The hosts could have made their lead more comfortable when Symington stepped up to cross from a free kick but Waterston couldn’t get enough power on his header and Lovell collected.

Clarke was next to leave the field for Reds, with Millenic Alli introduced after an hour hoping to get on the scoresheet for the second game in a row and make life easier for his side.

Mossley still looked as threatening as the hosts but Grainger’s side were defending resiliently, with plenty of bodies being put on the line to stop the away side crafting a clear opportunity.

Alli’s pace earned Workington a corner and some respite from a steady stream of attacks after 72 minutes and the clinical head of Dan Wordsworth met the resulting delivery but a Mossley defender was on the line to nod it away from danger.

A good ball into the box from a Mossley corner bounced all the way through the box and prompted Grainger to bellow for his players to find some composure.

Astley Mulholland and Jes Uchegbulam had joined the action for the away side looking to fashion an equaliser but, despite having to soak up plenty of pressure and scraping through some anxious moments, Reds were still not giving up a sniff of goal.

The Workington faithful endured a torturous wait for a second goal to make the scoreline more comfortable but, minutes after he his header was cleared off the line, Wordsworth was the architect when it did come.

The centre-back, who has enjoyed a renaissance this season that few would have predicted after the last campaign, rattled the bar with a shot and substitute Millenic Alli finished first time across the keeper and into the far corner of the net.