By John Walsh

TWO games into the new league season and Workington are still looking for their first win.

That seemed improbable when the opening fixtures pitted Reds against the two sides who were lying in the bottom two positions when the season was declared void.

At Pickering, Danny Grainger’s men recovered from 2-0 down to earn the draw but on Saturday, in a game they dominated for lengthy periods – and perhaps the entire second half – they couldn’t find a goal to break the deadlock.

A combination of poor finishing, some good defending and bad luck added-up to a frustrating afternoon on the sidelines for Grainger who knew his side had thrown away two points.

It hadn’t helped that he had to select a side without two of his key, experienced players in skipper Conor Tinnion and Dav Symington, both of whom might be on the sidelines for a while.

Grainger also expressed concerns that his team aren’t playing the way he wants and what we saw from them last season – patient, possession football. It’s fine to mix it up now and again, or when the game demands, but there’s been just a bit too much long ball, getting it forward quickly.

There has to be some credit to a young Kendal side, much-changed from last season and under new management. On the back foot for much of the game – and virtually reduced to the old playground game of attack and defence – they showed spirit, commitment and a desire to hang-on in for their first point.

They only had one real chance, which fell to player-manager Chris Humphrey. He went clear in the first-half but rather had a rush of blood and screwed a shot on the run well wide.

Some good work by goalkeeper Morgan Bacon; rugged defending from Charlie Barnes and a busy afternoon for Liam Lightfoot in both midfield and defence were the stand-outs but Humphrey praised every single member of his squad for their efforts.

Reds had taken 10 minutes or so to get their teeth into the game and there were a number of close calls but the goal continued to elude them.

Scott Allison beat Bacon but saw his shot short scrape the outside of the post; Brad Carroll almost stole in after some slick inter-passing but Charlie Birch made a good challenge and Bacon went down by the foot of the post to smother a shot from Reuben Jerome.

But the best save of the game came in the closing minutes of the first half. A deep corner from Brad Hubbold saw Sam Smith stealing in unmarked to crack a great volley which Morgan palmed away with an acrobatic dive.

Workington were virtually camped in the Kendal half for the second period. Allison had a header tipped onto the bar by Bacon; there were numerous scrambles in the six yard box where brave defending produced a series of blocks and Carroll had a near-post header flash just over.

But the two best chances fell to Dan Wordsworth when twice he swivelled onto bouncing balls on the six yard line but put them over the top.

There were numerous free-kicks and corners into the Kendal box but they failed to dislodge a packed defensive unit whose backs to the wall effort earned them a gritty point.

Kendal Town: Bacon, Ngongo, Birch, Lightfoot, Barnes, Bamba, Humphrey (Rodriguez 26), Livingston (Samson 85), Jaaskelainen, Holland-Wilkinson (McCarragher 71). Subs (not used) Camacho, Fagan.

Workington: Atkinson, Clarke (Kelly 56), Brockbank (Bowman 83), Wordsworth, Smith, Casson, Potts (Holt 71), Carroll, Jerome, Allison, Hubbold. Subs (not used) Robertson, Little.

Referee: Chris Porter

Crowd: 325

Star man: Brad Carroll