Workington AFC 2, Market Drayton 1

A fifth straight win in the league kept Workington clear at the top of the NPL West table.

It also sets-up another top versus second clash tomorrow night when Reds travel to Trafford, who moved up the table with Saturday’s win over Widnes.

Yet for the west Cumbrians the 2-1 victory at Borough Park wasn’t the most convincing performance so far but an expanding injury list hasn’t helped them.

They went into this one without eight senior players and suffered two more injuries during the game.

Market Drayton, who had lost their last four games, might lack quality, but they do have spirit. It meant Reds could never really feel the job was done until the final whistle.

They had taken the lead on 23 minutes with a superb 30-yard free kick from Dav Symington, curled home with power.

It was a virtual replica, but from further out, to the goal he scored at Clitheroe on Bank Holiday Monday.

Symington had also caused keeper Ashley Rawlings to scramble and flap away another powerful shot.

Yet Market Drayton could have been level at the break. Kyle Montague won a header in the box but it was centre-half Connor Hughes who got to the knock-down and the ball cannoned off him through to keeper Jim Atkinson.

Workington doubled their lead from the penalty spot on 67 minutes after Ruben Jerome went down in the box and Rowan Roache stroked home the spot kick.

Roache was unlucky not to claim a hat-trick and secure the points but Rawlings made two fine saves to keep-out his strong efforts on goal.

There could also have been a debut goal for 18-year-old Carlisle United loanee Keelan Leslie when he was put through but Rawlings managed to block his shot with his legs.

The visitors kept going, however, and gained consolation with the first league goal Reds have conceded in five games. Hughes scored with a spectacular overhead kick from a Jakob Boroughs free-kick in the 89th minute.

In a game of few stand-out performances Reds were best served by the new centre-back combination of skipper Sam Smith and Donae Lawrence.

Willcock said: “I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like this for injuries.

“It’s testament to how well the players have responded that we have won five out of five games.

“But as I keep saying I’m not interested in the league table until we have about ten games left to play.

“It wasn’t a particularly good performance but we didn’t get what we deserved in two of the cup games with Marine so sometimes it works the other way.”