Workington Reds have advanced into the last thirty two of the FA Trophy with a well deserved if close 1-0 win over Hartlepool United at a freezing Borough Park on Saturday afternoon, with the win courtesy of a goal from Scott Allison in the eighty second minute.
In advance of the match the FA had tweeted that a trip to the in-form Reds was probably the last thing the out-of-form Hartlepool United wanted after their long trip to Dover Athletic last weekend where they were hammered 4-0 in the Vanarama National League, saying that the visit to the Evo-Stick Premier Division title contenders might be ‘tricky’ – and so it proved to be.
On a thirteen match winning streak, and coming into this match after a 5-1 win over Glossop North End FC in their Third Round qualifying match three weeks ago, the Reds started brightly and Sam Joel could and probably should have put the home side ahead on two minutes but his close range shot was partially saved by the feet of Hartlepool keeper Scott Loach and as the ball rolled on and Joel followed in, Hartlepool striker Liam Donnelly managed to clear the ball off the line. With the Reds’ co-manager David Hewson on a welcome return to Borough Park and watching from the stands, a minute later Scott Allison had another opportunity to score for the home side but lobbed his shot wide, another missed chance. The Reds kept up the pressure but Hartlepool had their chances, and whilst the excellent Tomi Adeloye looked like a powerful threat up front for Pool, he lacked support, although Adeloye had a fifty-fifty chance of a goal when he slid in against a brave diving Aaran Taylor in the Reds’ box, but Taylor won the ball and Adeloye was left flat on his back nursing his leg.
It took Hartlepool fifteen minutes before they had their first real sight of goal when Michael Woods fired wide, and the game was now end to end. After a frustrated Connor Tinnion attack for the Reds, Adeloye made a break at the other end but Dan Wordsworth made the first of a series of crucial defensive blocks and clearances, with Wordsworth dominant in defence alongside the excellent Gary Rowntree as the Reds held firm and kept AaranTaylor’s net safe. With ten minutes to go in the first half, Hartlepool applied the pressure and a close range Woods’ header from a Nicky Deverdic’s cross prompted the first of two outstanding saves from Taylor as he managed to palm the ball just over his crossbar with a reflex save. The final five minutes saw attacks at both ends, but no goals, and the half ended 0-0.
As the temperature plummeted, the second half started where the first half had left off, with both teams looking to get the so far elusive first goal, and it was the visitor’s Deverdics who had the next real chance ten minutes in, with Taylor pulling off another excellent save to tip another good strike which looked destined for the top corner over the bar, and straight after this Josh Calvert had to safely and neatly and scramble away a Jake Cassidy attack. For the Reds, Matty Douglas, who had played some solid defensive football, began to move into attack, and both Phil McLuckie and David Symington started to find space and look dangerous, with McLuckie having a good chance at goal on yet another break, but his run was blocked by a last ditch tackle in front of the Hartlepool net.
With the match beginning to look like it would end in a goalless stalemate, Hartlepool made the first of three substitutions, with Reece Oates replacing Adeloye, and with the Reds’ fans calling for changes, Lee Andrews duly obliged on seventy five minutes, bringing on super sub Nathan Waterston in place of Joel. Waterston had an immediate impact, taking control of the right wing and pushing the Reds forwards, and on eighty two minutes it was Waterston who crafted the breakthrough, with a quick break up the right wing and an exquisite, accurate and pin point perfect cross to the feet of an advancing and unmarked Allison, who superbly volleyed the ball home with his left foot from twelve yards out past a diving Loach to a huge roar from the home crowd, with the Reds players rushing to mob Waterston at the corner flag.
On eighty eight minutes James Earl came on for the ever busy Symington, and he launched another Reds attack for McLuckie with his first touch of the match as the teams battled on. With five minutes of extra time added, it was clear that the Reds were not going to sit back a defend, but Hartlepool had to score, and in nail biting finish another goal looked likely and Hartlepool substitute Jonathan Franks saw his shot at Taylor’s goal hit the crossbar, and at the other end, Douglas, Waterston and Allison kept harrying the Hartlepool defence with repeated attacks.
With two minutes to go Pool’s Lewis Hawkins picked up his second yellow and his marching orders to finish of a miserable afternoon for the Monkey Hangers, and as the final whistle blew a delighted Reds’ squad celebrated an outstanding team performance and an excellent win – the Reds first win over Pool in over fifty years, and The Reds fourteenth win on the bounce!
Workington AFC: Aaran Taylor, Matthew Douglas, Gari Rowntree (C), Dan Wordsworth, Josh Calvert, Anthony Wright, David Symington (James Earl 88′), Phil McLuckie, Scott Allison, Sam Joel (Nathan Waterston 75′), Conor Tinnion. Subs not used: Tom Fowler, Robert Wilson, Tommy Lee Whitehead
Hartlepool United: Scott Loach (C), Nicky Deverdics (Jonathan Franks 78′), Blair Adams, Lewis Hawkins, Scott Harrison, Louis Laing, Conor Newton (Devante Rodney 65′), Tomi Adeloye (Reece Oates 59′), Jake Cassidy, Michael Woods, Liam Donnelly, Subs not used: Ryan Catterick, Jack Munns
Match Officials: Referee: S Lucas. Assistant Referees: D Chapman and D Pill. Fourth Official: A Kitchen.
Cumbria Crack Man of the Match: Dan Wordsworth