City put in a disappointingly flat performance to present a harder
working Workington outfit with all the points on a frustrating
afternoon for the Tigers. Mehew's men saw several strong penalty
appeals waved away, but there were few excuses for a misfiring
display that saw City create little to concern the visitor's keeper.
Without having to dazzle Workington's solid performance was enough
to claim a win, both their goals coming as City struggled to defend
dead ball crosses into the box, and leave City starting to feel
the pressure after five home games failing to return even a solitary
City started brightly and it looked as if pre-match expectations
would be met. Newly crowned skipper and birthday boy Tom Webb
was driving forward from the centre of midfield, and Symons was
causing plenty of problems in and around the Workington box. Sykes
was at the heart of our best moves, spun round latching on to
a ball on the right that could have been a penalty - and producing
a smart turn and shot that was blocked at full stretch by a great
challenge from Aldred.
We had a warning though when Green did well to smother at the
feet of Henney as the Reds attacker ran clear of our defence,
but the real problems came when we struggled to deal with a cross
floated in high from a free kick on our left. The ball seemed
routine enough, but with defenders and keeper seeming to leave
it to each other the ball was allowed to drop on the edge of the
six yard box. Workington's Arnison scuffed the ball goalward,
with Jack Harris' desperate lunge only helping the ball over the
The game turned when City had a nailed on penalty denied by the
ref. Jack Harris flicked on a free kick into the penalty area
and Workington's defence was briefly in disarray. In the commotion
the ball went loose by the far post and in a panic the visiting
keeper Tony Caig charged through the back of Jack Pitcher in a
clumsy attempt to get the ball. Pitch was barged to the floor,
and the keeper's fearful glance at the ref had guilt written all
over it. Incredibly the ref waved away the appeals as if it was
somehow a slightly fanciful idea - but Workington knew they'd
had a let off.
The goal and the penalty claim denied seemed enough to puncture
our fragile confidence. All too quickly we lost our crisp passing
football and our grip on midfield, resorting to the hopeful punt
up field to get an attacking platform. The half-time whistle was
a relief, we needed to regroup.
City seemed to start the second half with a little more purpose.
But an early charge seemed to splutter to a halt after another
strong penalty claim was waved away. Symons managed a strong shot
on the turn, which forced Caig into a rare bit of action and may
have caught him unawares as he could only parry the ball back
into the box. Pitcher was fastest to the ball, but as he reached
it May's lunge took his striking foot with a give away thump of
boot on boot. The ref seemed to be claiming to have been unsighted
- but his linesman must have been the only person in the ground
who didn't see it as a penalty.
Unfortunately we easily let poor decisions distract us from the
job in hand, and with our players still huffing and chuntering
at the ref we gave away a soft foul. Again the free kick was our
undoing. This time Anthony Wright's delivery had an extra touch
of quality which we simply didn't deal with. The whipped cross
was met decisively by Arnison, his header flying past Green and
into the net.
It'd be miserly to deny the long traveling Workington fans their
joy at the win, but the rest of the game was pretty forgettable
with both sides toiling in the sun. The visitors were able to
hit City on the break several times but unable to add to their
lead. We were trying to rally, but unable to find any rhythm.
Changes from the bench made a difference, but the extra drive
of Sam Ellis and Will Morford came to late, as did the tactical
reshuffle that moved Smith up the wing into an attacking role.
The only further moment of hope cam when Ellis bravely flung himself
towards a ball flying across the Reds' penalty area, but only
collected a boot in the face for his efforts. A lot of the paying
spectators felt a bit like that too...