Early bath for James spurs Reds to victory
For the third time in four away games, Reds failed to finish the match with a full complement of players, following yet another red card offence.
James Earl was sent off for the second time this season, retaliating in a violent manner after a rather naughty challenge from George Washbourne.
The Hednesford player escaped punishment for the initial challenge but Earl was rightly sent off ten minutes before half time for shoulder-charging his opponent to the ground.
Manager David Hewson said the matter would be dealt with internally and wanted to concentrate more on the fantastic performance of those who remained on the pitch rather than disciplinary matters.
To say they controlled the second half is an under-statement, they were probably in charge for the duration, but they made the hosts look very ordinary after being reduced to ten men.
Reds had heroes all over the pitch and defended well throughout – and had the scars to prove it! Bloody noses, cuts and bruises, not to mention tired limbs, suggested it had been harder than it looked from the back of the stand.
But offensively they looked good too, always trying to move the ball about and creating openings. The Earl incident apart, it was just about the perfect away performance.
Reds survived an early scare during the first half when Kyle May’s weak header was latched onto by Danny Glover, but the centre forward’s shot was pushed over the bar by Aaran Taylor’s outstretched arm – a crucial save.
Either side of that incident, Rob Wilson and Scott Allison got themselves into good scoring positions but both failed to hit the target.
A fussy referee was often centre stage but couldn’t be criticised after thirty five minutes when quickly showing Earl a straight red card.
Offender Washbourne wasn’t punished for that offence but was on the stroke of half-time for an equally dangerous challenge on Sam Smith. Then, soon after the restart, Washbourne was sensibly withdrawn from the fray by the Town management after yet another late challenge that left Reds substitute, Gari Rowntree, in a heap.
The ten men opened the scoring on the hour with an historic, first-ever goal at Keys Park. A free kick out on the right was curled into the area by the returning Conor Tinnion and there was May to plant home a firm header at the far post.
It prompted a confident spell from Reds and they could have added to their advantage. Josh Calvert was off target with a left foot drive and Nathan Waterston shot into the side netting after Jake Simpson had created the opportunity.
But they did add a second with a quarter of an hour to go and it was Waterston’s sublime effort which secured three very satisfying points. He cashed in on Lewis Wright’s indecision, chasing down a weak clearance then deftly lobbing the ball over the advancing Dan Crane from an acute angle.
Hednesford came to life late in the game and Nat Brown had one shot comfortably gathered by Taylor and another cleared off the line by Rowntree. And when Wilson bravely blocked a Glover shot, the points were safely in the bag.
Sweet revenge for the Pitmen’s victory at Borough Park, three months ago.
Hednesford Town Crane, Wright, Campion, McNaught, Brown, Brenan, Washbourne (Fitzpatrick, 58), Thorley, Glover, Clarke (Cater, 64), McDermott (Danquah, 73). Substitutes – Ransome, Ballinger (not used).
Workington Taylor, Simpson, Smith, May, Calvert, Earl, Symington (Rowntree, 46), Wilson, Allison, Joel (Waterston, 69), Tinnion. Substitutes – Ryan, Douglas, Cham (not used).
Referee Simon Brown, Solihull
Yellow cards: Washbourne, Cater (Hednesford Town), Allison (Workington)
Red card: Earl (Workington)