Glassboys crack under Reds' pressure
Was this performance inspired by the presence of Tony Hopper or of their own making? Either way, it was compelling viewing for the Reds’ faithful and, after a ninety-minute slog in tricky underfoot conditions, both teams occupied a play-off berth.
There will be more twists and turns in the remaining five weeks of an exciting season but Workington, like all their rivals, will look no further than the next game.
Reds and Stourbridge went into this pivotal fixture with key personnel absent and it was probably the Glassboys who suffered most in this respect.
A makeshift midfield certainly didn’t hamper Workington and fittingly perhaps, Conor Tinnion, wearing Hopper’s favoured number eight shirt, was everywhere. Creating, defending, grafting, tracking back and attempts at goal, not to mention a regular supply of assists – he was outstanding.
Would the outcome have been any different had Jordan Archer scored early in the game with a golden opportunity? I’m sure it would.
Luke Benbow had sent over a teasing cross from the left, Brad Birch cushioned the ball into Archer’s path but, in front of an open goal, he dragged his shot wide.
Any other openings from the visitors were thwarted by some resilient defending – last ditch tackles and brave blocks the order of the
David Symington had Reds’ first serious attempt at goal only for Matt Gould to gather comfortably but the highly rated young ‘keeper had no chance with the 43rd-minute opener. A good build-up culminated in Symington sending a twenty-five-yard screamer beyond Gould and into the net.
They doubled their advantage just two minutes later when Sam Joel continued his impressive start to life at this level with a well-taken goal, again after good approach work.
Soon after the restart, it could so easily have been three. Symington hit another superb shot from the edge of the box but, with Gould beaten, the ball rebounded to safety after rattling the crossbar.
But Joel did put the hosts in the comfort zone after 56 minutes, exploiting acres of space not usually associated with Stourbridge’s rearguard. His second goal made it 3-0 and that almost became four when Kyle May’s header, via a Tinnion corner, struck the crossbar.
Almost immediately, the visitors reduced the arrears with a penalty at the other end. Gari Rowntree pushed Matt Dodd off the ball and Benbow smashed home the subsequent spot-kick.
The Glassboys only other attempt on target saw Leon Broadhurst’s shot rebound off the crossbar.
Joel went close to completing a first senior hat-trick but placed his final attempt wide after Jake Simpson provided the assist.
Still all to play for in the final eight games.
Workington Taylor, Simpson, Rowntree, May, Smith, Calvert, Allison, Tinnion, Ryan (Waterston, 66), Joel, Symington (Cham, 89). Substitutes – Douglas, Henderson, Fowler (not used).
Stourbridge Gould, Wedderburn, Westlake, Tonks (Dodd, 60) Preston, Westwood (Green, 72), Jones, Broadhurst, Benbow, Archer (Cooke, 88), Birch. Substitute – McPike (not used).
Referee Leigh Doughty, Preston
Bookings: Rowntree (Workington), Preston, Westwood (Stourbridge)