Reds start the season with a bang
An explosive start paved the way for an opening day victory for Reds as they netted three goals in the first twenty minutes.
What proved to be an unassailable lead got the season off to a good start and, although Halesowen were always in the game, Reds emerged comfortable winners.
“I couldn’t believe we were a goal-up inside two minutes making it a dream start,” was David Hewson’s response to Workington scoring one of the quickest goals of the new Evo-Stik League campaign.
He was referring to Jack Ryan’s close range header following an early corner. Dav Symington sent the ball towards the far post, Josh Calvert headed it back into the danger area and Ryan reacted first to convert past visiting ‘keeper, Daniel Platt.
It got better for Reds who doubled their lead six minutes later. Ryan was involved in the build-up, along with Anthony Wright, which culminated in Scott Allison driving a sweetly struck, left foot shot into the far corner.
The travelling Yeltz support must have feared the worst but they would have been delighted by their team’s response.
James Spray levered Dan Wordsworth off the ball but could only drag his shot into the side netting, and luck was against them when Luke Shearer’s snap shot hit the foot of the post with Reds’ defence all at sea.
The home side grabbed a third goal with just twenty minutes on the clock via a free kick which seemed to go horribly wrong. Sam Smith was on hand to lash home from twelve yards after a series of miss-kicks in the area.
Josh Calvert then became Reds’ first yellow card recipient of the season when he impeded the lively Shearer.
Reds were never the same going forward after that early onslaught, and Halesowen saw plenty of the ball in the second half but never looked as dangerous as they had in the first.
Calvert came close with a second half opportunity and Nathan Waterston headed over the top from his only chance, after being introduced as a substitute.
Ten minutes from time, two contentious decisions revived a game that was drifting towards a mundane conclusion.
The first saw Halesowen’s Shearer go down in the area under a challenge from Wordsworth but the referee turned down legitimate claims for a penalty. That none decision went in Reds favour but, seconds later, another big call went against them.
Shearer floated the ball into the area and as Aaran Taylor went to collect the ball, he appeared to be fouled by Danny Bragoli. The upshot saw the goalkeeper palming the ball into his own net after clearly being impeded.
It was a consolation goal the visitors probably deserved, their first in four visits to Borough Park incidentally, but not in those circumstances.
Reds managed to see out the final few minutes without any further scares and, when one or two home players were a little below par, they had the game’s outstanding individual in Wright.
He was starting his thirteenth season with the club and produced a virtuoso performance which made a mockery of his injury problems over recent years.
Workington Taylor, Simpson, Smith, Wordsworth, Calvert, Wright, Symington, Wilson (Mellen, 72), Ryan (Waterston, 62), Joel (Douglas, 81), Allison. Substitutes – Earl, MacDonald (not used).
Halesowen Town Platt, Alexander, Kelly, Walker (Clarke, 63), Lewis, Charlton, Howell, Bragoli, Shearer, Chilton (Mellors-Blair, 38), Spray (Aebor, 73). Substitutes – Morrison, Steele (not used).
Referee Richard Holmes, Preston
Bookings: Calvert (Workington), Alexander, Charlton (Halesowen Town)