Injury time victory send supporters home jubilant
A dramatic finish to an eventful game sent Workington supporters home happy and left the visitors a tad frustrated.
They had gamely fought back to level matters with Luke Shearer’s well-taken eighty-seventh minute equaliser only for the outstanding Phil McLuckie to pop up with a last-gasp winner.
And after losing their grip on the game when Stourbridge were reduced to ten men, Reds showed great character to bounce back and clinch three valuable points so late in the day.
Often referred to as a ‘soft touch’ when the going gets tough, Reds can look after themselves a bit better these days and in Dan Wordsworth and Gari Rowntree they have the characters who can fight fire with fire if necessary.
Both were instrumental in this win which was as much a physical battle as a football contest.
If anything, Stourbridge made the better start but Aaron Forde was well off target with the game’s first attempt at goal. And Luke Benbow dragged a decent shot wide after collecting the ball from Kyle Perry’s flick on.
Sam Joel started to look Reds’ best option offensively and he almost got on the end of a Conor Tinnion free-kick only to have Matthew Gould smother the ball at his feet. He then sent the ball wide of the goal when slightly off balance but it was a case of third time lucky when he opened the scoring four minutes before the interval.
A good build-up culminated in Dav Symington delivering a ferocious cross from the right and Joel got to the ball before Paul McCone to edge Reds ahead.
Perry and Rowntree were then involved in one of several flashpoints during the game. Stour’s Perry stamped on the grounded Rowntree who then retaliated, understandably. Both could have been punished with a red card but the referee leniently showed them a yellow.
Stourbridge, who travelled north on Friday, had two good chances to level matters early in the second half. A clever Benbow pass released Luke Shearer but he missed the target and the same player blasted another attempt over the bar after the evergreen Leon Broadhurst provided the assist.
At the other end, Gould saved well to keep out decent attempts from Symington and Joel.
The visitors were reduced to ten men when Benbow aimed a kick at Rowntree and he left the field with his own shirt clearly ripped, which he emphasised before his seventy-ninth minute departure.
Gould kept out an effort from substitute Nathan Waterston who then sent a header narrowly over the bar.
Ironically, though, the Glassboys looked stronger in the later stages and equalised with a well-worked goal three minutes before the end of normal time. The talented Aaron Forde was the creator and Shearer finally got the goal he deserved with a confident finish.
A bright green number five lit up the stoppage time board and four of those added minutes had elapsed when Reds grabbed a dramatic winner. Matty Douglas sent in a shot and Gould did well to parry the ball after it came through a ruck of legs. But McLuckie was the first to react and he capped his best game since returning to the fold by pouncing on the loose ball and forcing home the winner.
Lee Andrews was delighted with the ‘fantastic character’ in the side adding, “We have been sweeping teams aside in recent weeks but today they had to grind out a result which is just as pleasing.”
Workington Taylor, Douglas, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Calvert, Wright, Symington, McLuckie, Allison, Joel (Waterston, 71), Tinnion. Substitutes – Earl, Mellen, Whitehead, Fowler (not used).
Stourbridge Gould, Westlake, Christophorou, McCone, Pierpoint, Forde, Tonks (Green, 60), Broadhurst, Perry (Cooke, 78), Benbow, Shearer. Substitutes – Marsh, Evans, Collingridge (not used).
Referee Richard Aspinall, Preston
Bookings: Rowntree, Calvert (Workington), Perry, Christophorou (Stourbridge)
Red card: Benbow (Stourbridge)