Reds gift Olympic the victory
It’s just not happening for Reds at the moment but, with just about every supporter dismissing any hope whatsoever of reaching the play-offs, Lee Andrews defiantly announced,” We are still in contention and will keep believing in ourselves.”
It followed a fourth successive league defeat which contrasts dramatically with the nine-game unbeaten run which lifted them to second spot at the turn of the year. They are now down to tenth, their lowest standing since late September.
Andrews couldn’t hide his disappointment adding, “It didn’t quite fall for us, every 50/50 ball fell for them and it was a frustrating afternoon all round. We could have played all night without scoring”.
Yet they were in control of the game until gifting Olympic what proved to be the winner just before the end of a mediocre first half.
Daniel Waldron exploited Reds’ right-hand flank too easily and with the lack of a meaningful tackle or, God forgive, a foul he muscled his way through and confidently finished beyond the helpless Aaran Taylor.
He had come close to opening the scoring in the previous attack but a well-timed volley, via the outstanding Josh Hawker’s free kick, was brilliantly pushed away by Taylor at the expense of a corner.
Up until then, Reds seemed to be in control without asserting any authority. Conor Tinnion saw one half volley clear the bar via Dav Symington’s assist, Anthony Wright and Gari Rowntree shot wide from the edge of the box and a tame Nathan Waterston header was easily gathered by ‘Pics goalkeeper, Joe Slinn.
Wright’s attempt at goal proving costly as he sustained a reoccurrence of a hamstring injury – just days after fellow mid-fielder, James Earl, announced he had left the club.
There was almost a spectacular start to the second half with Symington attempting an audacious effort from the half-way line. The shot was clearly on target but the back-pedalling Slinn stretched and caught the ball.
Symington was also involved in a wonderful piece of dribbling skill, escaping from a tight corner and the attentions of three black and gold shirts, but to no avail.
In fact, it was Matty Douglas who came closest to grabbing an equaliser both via Symington corners. The first was blocked by Slinn’s legs with the ‘keeper then catching a net-bound bullet header.
Apart from that, Reds huffed and puffed and home skipper Joe Hull won every other header in the box.
Taylor’s only notable save in the second half was a full stretch dive to keep out Gurjit Singh’s shot but, like Reds, the Walsall outfit lacked confidence in front of goal and wasted at least three opportunities.
Apart from Douglas and Symington, Rob Wilson put in a decent shift for Reds and was one of the few who seemed capable of looking after the ball and continually used it well whilst others were guilty of giving it away.
Desperation in the last few minutes saw Taylor venture forward and, rather amusingly, we saw two goalkeepers prowling about in the same area but it was Slinn who had the last laugh!
Rushall Olympic Slinn, Webb, Smikle, Maye, Hull, Whittall, Waldron, Hawker, Dubidat (Archer, 77), Landel (Sarmento, 68), Singh (Sangha, 69). Substitutes – Adelekan, Fonovich (not used).
Workington Taylor, McLuckie, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Douglas, Wright (Wilson, 18), Symington, Holt, Allison, Waterston (Joel, 75), Tinnion. Substitutes – Smith, Mellen, Whitehead (not used).
Referee Greg Rollason
Bookings: Hull (Rushall Olympic), Rowntree, Wordsworth (Workington)