Blue Square Bet North
Workington AFC 0
Alfreton Town 0
Alfreton Town’s long trip to Workington last Saturday yielded a good point from a rather mundane goalless draw, but their fantastic 100 per cent away record of seven straight wins in Blue Square Bet North games came to an end.
However, the Reds remain unbeaten in 11 league and cup games on their travels, which by mid-February is still a very special feat, and on another positive note the three debutants - Chris Mackenzie in goal and centre-backs Theo Streete and Scott Garner - did little wrong between them.
Defending a brisk breeze in a facile first half the Reds had to be alert at the back when Gareth Arnison embarked on an 11th minute run, with Connor Franklin shepherding the ball behind for a corner from which Arnison’s shot had to be blocked, but this was the only threat Workington posed before the interval.
Back in the second minute home keeper Aaran Taylor had had to cut out a sharp cross from Jake Moult under pressure from Anthony Howell, then six minutes later Nathan Arnold’s turn and low drive was held comfortably by Taylor.
Too many stoppages fragmented any effort by either side to play fluent football, and it was not until the 32nd minute that anything else of note occurred, with Taylor holding Laurie Wilson’s cross with both Paul Clayton and Matt Wilson homing in.
Workington had a major let-off with 37 minutes elapsed as young sub Adam Main, on for inured defender Shaun Vipond ten minutes earlier, somehow managed to head Laurie Wilson’s inswinging corner against his own crossbar.
Two minutes into the second half Clayton should have scored from Arnold’s pass through, but rather too close to Taylor the Reds’ striker tried to chip the keeper and could only steer the ball over the bar.
Within a further two minutes the home side produced their best spell of the game after Franklin had conceded a corner as Arnison tried to pick out Phil McLuckie, the delivery from Anthony Wright causing confusion in a crowded box with both McLuckie and Lee Andrews having efforts blocked in the ensuing scramble.
On 56 minutes Anton Brown fired wide from Moult’s set-up from Clayton’s pass, then four minutes after that Howell headed just wide at the back post from Arnold’s cross.
Matt Wilson glanced a 65th minute header wide from a Franklin cross, then either side of the 76th minute Streete had a share of the limelight with first of all a good tackle back to thwart Arnison at the expense of a corner, before appearing at the other end to head over from a Laurie Wilson flag-kick.
A low drive by Anthony Wright was held by Mackenzie with eight minutes of the game remaining, then Jonny Wright wasted a clear opportunity and Arnison had a shot blocked by Garner.
With the pace of the game having lifted dramatically in the latter stages Matt Wilson’s close-range effort was blocked by Kyle May in the 84th minute, then four minutes later Garner’s punt upfield almost lured Tom Smyth into heading past his own keeper, but the Workington defender escaped with a corner.
On 90 minutes Matt Wilson again went close with a header from Howell’s cross, then Wilson was again involved in added time when he set up Brown for a diving header that Taylor held
Workington AFC: Aaran Taylor, Tom Smith, Andy Langford, 4 Kyle May, Lee Andrews, Shaun Vipond (Adam Main 27), Phil McLuckie, David Hewson (c), Gareth Arnison, 1Nick Rogan (Jonny Wright 72), 1Anthony Wright.
Substitutes not used: Andy Murray-Jones, Jonny Blake, Conor Tinnion.
Alfreton Town: Chris Mackenzie, Laurie Wilson (c), Connor Franklin, Theo Streete, Scott Garner, Matt Wilson, Jake Moult (Jordan Hall 73), Anton Brown, Paul Clayton (Liam Hearn 64), Anthony Howell, Nathan Arnold (Ian Ross 84).
Substitutes not used: 16 Paul Lister, 17 Ross Turner.
Referee: Anthony Backhouse of Carlisle. Attendance: 348.
Reds man of the match: Scott Garner.