County 1 Workington 1
Winning 3 games inside 7 days proved a bridge too far for County, who were held to a 1-1 draw for the second time this season by a lively Workington side looking to improve their recent dismal league form at Edgeley Park. In the main they did this, claiming the point and looking the better side for much of the game.
County stuck at it however, and came more into the game the later it got, but in the end, despite another terrific performance from Scott Duxbury ( deservedly M.O.M), and solid displays by the impressive Cowen , Jacobs, and to a lesser extent Fagbola – a draw it was .That was not a bad result all things considered, although it probably would have been altogether better had not injury forced striker Rhys Turner to be substituted after less than 10 minutes! The injury resulted from an unpunished foul in the box by Workington, and without the ex Myerscough College lad`s pace County were always struggling. Dickinson again worked hard, if without Boxing Days sharp edge, but it was in vain with the Cumbrian`s also working hard and looking to attack themselves.
County`s starting 11 was the same as against BPA, the only change being on the bench where Dennis came in for Craney. It was depressing to see County kicking our way first off however, but perhaps this would see us a goal or two up by the break?!
The early moments saw Fagbola in action keeping Joe Jackson out down the middle, and Dickinson thwarted at the by-line by David Lynch, but it soon became apparent that Workington had not just come south to make up the numbers, and they pressed forward down the left pinning County on the back foot for several minutes. Eventually the inevitable happened…..Ben Mc Kenna managed to lift a deep cross over towards the back post where Ormson and one or two men in green and black shirts lurked. Ormson was favourite, and indeed he did grab the ball, but under pressure he spilled it giving Jackson the easy task of prodding the ball home!
That was an awful start, and not what most of the 2000 plus had paid to see, but there it was, and County had to deal with it, instead however Ormson was forced to hack the ball for a corner as a back pass from Cowen sold him short and threatened to put Scott Allison in. Jevons worked the ball clear from the corner, and in no time it was with Howard on the edge of the box, then whizzing inside where it struck Lynch on the arm. We have seen these not given, but referee Ricky Wooton had no hesitation at all in pointing to the spot, where seconds later Jevons converted with his usual aplomb. It was 1-1, and Workington had led for about a minute- that was just what was required from County!
It seemed to be getting even better as well ,as….within another 60 seconds Jevons had slung a decent ball deep into Workington territory where Turner was after it! Anthony Wright was too, but looked done for pace as the duo entered the box. Plan A looking shredded, Wright went for the B option and executed a blatant push on Turner, who abruptly pulled up holding his leg. He went off not to return, after treatment, which was not a happy sight, but seeing Mr Wooton`s total lack of interest in the matter of punishment was vexing to say the least. OK……perhaps not crime or foul of the century, but …would we have got away with it?
No matter…..Moke was now on for the unlucky Turner, and County had a game on their hands as Daniel Wordsworth volleyed over the top. Urged forward by the energetic Jacobs County looked in vain for that 2nd goal- Jevons unable to keep the ball in play near the by-line from Dicko`s pass. They also looked in vain for a free kick as Howard was hauled down by the none too fussy Bruno Fernandez, as the referee gave the free kick to County`s opponents to everyone`s surprise and dismay!
It was in danger of developing into a repeat of the refereeing horror story that was Boxing Day, only slightly assuaged by the sight of Cowen hooking the ball clear when the kick came in.
Workington looked altogether more purposeful than had Bradford, so County needed to be on their metal, but Jacobs failed to test keeper Luke Simpson on the break. When the tables were quickly turned , County`s opponents initially fared better as Fagbola failed to keep a further free kick from Allison, who was away and clear and inside the box. An open goal greeted him more or less…..Ormson looking exposed, but he snatched at the chance and missed the target with a truly abysmal effort!
County had escaped, and another minute on from that, they escaped again- this time Duxbury coming to his teams rescue when Jackson beat Fagbola in the box. The blues were under the cosh, and finding it difficult seemingly, to get a kick, and when a foul on Moke changed this, the moment was wasted with the kick causing Simpson no trouble at all! Jacobs then won possession with some excellent work, only for Lofthouse to lose it again. It was a familiar situation, but notwithstanding Turner`s absence, County should be putting a reputably fairly average Workington side to the sword…..shouldn`t they!?
Well ……perhaps…… meanwhile it was good to see Ormson showing no ill effects from his earlier mishap- making a decent catch under pressure, but less so seeing Lofthouse unluckily lose his footing, and any chance, after skipping past Fernandez…….and even less watching a clutch of green/ black shirts buzzing around just outside the County box just waiting to pounce. In the end we saw perhaps an indicator of why Workington are where they are next, as a promising ( and irritating) move from them ended with McKenna spraying an abysmal shot way wide.
Dickinson went close with a header, but the first 30 minutes had gone , without the blues making much of an impression- indeed Workington ,at this stage anyway, looked the likely lads, as Duxbury and Cowen were called on for vital interventions as Workington feasted on free kick after free kick! County …with Ormson in action keeping the visitors at bay…..took an age to sort themselves out and work it clear, and inevitably when they did, it was via the excellent Duxbury who sent Howard darting clear. Moke joined the ex Chester forward, and things looked up as Howard pinged his cross over, but it just eluded Lofthouse and any chance was gone.
Meanwhile County were quickly under pressure again, as the award of several free kick`s threatened to undo them. Fortunately Gavin Skelton chose to finesse the first one and failed to test Ormson , and the second thudded into the County wall with brain numbing ferocity – Duxbury doing particularly well thereafter to do the necessary defensive work prior to wellying it clear.
Wordsworth did well for Workington, with the break approaching, keeping Dickinson out. He had to locate Hardcastle Road to do it though, and the throw that followed saw Jacobs in the visitors faces along with Moke , who saw Simpson catch his shot on the line. At last……County were beginning to stir themselves, but with 2 men assigned to mark Moke, he had an uphill task on his hands. He managed to pick Jacobs out with his pass though, but Howard was kept from the full back`s final ball by a fine last ditcher from Fernandez.
County kept pressing……. forcing McKenna and Kyle May to work hard to keep them out. Platt saw a shot blocked as well, and Moke harassed Fernandez into finding touch, and from the throw Jacobs ( twice) did excellent work to keep the forward push going. A corner it was, as Jackson, back to help his defence, stuck a foot out denying Jacobs with a deflection. The corner went to Dicko at the back post and from him, via a header, to Moke who saw his effort kept out on the line by Simpson.
That was about that for the first 45 minutes- one apiece was not that bad, but oh how I wished they were kicking our way in the second! In any event, County needed to up their game substantially.
Both teams had a go as the game re-started- Dickinson trying to put away a Moke pass……..and Jackson almost in at the back post on the end of a high ball. Allison threatened better for the Cumbrians only for Moke and Fagbola to deny him with some good work. Workington kept coming though, and Platt and Fagbola both made telling clearances in response with substitute Ross Wilson buzzing around.
It continued with Ormson doing well to save from McKenna, and it was thoroughly depressing therefore to see Platt waste a chance by missing the target, after Fernandez had made County a gift of possession.
Cowen thankfully continued to prosper at the back for County -his play neat and unhurried…just what you want from a central defender! Then….there was Duxbury still in there with timely tackles and good work going forward. Yes …all that was good……better than good even……but the free kicks kept on a coming and the latest pinged into the box where Fagbola got into difficulties with a header after a push by Allison had been ignored by Mr W. Ormson kept it out ,and County survived, but it was far from pretty.
County faced the last half hour with Dennis on for Lofthouse, as a short siege of County`s goal was lifted thanks to the combined efforts of Cowen and Jevons. Slowly County started to stir themselves again- Platt`s volley unluckily blocked, and Simpson able to deal with Duxbury`s shot without difficulty.
Duxbury`s main job was defending in my view, and he was doing that well, stopping Allison with a neat piece of work as a break threatened- a feat which he then repeated ,faced with the same man, 3 minutes later. This one was a little gem of defensive precision and Allison was not about to admire the moment- instead launching himself into Duxbury long after the ball had departed the scene! He should maybe have walked, but the referee opted for a word, and for me the word is `bottled`.
This failed to deter Duxbury who was quickly in cahoots with Moke, assisting him to avoid those 2 men who had now grown to 3.Cutting inside Moke picked out Dennis with a typically accurate pass, but he shot wide and it stayed 1-1.
Dennis did better not long after- put through by a long ball, he hit the target this time, only to see Simpson on hand to push the shot around the post. One….two….three corners came and went after this in rapid succession but apart from one header from Dickinson there was little of note to report from them, and it was not long before it was sharp intake of breath time for County when Jackson darted clear bringing an excellent save from Ormson with a fierce shot. He was offside, but Ormson was not to know!
County then conceded a welter of free kicks, some decidedly questionable, as questionable indeed as the decision not to penalise Fernandez who handled not long after. County had free kicks of their own of course, but these were fewer in number and always wasted-it mattered not whether it was Platt or Jacobs taking them, the effect was the same- Simpson( a keeper who`s kicking was enough to encourage any opponents) got comfy catching practise.
Into the last 5 minutes we went with McKenna winning a corner after taking the ball half a yard out of play on his journey down the Pop Side touchline. Spectacles are dear I know, but really why must we endure this incompetence? There was no cost to County ultimately, but there might have been….. in the event a series of corners saw County ( Dickinson to the fore) defending like veritable tigers before working the ball up the park, where Jacobs, Jevons and Moke set about sorting Workington out.
County kept on attacking, for the most part, in the games dying embers, as two moments of high farce/ drama( your choice) enlivened proceedings. The first was a glorious dive by Joe Jackson with no one within a yard of him ( seen by the referee- un-punished)….the second saw Moke hauled down by a defender( also under the referee`s nose- similarly ignored!)
Oh well…..it was ever thus….keep taking the tablets County fans!
See you all at Bradford!
County line up;
Ormson, Jacobs, Fagbola, Cowen, Duxbury, Platt, Lofthouse ( Dennis 59), Howard ( Churchman 86), Jevons, Turner ( Moke 8), Dickinson.
Subs not used: Jones, Charnock.
Workington line up:
Simpson, Fernandez, Wright, May, Wordsworth, Lynch, McKenna, Critchley, Jackson, Allison, Skelton.
Atttendance : 2282
Match Report: County 1 Workington 1
County 1 Workington 1