HomeFeaturedLocal SportBlues Claim Vital Point Against Workington

Blues Claim Vital Point Against Workington

Before this match between two of the division’s big-hitters, there was divided opinion on Leek’s needs for the outcome of a crucial match as the league enters its final weeks.

For some, it was a must-win game whereas others – including the management team – felt that defeat would not necessarily bring an end to the Blues’ title hopes.

Ultimately, the game ended as a goalless draw with Workington probably being the more satisfied side as they headed back to Cumbria with a point. In a game that produced few clear-cut opportunities to score, it was the visitors who came the closer to ending the deadlock. However, Neil Baker’s side dug in deep to ensure that their long unbeaten run at Harrison Park remains intact.

Workington did have the ball in the net in a first half where both teams had their periods of dominance. A free kick from Dave Symington was met by Brad Carroll whose astute run freed him from his markers. A powerful header beat the keeper but came back from the joint of bar and upright and, although the loose ball was forced home, the visitors’ celebrations were rapidly cut short by the assistant’s flag.

Leek’s only chance of the game came before the break. An attempted clearance was charged down and fell into the path of Tim Grice. The Blues’ forward failed to get enough purchase on his strike and the effort was comfortably saved by Jim Atkinson.

Workington took complete control after the interval and it took some determined blocking and astute tackling by the home defenders to keep their opponents at bay. However, the Reds were given a golden chance to take the points.

Reuben Jerome went down in the box under pressure from Scott Wara and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. The match official did not have the greatest of games with some bizarre decision-making but it was acknowledged that he was correct in this instance. However. Danny Roberts came to Leek’s rescue as he was able to parry Steven Riggs far-from-perfect penalty and the loose ball was cleared way.

Will Saxon was introduced as substitute to replace the out-of-sorts Rob Stevenson and caused a few problems in the closing stages with his pace but Workington almost snatched the points late in the game. A deep cross to the far post was met by Sam Smith but it was the player who ended up in the net with the attempted header sending the ball into the crowd.

With other promotion chasers picking up wins, Leek lost a little ground in the race for the top and will need to regain their full mojo if the holy grail of automatic promotion is to be attained. Honours have been even between Leek and Workington this season but there may well be a decider in what looks a very difficult play-off competition to decide the second promotion spot.

Following the match, Leek manager Neil Baker spoke exclusively to Moorlands Sport and said:

“I thought Workington were the better side. They used the ball well but we showed great qualities on the other side of the game.

“We were forced to defend a lot of the time and did it very, very well. What we weren’t good at was that when we went into transition, we weren’t able to keep the ball. So that was the big difference. Workington were as good as we’ve played this year. Certainly, with the ball Workington weren’t as dangerous as they could have been but we showed great qualities – great fighting qualities.

“I was delighted with the defending. I expect that but I was still delighted that they showed those qualities. We’ve got to be better with the ball. We’ve got to get better in possession. There are too many players below par. We will be working on possession this week. Danny Trickett-Smith helps that and if he is fit, he will start next week”

Dave Stringer
Dave Stringer
Sports Reporter and Theatre Critic

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