Kidsgrove Athletic welcomed in the new season with a lacklustre performance as they lost 1-0 to one of the favourites to win the division this season in Workington.
Bradley Carroll’s goal, 20 minutes before the interval, was the difference for the Cumbrian side and it could have been more had it not been for the intervention of Kieran Harrison, the Kidsgrove goalkeeper making two fine saves to keep the score at 1-0.
Due to various reason’s Kidsgrove were missing nine players including Anthony Malbon, Josh Thorpe, Danny Cocks and Ricky Bridge. It meant that manager Scott Dundas had to give debuts to Kyle Stubbs and Kieran Brown, while another debutant came off the bench in the form of Tom Urwin.
In what was a poor first half for Kidsgrove, they could have been ahead in the first 30 seconds when a raking pass from Kyle Diskin found Kingsley Adu-Gyamfi and, despite doing well on the byline to fashion a chance, he was to shoot wide of the goal.
Harrison made the first of two fine saves on 33 minutes when he denied Connor Tinnion. The Workington captain was through on goal and looked destined to score. However, Harrison was able to get his body in the way of the ball to keep it out.
Sadly for Kidsgrove, he could do nothing just two minutes later when Carroll was able to slip past the Kidsgrove defence and hit a low hard shot into the far corner of Harrison’s goal to open the scoring. Carroll had already been the panto villain to the Kidsgrove fans as he had been cautioned for kicking Adu-Gyamfi when the forward blocked him from taking a quick free-kick.
Carroll’s teammate Tinnion was lucky not to follow him into referee Thomas Swift’s notebook just before the break when he cynically hacked down Adu-Gyamfi. However, the ball fell to Jake Lovatt, meaning Swift played the advantage and when the ball did finally go out of play Tinnion just got a talking to.
The second half saw Kidsgrove start brightly with Diskin volleying over James Atkinson’s goal before Adu-Gyamfi saw his chance at the back post taken off him by Kevin Charlton when it looked like the former Silverdale man was guaranteed to score.
At the other end, Harrison continued to prove why he is one of the best keepers at step 4 in the Non-League system with a stunning save from a Reuben Jerome header. Harrison dived to his left to pull off a one handed save to keep the score at 1-0.
Ethan Hartshorn should have equalised on 67 minutes when the ball fell to him after Adu-Gyamfi had beaten Atkinson to the ball from a Diskin free-kick. However, the former Crewe Alexandra man was to be denied by the crossbar.
There was some concern on 80 minutes when Kyle Stubbs pulled up injured chasing a loose ball. The defender tried to run it off but couldn’t and, with manager Scott Dundas having already made all three changes, Kidsgrove were reduced to 10 men for the last few minutes of the game.
After the game, I spoke to Scott Dundas to get his reaction and an update on Kyle Stubb’s injury.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Harrison, Byers, Stubbs, Bromfield, Bergin, Winkle, Diskin, Blake (Urwin, 65), Brown (Hartshorn, 65), J.Lovatt (Twyford, 57) and Adu-Gyamfi.
Unused subs: Hickman and C.Lovatt.
Workington: Atkinson, Clarke, Charlton, Wordsworth, Smith, Hubbold, Symington, Carroll (Casson, 82), Jerome (Bowman, 79), Tinnion and Evangelions.
Unused subs: Allison, Gooden and Eccles.