Workington 5, Cleator Moor Celtic 1
A second-half goal blitz carried holders Workington Reds through to the semi-final of the Cumberland Cup at Borough Park.
All square at the break, Reds had been taken toe-to-toe by an energetic and workmanlike Cleator Moor side.
It was very much in the melting pot but two goals in the first nine minutes of the second half swung the game Workington’s way.
They were very much in control after that and further goals on the hour and after 65 minutes gave them plenty of leeway.
Sam Joel, making his first start for the Reds after a series of short Evo Stik cameos caught the eye with a lively 90-minute performance.
It was Joel who put Reds ahead on nine minutes. Chasing a through ball he stepped inside the last defender and as keeper Craig Divine came out he poked a shot past him.
The ball struck the post but cannoned into the net for the early breakthrough.
It should have been 2-0 after 14 minutes when Reds were awarded a penalty after Nathan Waterston went down in the box from a strong tackle.
There might have been some doubt about the decision so justice was probably done when Divine produced a great save to get across and palm away Anthony Wright’s spot kick.
Five minutes later Celtic were level when Luke Close avoided a couple of tackles on the edge of the area before firing low into the bottom corner.
The visitors were working really hard with skipper Tom Mahone, Dion Barnes and Leigh Dunn all putting in strong shifts.
The closest Reds came to regaining the lead came on 37 minutes when a corner dropped to Matty Douglas but from five yards his shot was deflected over the top by Barnes.
The tie was won at the start of the second-half. On 47 minutes a corner from Conor Tinnion was headed in by the diving Sam Smith and seven minutes later Waterston deftly headed in a cross from Joel.
When Divine fumbled a low shot from Dave Symington there was a simple tap-in for Tinnion on the hour.
Then on 65 minutes when Waterston was played in his shot was parried by Divine and this time it was Joel who had an easy task in netting his second.
Cleator Moor, to their credit, kept going with a lot of spirit but couldn’t really get in a telling blow on Tom Fowler’s goal.
The only dampener on the night for Reds was an injury to Anthony Wright who as replaced by Symington after 56 minutes.
He landed awkwardly after going up for a header and twisted his ankle, which was quite swollen after the game. He will miss Saturday’s trip to Stafford.
But Rob Wilson, who was pulled out of Saturday’s game as a precaution will be fit to return.
Workington: Fowler, Simpson (Jolly 64), Cham, Smith, Douglas, Earl, Hebson, Wight (Symington 56), Waterston, Joel, Tinnion (Calvert 80). Subs (not used) Ryan, Taylor.
Cleator Moor Celtic: Divine, Mahone, R. Little, Johnston (Charlton 69), Jackman, Barnes, Birdsall, Rooney (D. Little 45), Dunn (Weatherill 66), Hall, Close. Sub (not used) Woods.
Referee: Andrew Backhouse
Star Man: SAM JOEL