Workington AFC 1-0 Blyth Spartans
FA Cup Second Qualifying Round Replay
Monday 1st October
Spartans suffered a second cup exit in the space of three days as they were knocked out of the FA Cup in a replay by Blue Square North side Workington. A twenty third minute goal from Reds centre back Kyle May was enough to see off Tommy Cassidy’s side, who had to cope with a further two injury blows and saw numerous players playing out of position to help cope with the disruption of recent injuries.
All of the early pressure was from the hosts and they had the first chance when a loose ball found it’s way to Gari Rowntree and the left back’s effort from twenty five yards was well saved by Spartans keeper Conor Grant, who it must be said did well to contend with the extra pace on the ball caused by a slippery surface. The pressure was somewhat relentless from the Blue Square North side and striker Jordan Connerton had a fantastic chance to put his side into the lead when he was played in by Howson on the inside right channel. However Connerton lashed his effort across the face off goal and Spartans were let off.
It took until twenty minutes for Spartans to manufacture a chance when returning striker Phil Airey seized on a loose pass from Kyle May and struck a low effort at goal but it was easily saved by Taylor in the Workington goal. Three minutes later the home side took a well deserved lead when a Mark Boyd corner found its was to an unmarked May on the edge of the six yard box and he slammed the ball into the roof of the net as Spartans defenders began the inquest as to who was marking the Reds centre back.
Spartans were dealt a double injury blow and Tom Berj and Lee Mason limped off with knee and hamstring injuries to be replaced by Callum Hassan and Jake Turnbull. Ten minutes before half time the home side should have doubled their lead when Connerton found himself in on goal but his shot was well saved by Grant who couldn’t hold it. The scramble that ensued saw Connerton presented with the ball again but his sixteen yard effort cleared crossbar and stand and Spartans went in a goal behind.
As has been the case for much of this season Spartans came out bright following the interval and had their best chance of the game seven minutes into the second half. Sam Hodgson dinked a ball into striker Callum Hassan who skilfully chested the ball down to former Reds star Shaun Vipond. The midfielder got a great connection on his first time volley from the edge of the box but the effort was saved by the host’s keeper Taylor. Spartans were starting to have more possession and Shaun Utterson would have their next chance as he benefited from build up play involving Craig Farrell and Jake Turnbull. Right back Utterson collected the ball on the right side of the box and cut in on his left foot but curled his effort wide.
This provoked a reaction from Workington and it would be midfielder Mark Boyd who fired well over from the edge of the box. The closest the home side came to doubling their lead with fifteen minutes left on the clock as Gareth Arnison tested the fingertips of Conor Grant from twenty five yards. Although inexplicably a goal kick was given. As Spartans starting committing more men forward they left spaces at the back which Workington couldn’t expose and as the clock ticked over ninety minutes it would be Spartans who had the last chance of the game. A loose ball in the box found it’s way to Craig Farrell and his first time effort seemed destined for the net only for a superb block by Reds defender Dan Wordsworth.
That denied Spartans the chance to take the tie to extra time but being positive they produced a heartening display in adversity and have time to recover before they travel to Kendal next Tuesday evening.
Spartans Man of the Match: Wayne Buchanan
Workington AFC: Taylor, Cowperthwaite, Rowntree, May, Wordsworth, Boyd, Vaulks, Hewson, Connerton, Arnison, De Costa Subs: Wright, McLuckie, Simpson, Wraighte, Dixon, Stott Goalscorers May 23
Blyth Spartans: Grant, Utterson, Hodgson, Berj, Buchanan, Kendrick, Mason, Brittain, Vipond, Farrell, AireySubs: Hassan, King, Turnbull, Hunter