Workington Reds Ladies book place in next round of Regional Plate
A 2-1 win at Chorley Development saw Workington Reds Ladies secure their place in the next round of the Regional Plate competition.
The course was in fair condition for the time of year but was generally played heavily, making skillful passing and running nearly impossible.
Instead, the game was won in the trenches, where fighting and fighting for every win that could be made was key to the overall result.
The guests started positively and were in front from the first whistle.
Hannah Geen played a through ball to Sophie Birkett when she threatened the Chorley back line, but the pass ended agonizingly close to the Reds winger’s outstretched leg.
On the opposite wing, Morgan McGrady’s sharp run unsettled the home defense while Emi Rudd, Sophie Douglas and Keeley Holliday tried to put flamboyant balls into dangerous areas.
Full-backs Alice Kemp and Natalie Hooper connected well with the attacking players from deeper flanks, but the breakthrough came in the 23rd minute with a ball from central defender Naomi Foster over the top.
Foster’s ball was thrown in McGrady’s path by a Chorley defender, who hit the ball with pace. Then she pulled herself together and went home clean to give the Reds a well-deserved lead.
However, the lead lasted just 12 minutes as Chorley made progress down the right flank.
A cross into the box was accepted by Olivia Holling, who picked up and finished with composure to defeat Reds goalkeeper Laura Miller.
It was all square, which was probably poor reward for the Reds given their control in the half.
The Reds regained the lead just before the hour mark when Foster’s fellow central defender Eleanor McDonald also became a bidder.
McDonald delivered a great cross into the box from a corner on the left which was met by Birkett’s confident run that stole a march from the Chorley defense and she headed home from the near post.
The substitutions included Linzi Donaldson, Hannah Fawkes, Zara Sandelands and Kacey Rodgers on either side of goal.
They all ensured fresh legs and eagerness from the visitors, which helped keep the hosts at bay in the latter stages of the game.
Hard work and determination in the middle of Emi Rudd’s park nearly saw the Reds extend their lead as she struggled for a shot from 20 yards out, only to hit the crossbar while Chorley keeper Caitlin Eastham smashed well was.
As the game went into the last 10 minutes, substitute Liv Bennett, making her debut for the Reds Ladies, almost ended the game.
She collected the ball about halfway and drove at the Chorley backline. Pushing towards the keeper, Bennett looked poised to score but was thwarted by a brave Eastham stop.
Rudd was chosen by Chorley as the Visitors’ Game player for being sneaky and sneaky in the middle of the park for 90 minutes.
After the game, Reds captain Naomi Foster said: “That performance was about all 16 squad players and their contributions on the pitch.
“We were disappointed with our performance at Penrith last week and it was important for us to react positively and collectively and that’s exactly what we did.”
The Reds advance to the next round of the competition where they will make their sixth away game on the Spin in 2023 when they take on Alder FC Women on February 12.