Workington Town broke away from North Wales Crusaders in the final 25 minutes to pick up an impressive win in Colwyn Bay and continue their flying start to the League 1 campaign.
In torrid conditions at Stadiwm ZipWorld, the defensive performances of both sides left a lot to be desired at times, with Crusaders’ errors gifting Workington a number of their tries in the second-half when the home side looked like they could get themselves back into the contest.
But Town’s quality showed late on, particularly in the halves, as they controlled the match well at crucial stages in the driving rain, highlighting why they’ll now be tipped as one of League 1’s favourites.
Crusaders took the lead when they assaulted the left flank, Jordy Gibson made a break and had the pace to knock off a couple of attempted tackles on his way to the line.
The response was positive from Workington, however, as Hanley Dawson crashed over underneath the sticks to level the match.
With North Wales looking to get back ahead, they came up with an error in the corner and Brad Holroyd gathered to race the length of the field, touching down unopposed.
But momentum continued to change and a nice right to left shift from North Wales saw Rob Massam squeeze in at the corner.
After Crusaders came up with an error from kick-off, though, Matty Henson managed to scoot over for Town down the left flank.
And Workington extended their lead to 14 points heading into half-time as they once again assaulted North Wales’ right edge defence, with Calvin Wellington having too much strength to cross on the hooter.
Despite extensive pressure from Town early in the second-half, Crusaders managed to hold them out and were given a boost when Jamie Doran was sent to the sin-bin for a shoulder charge on Elliott Jenkins.
The hosts took full advantage of the extra man as Gav Rodden forced his way over to the right of the sticks.
As it seemed Crusaders could get themselves back into the match, two tries in three minutes put Workington firmly in control, although both efforts could’ve easily been avoided by the Welsh side.
Henson drilled a grubber kick into the in-goal area and, as both Massam and Tommy Johnson failed to deal with it, the Workington man somehow managed to get on the end of it.
Doran then put up a high bomb and Johnson’s error gifted the ball to Ethan Bickerdike, who walked in for a simple try.
Any glimpse of hope North Wales had of getting back into the game soon disappeared as Chris Barratt was sent to the sin-bin for a late hit off-the-ball.
Lewis Brown bulldozed his way over to the left of the posts, making the most of their man advantage.
Another Crusaders error then gifted Workington their eighth of the afternoon, with Pat Ah Van’s fumble allowing Alex Young to dot the ball down in the corner and complete the afternoon’s scoring.
1 Tommy Johnson
15 Pat Ah Van
3 Jack Holmes
4 Dante Morley-Samuels
5 Rob Massam
6 Elliott Jenkins
7 Jordy Gibson
8 Chris Barratt
9 Brad Billsborough
10 Warren Thompson
11 Gav Rodden
13 Jono Smith
12 Alex Eckley
Subs (all used)
14 Andy Ball
17 Callum Hazzard
16 Brad Brennan
18 Jack Cottington
Tries: Gibson (11), Massam (26), Rodden (47)
Goals: Johnson 2/3
Sin-bin: Barratt (69) – late hit
24 Ethan Bickerdike
2 Brad Holroyd
31 Joe Brown
4 Calvin Wellington
5 Alex Young
6 Jamie Doran
7 Carl Forber
8 Connor Fitzsimmons
9 Dec O’Donnell
33 Rhys Clarke
14 Marcus O’Brien
12 Caine Barnes
13 Hanley Dawson
Subs (all used)
23 Matty Henson
11 Perry Singleton
10 Stevie Scholey
20 Lewis Brown
Tries: Dawson (17), Holroyd (23), Henson (29, 56), Wellington (40), Bickerdike (59), Brown (70), Young (73)
Goals: Forber 6/8
Sin-bin: Doran (46) – shoulder charge
Referee: Tom Crashley
Crusaders MOTM: Jono Smith – the second rower worked tirelessly until the full-time hooter to try and get North Wales back into the game, pushing himself through the pain barrier with a knock.