Teamwork has been the ethic behind this outstanding season – you train as a team, win as a team, lose as a team and Danny Grainger’s squad have developed as one solid unit since last summer.
Yet this flimsy performance owed a debt of gratitude to some excellent individual contributions which helped others a little below par to pull through. Perhaps it was down to the strange atmosphere surrounding the game and the uncertainty of whether, or not, the NPL would be the next organisation to suspend football in the wake of COVID – 19.
But to record a ninth away win on the road is an achievement not to be sneezed at, especially after conceding the opening goal with barely a minute on the clock!
Football returned to the Global Stadium after the February floods and it was fitting that Tadcaster’s army of volunteers was rewarded with a goal from one of their own. A diagonal ball found its way to Jake Day in acres of space on the right and his unerring finish thundered past Jim Atkinson and into the net.
A perfect start for the beleaguered home side and Day in particular. His afternoon would go downhill after that as this ding-dong battle unfolded.
Workington had plenty of time to formulate a recovery plan but it was via a fortunate penalty that got them back in contention. A low shot from within a crowded area struck Jack Vann on the arm and the referee made the first of many strange decisions by pointing to the spot.
Scott Allison maintained his composure to send Michael Ingham the wrong way and convert his 23rd goal of the season.
Reds huffed and puffed without asserting any real control and it was down to Day’s misfortune that they were still level at the break. The centre forward was caught offside several times but, on one occasion, just after he had slotted the ball into the net for what looked like his second of the afternoon.
He was shaking his head in disbelief again when another goal-bound effort was cleared off the line by a superb piece of acrobatic defending from Liam Brockbank.
And his misery was complete soon after. He intercepted Sam Smith’s short back-pass, won a 50/50 challenge with Atkinson and was walking the ball towards an empty net to restore Albion’s lead.
That was until Conor Tinnion, racing back over thirty yards, engineered the most remarkable recovery tackle you could wish to see, robbing Day of the ball before completing the clearance.
Nathan Waterston’s afternoon was curtailed on the hour when he fell awkwardly and dislocated his right shoulder, leaving the field in some considerable pain.
But Reds were starting to dominate at this point thanks to Tinnion and his young apprentice, Ceiran Casson. They were running the show – a couple of Rolls Royce’s in a scrapyard full of old bangers – and it was the skipper who put his team ahead after sixty-two minutes.
It came via a free-kick on the edge of the area with Dav Symington and Tinnion deliberating over the ball. It was the latter who pulled rank and he hit the target with Ingham wrong-footed.
But back came Tad with a well-taken goal of their own. Day and Bokinji Lebrun played a clever one-two and the latter thumped a great shot beyond Atkinson to restore parity.
If that goal was pleasing on the eye to the Tadcaster faithful it was nothing compared to a stunning second from Tinnion which saw the maestro restore Reds’ advantage ten minutes later.
Allison’s clever reverse pass released Tinnion through the inside left channel. He chopped the ball one way and then the other, leaving an Albion defender on the ground begging for mercy, before driving his shot into the net via the upright.
It was a goal worthy of winning any game and capped a wonderful display from the skipper.
With about eight minutes stoppage time added, Reds made the scoreline a little more comfortable with a fourth goal just before the end.
Millenic Alli made a little bit of history for himself when, for the third successive league game, the substitute found the target.
He couldn’t do a thing right after replacing Waterston earlier in the half but made amends with a low shot beyond Ingham which secured the points and a league double over an Albion side left to reflect on what might have been.
What happens next will become a little clearer in the next few days.
Tadcaster Albion: Ingham, Hartley, Rogerson (Rose, 80), Vann, Evans, Milne, Ejupi (Lomelin-Fox, 65), Monkhouse (Dos Santos, 85), Day, Lebrun, Chimalilo. Substitutes – Mott, Burn (not used).
Workington: Atkinson, Clarke, Brockbank, Wordsworth, Smith, Casson, Symington (Hebson, 82), Carroll (Hubbold, 72), Allison, Waterston (Alli, 57), Tinnion. Substitutes – Lonsdale, Little (not used).
Referee: Ben Tomlinson