Depleted Badgers prove no match

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EASTWOOD’s young and depleted team ultimately proved no match for their hosts on Saturday as Workington comfortably took all three points.

Blue Square Bet North


David Hewson 4

Phil McLuckie 61

Jonny Wright 74


by Paddy Farrell

EASTWOOD’s young and depleted team ultimately proved no match for their hosts on Saturday as Workington comfortably took all three points.

Suspensions, injuries and weather doubts meant that Eastwood only learned that the long haul to Cumbria was necessary at 7.30am.

One hour later the journey started without Jevaise Christie and Kallum Keane, both serving disciplinary bans, and injury-hit Josh Burge and Mitch Hanson.

Eastwood’s starting line-up had goalkeeper Jake Want, Gavin Caines and Danny Elliott in for Ian Deakin, Keane and Hanson compared to the side beaten at Gloucester and the Badgers made a depressingly familiar start by conceding within four minutes.

A goal-kick was returned and Jonny Wright outjumped two defenders, ran on to his own header and forced Want to a blocking save. The rebound arched out to skipper David Hewson who, almost casually, chipped over Want from at least 25 yards.

David Haggerty, continually trying to cover his flanks, conceded a free-kick and when Anthony Wright found namesake Jonny his effort was pushed away by Eastwood’s young goalkeeper.

Francis Green was released by Ross Gardner but was easily dispossessed and the experienced striker then wasted a free-kick by opting for a quick take and jabbing the ball straight to the keeper.

A series of home corners saw Stuart Green volley wide and when the latest set-piece was scrambled out and hit straight back, Want, a yard out of his box, had to head clear.

Want was getting no respite and did well to deny Jonny Wright with a brave headlong smother, the same home player then failing to capitalise on a fumbled free-kick before the break.

For the second-half Eastwood had Markel Bailey on for 16-year-old Gregg Simmons who has had an extremely promising but tiring introduction to this level.

Traffic continued to surge toward Want and the young keeper was poorly served by his more experienced mates.

Steve Istead brought down Gareth Arnison 30 yards out and seemed to have atoned by intercepting Anthony Wright’s free-kick. A bad bounce betrayed him and his diversion across his own goal let in Jonny Wright who was denied by a very good Want stop.

Out of the blue, Chris Shaw’s long punt had Paul Riley in on Aaron Taylor but a seriously late off-side call rescued the home side.

A visibly tiring Eastwood team was pinned back and after giving away several free-kicks fell two behind when another was allowed to shuttle all over the penalty area before Phil McLuckie scrambled the ball home just on the hour.

It was inevitable that Jonny Wright would eventually profit and the man-of-the-match did so with 15 minutes left, running on to Arison’s precise pass and drilling low past an isolated keeper.

Workington could easily have doubled their tally in the closing stages, emphasising just how vulnerable this Eastwood side is.

With at least seven seasoned professionals in their starting line-up the pitifully small remnants of what was a sizeable travelling support are being let down – I hesitate to say exploited,

The temptation is to accept this season is over and look to make a fresh start. My only fear is that we have, somehow, to plot surviving that long.

Eastwood: 1 Jake Want 2 Steve Istead 3 Chris Shaw 4 Ross Gardner (Alex Troke 65) 5 David Haggerty 6 Sam Benjamin (Ashley Noble 75) 7 Gregg Simmons (Markel Bailey 45) 8 Gavin Caines 9 Francis Green 10 Danny Elliott 11 Paul Riley Sub not used: Richard Cooper Att: 371