A young Carlisle United side had to come from behind twice on Monday night as they battled their way through to round two of this season’s Cumberland Cup courtesy of a second half come back.
A game that brought chances for both sides sparked into life when Fagan rifled a shot at the target as he angled into the box. A wicked deflection left the Blues back line wrongfooted and Nathan Dryden said thank you very much as he stabbed the loose ball into the bottom corner, beyond Gray’s dive.
United should have been on level terms almost straight from the kick off when Egan was played clean through. A good save from the keeper sent the ball wide, but it was a short reprieve as Brown spun away from his marker. His precise pass sent Egan on another run and he made no mistake on this occasion as he slotted it calmly past the onrushing stopper.
Chances became hard to come by but Workington regained the upper hand midway through the half when Harker fed a bullet of a corner delivery into the mix. It pinged around as boots were swung at it, but Lewis Tidy kept his cool as it broke in his direction at the far post. Gray could do nothing as his net bulged for a second time.
McCarron twice blazed over as he used pace to get past his man, with United looking to get back into the game, and Birch was left with his head in his hands as a ricochet from a deep corner smacked off his knee and popped just wide of the post.
Liam Lightfoot nodded over from another good delivery for Carlisle, but Tom Fagan reminded the Cumbrians that they still had defensive duties to complete when he overlapped to get on the end of a good Workington move. He went for glory but he couldn’t keep it down and his shot sailed off into the night sky.
United came out of the second half blocks at pace and they pulled it back to 2-2 within two minutes of the restart when Charlie Birch raced clear before sending a whipped cross at the penalty spot. Clearances were attempted, but Max Brown was in the right place at the right time to finish it off.
The same combination almost brought another goal moments later, but a save from Lewis Casson, and the outside of the upright, prevented the Blues from taking the lead.
Opportunities dried up as the action moved to midfield, but a superb free kick from distance from Birch caused all kinds of problems for the Reds defence. Sam Adewusi refused to give it up and he got his reward as he toe-poked the loose ball into the waiting net.
Workington threw men forward through the closing stages but good handling and punching from Gray kept them at arm’s length as United saw the game out to secure their first round victory.
Carlisle United - Gray, Barnes, Brockbank (Charters 78), Branthwaite, Lightfoot, Ceiran Casson, McCarron, Adewusi, Brown, Egan, Birch. Subs - Ward, Kerr, Papa, Armstrong.
Goals - Egan (12), Brown (45), Adewusi (73)
Workington - L Casson, Harker (Sharp 88), Holliday, Hetherington, Tidy, Calum Casson, Stanway, Mossop, Dryden, MacDonald (Miller 60), Fagan. Subs - Ousby, Pearson, Sinclair.
Goals - Dryden (7), Tidy (22)
Referee - Kevin Mulraine
Attendance - 150