Dean’s late strike wins it for determined Town

Workington 1

Halifax Town 2

James Dean fired a 78th-minute winner as Town returned to winning ways on a filthy Cumbrian night.

Three days after their disappointing display against Altrincham, the Shaymen dug deep to overcome a dogged Workington side.

Both sides had their chances, with Simon Eastwood in impressive form to keep the home strikers at bay on more than one occasion.

And the win extended an impressive midweek record under Neil Aspin to 41 night matches without defeat.

Town made just one change to the side that was beaten by Altrincham with Danny Lowe, as expected, returning to the centre of defence in place of Gregg Anderson who dropped out of the squad completely.

Liam Needham returned to the bench, with Anton Foster, a second half substitute at the weekend, also dropping out.

There was an early scare for Town as Jake Simpson and Lee Andrews combined on the right before the ball was crossed deep to Phil McLuckie whose well struck shot from the edge of the area was blocked for a corner.

Town responded well with James Walshaw winning a corner on the left, but they were unable to make anything of it.

A ball over the top resulted in a second corner soon after, Lee Gregory putting pressure on Andrews and he knocked it dead.

But for the second time inside the opening four minutes the Workington defence coped comfortably with Tom Baker’s ball in.

The Shaymen almost broke the deadlock from their third corner of the game in the eighth minute, Dean heading goalwards and Anthony Wright clearing off the line.

Workington’s first real chance came four minutes later when McLuckie raced away down the left, forcing Simon Eastwood to save with his legs.

From the resulting corner David McNiven headed goalwards and Ryan Toulson was there, a couple of yards out, to clear.

Dean was back in defence to half clear a free kick back to Jakes Simpson, then the striker slid in to deny the taker for a second time on the edge of the box.

Toulson, Jamie Rainford, Lee Gregory and Dean combined down the right, Dean making sure he did not stray offside before breaking.

But James Walshaw was not as careful at the far post, the flag rising as soon as Dean’s cross reached him.

Lowe did well to cut out a pass intended for Adam Main just before the half hour but the game was in the doldrums with neither side creating anything dangerous in the pouring rain.

Dean appeared to handle a pass towards Walshaw, who was quickly closed down by the home defence 10 minutes before the break.

And from the next attack on the right Baker crossed low, but behind the Town men waiting in the box.

The Shaymen finally broke the deadlock after 38 minutes when Simon Garner played a lovely pass through the middle for Gregory, who bided his time and rolled the ball past the advancing keeper and into the net.

Gregory was unable to take a Toulson pass in his stride moments later as the Shaymen threatened to get a second.

And Rainford took a return pass from Walshaw on the right but failed to get sufficient curl on his cross to keep it away from the keeper.

The Shaymen were pegged back on the stroke of half time after Eastwood had produced a wonder save to deny McNiven from close range.

The striker got plenty on it, but the Town keeper thrust out his right hand and the ball ballooned into the air, allowing Gareth Arnsion to smash it home from close range.

With the rain getting heavier, both sides forced corners early in the second half without really threatening the goal.

Gregory almost got the ball through to Toulson and a Rainford effort from a long way out was blocked as the Shaymen looked to regain the upper hand.

And they were only denied by a magnificent save from Aaran Taylor who, from a McManus cross, dived low to his left to get his hand to Dean’s header.

The Shaymen were starting to get on top and Walshaw stretched well to meet a Dean cross but could only direct the ball straight into the keeper’s arms and Rainford fired an effort wide from the edge of the area.

But Workington were a threat on the break and after Liam Hogan had done well to halt a Michael McLellan run, Jake Simpson had a well struck effort turned round the post.

Paul Johnson flicked a corner goalwards but over before Needham was sent on and made an immediate impact with a header that almost put Dean in.

Hogan’s mistake was pounced on by sub Steven Snaith, who forced another fine save from Eastwood, diving at full stretch to his right.

A Rainford cross hit the woodwork before Town won a corner on the right from which they regained the lead.

With Baker and Garner off, Lowe took the 78th-minute kick which curled towards goal and when Workington failed to clear Dean pounced.

McLuckie flashed an effort wide before Dean turned well in the home area only to have his shot blocked.