IT would not be Witton Albion if they didn’t make life as difficult as possible.

After deservedly taking the lead in the first half through Prince Haywood’s smartly-taken goal, they had to play the final half-hour without the midfielder after he was sent off.

They protected that slender advantage in relative comfort though, and a five-match losing sequence is over.

Haywood, restored to the starting line-up along with Matty Devine and Will Jones following a weekend reverse at Hednesford, will be unsure how to feel.

The 25-year-old’s strike was gorgeous, a clean connection on the volley arrowing the ball into the bottom corner out of goalkeeper Aaran Taylor’s reach.

After more than six hours of game time without scoring, it felt timely for the hosts.

However his dismissal barely 10 minutes into the second period, after referee Conor Brown spotted him swing a raised arm in response to being held by Jordan Holt, made his teammates’ task harder.

They completed it with admirable discipline, and rarely did Reds look likely to restore parity.

Nor did they deserve to either.

Witton will not worry about that.

Their need for a victory had grown after collecting only three points from the past 21 on offer, a run that had seen them tumble from the table’s summit into its bottom half.

Manager Carl Macauley was bold to select three forwards, but fortune favours those that are brave.

He will have felt vindicated, relieved too, when his side led inside the opening 10 minutes.

The impact was transformative; an injection of belief where previously there had been none.

They survived a scare when Josh Calvert’s shot whistled past an upright after Sam Smith had nodded the ball his way at a corner.

At the other end, James Foley was wasteful when he had a clear sight of goal and Jones diverted Anthony Gardner’s cross over the bar.

Dave Symington curled over from a free-kick after Anthony Brown sent Scott Allison sprawling, while Jones’ header drew an instinctive stop from Taylor at his near post.

Workington will be upset to have created so little despite having a numerical advantage for so long.

They were incensed to be denied a penalty when Allison was tripped inside the area, and Jake Simpson swerved the loose ball inches wide of the far post.

Calvert split the defence with an incisive pass that sent Nathan Waterston clear, but the substitute hurried his shot and custodian Calvin Hare saved easily.

Allison and Waterstone both failed to hit the target with headers, while at the other end Smith timed perfectly an intervention to deny Devine after he combined with Foley.

“More than anything I’m mightily relieved,” reflected Macauley after the final whistle.

“We really needed that.”

Witton | 4-3-3 | Hare (GK), Gardner, Anthony Brown, Ryan, Devine, Owens, Haywood, Foley, Tames (Wilson 78), Hopley (Hedley 58), Jones Subs not used McKenna, Williams, Neild (GK) Goal Haywood 9 Sent off Haywood (violent conduct)

Workington | 4-5-1 | Taylor (GK), Simpson, Douglas, Smith, Symington, Joel, Holt (Rob Wilson 78), Calvert, Mellen, Egan (Waterston 56), Allison Subs not used Rowntree, Harker, Holliday

Referee Conor Brown

Attendance 226