Football can be a cruel game and so it proved for Workington Reds this afternoon as they lost out to Nantwich Town in a hard-fought encounter.

Two penalties and a mistake from keeper Aaran Taylor accounted for three of Nantwich's four goals this afternoon as they secured a 4-2 victory.

And however hard Reds chased the game they could not get the breakthrough to put them on top and give them the crucial points they needed in the relegation battle.

Nantwich picked up some early pace and James Lawrie put in a thunderous shot from the edge of the box but it went wide of Aaran Taylor's goalpost.

And moments later they had the lead as they broke again and Sean Cooke put a great cross in, which Callum Saunders nodded down and Daniel Glover put the ball into the back of the net almost unopposed.

But their lead was shortlived as Workington struck right back, much to the delight of the home crowd. Just a minute later Jason Walker found himself with just the keeper to beat and he lofted it over his head and into the goal.

Reds could have took the lead just moments later when a shot from Garry Thompson was knocked away by the keeper and then desperately cleared out for a corner by the Nantwich defence.

The corner ball came in from Niall Cowperthwaite aiming for Matty Douglas, standing in space but his header went just over the bar.

Reds then gave away a soft penalty in the 19th minute as Gari Rowntree and and Jamie Morgan clashed in the box, both players went down and the ref pointed straight to the spot.

Sean Cooke stepped up to take it and made no mistake in putting it away to retake the lead.

Reds did not let their heads go down and when they got back into the danger area, Niall Cowperthwaite looked to take his chance. He took one touch and then shot but it went wide of the target.

And Jason Walker also saw his attempt at goal go wide of the target but they were ruffling some Nantwich feathers at the back.

Matty Douglas was called in to make a crucial clearance as a long ball looked to find Saunders but Douglas managed to trap the ball and turn to get it away.

Reds got another chance when Jason Walker was brought down and Conor Tinnion stood over the free kick. He launched it into the area and Josh Calvert got his head to it but the flag was up for offside.

But, coming up to half time Sam Smith gave away a free kick on the edge of the are, after bringing down Saunders. However, luckily for Reds Cooke put the chance wide of the target and the score stayed at 1-2.

Into the second half and Reds had a couple of early chances but they came to nothing as Symington shot into the arms of the keeper and Carroll's shot also rolled through to Lloyd Allison.

Then a Cowperthwaite long free kick just couldn't be finished off in the area while at the opposite end of the field a Saunders ball beat Aaran Taylor but bounced back off the post and was gratefully scooped up.

Another Cowperthwaite free kick was put into the box looking for Walker who went down but the referee waved play on and the ball was cleared as far as Carroll whose thumping return was well over the bar.

Dan Wordsworth came on to join the fray, replacing Smith in the centre of defence but he did not have a good start, giving away a penalty after colliding with Saunders and Cooke made no mistake yet again to extend Nantwich's lead.

This was starting to look like an uphill task for the Workington side as Saunders again got himself in a good position but his shot just went right across the face of Taylor's goal.

And a free kick just outside the box was put in well by Cooke and looked to be looping in but Taylor just got his fingertips to it to tip it over the crossbar.

Reds were given a glimmer of hope with 12 minutes remaining when Walker was brought down in the area and sub Scott Allison was the man who stepped forward to take it.

His confidence paid off as he put the ball home and brought the deficit back to just one goal for Reds as they tried to keep pushing forward for the equaliser.

Taylor was called on to clear off his own line as Joel Stair and James Lawrie were involved in a goalmouth scramble trying to restore their lead.

Then Reds moved the ball upfield and it was a long shot by Cowperthwaite that Allison took at the second attempt.

Saunders had anther golden opportunity to put the game out of reach for the visitors but Taylor came out well to deny him and the ball went out for the corner, which Reds cleared.

A Jordan Holt cross found Cowperthwaite inside the last minute but his effort was agonisingly wide of the target and Reds were still left chasing that elusive goal.

But in the end it came at the wrong end of the field as Taylor miss-kicked a backpass and it fell into the path of Saunders who calmly slotted home to secure the points at 2-4.