MICHAEL Clegg says “taking the handbrake off” was key to his Warrington Rylands side’s return to winning ways on Tuesday night.

Blues shook off back-to-back defeats in cup competitions in the last week by beating Workington 1-0 at Gorsey Lane to climb to second in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

Matt Regan scored their winner 13 minutes from time as they extended their unbeaten league run to nine matches to stay within four points of leaders Radcliffe – the only side to beat them in league football this season.

That came shortly after Scott Bakkor had missed from the penalty spot, with the striker seeing his attempted chip from 12 yards come off the crossbar.

Clegg admitted to have struggled to process his side’s 4-0 FA Trophy loss at lower-ranked Avro on Friday but was pleased with how his side responded to both that and a “scrappy” first half.

“At this level of football, you can always wipe out a bad result in a couple of days,” he said.

“It was tough for me because while I was really nice towards Avro after the game – rightly so because we were battered – it hurt me because I’m a winner.

“I struggled to sleep on Friday night because I wasn’t happy. A few lads had been waiting weeks for the chance they got at Avro and I wanted to see a different side of the team, but I didn’t.

“We came here tonight and in the second half, we showed what we’re about.

“You can’t dwell on defeats too long because before you know it, it can rip through a squad and all the confidence and belief you’d built up can disappear.

“We were scrappy in the first half and we just needed to take the handbrake off.

“We looked a little bit nervous and I don’t know why – I asked the lads at half time if they were looking at the league table because it has to be one game at a time for us.

“We made a pact that we just wanted to play attacking football, be intense and easy on the eye and we weren’t that in the first half.

“There were too many stray passes, we gave the ball away too much under no pressure but we were a different team in the second half.

“We really took the game to them and it should have finished more than 1-0. We obviously had the missed penalty and then a few one-on-ones – it could have been made a lot more comfortable.

“Workington knocked the ball around well considering the absentees they had, but our only gripe is we should have scored more than one goal.”

Blues had looked set for another frustrating evening until Regan climbed highest inside the Workington penalty area to power home a header from Ben Hardcastle’s corner.

It is the first goal scored by a Blues defender this season and Clegg was pleased to finally see one of his centre-halves contributing at the other end of the pitch.

“It's been a frustration of ours,” he said.

“Just before we scored, we were talking on the bench about changing something up, whether it was the set-piece takers or the movements we were making but then Reegs goes and puts that in.

“We win so many first contacts from set pieces but it’s been the second phases that have been letting us down, but I’m delighted for Reegs.

“He was great at the start of the season but had a bit of an injury that kept him out and it was a struggle for him to get back in.

“Tonight, he’s taken his chance.”