Cards league drought continues despite second-half rally
9:39am, Sun 20th Oct 2013
Wrexham 2 Woking 0
The Skrill Premier
19th October 2013
Struggling Woking remain rooted in the league drop zone after another luckless away trip, this time in North Wales.
A goal in each half from home skipper Dean Keates and Joe Clarke ultimately did the damage, but while the Cards were poor in the opening 45 minutes, they put in a more promising shift from there and were unlucky not to grab at least a point.
They started brightly enough in this battle of two under-performing sides, with Joe McNerney and Jack Parkinson psyched up in defence while Scott Rendell quickly tested the home defence.
At the other end, Sam Beasant collected as the hosts played in Joe Anyinsah, while experienced poacher Brett Ormerod turned and shot but saw his effort cut out.
John Nutter made a timely clearance after a quick home raid and subsequent cross, while Ormerod found the side-netting after another left-sided break.
Reds' keeper Andy Coughlin then got down well to a downward Parkinson header from a Gavin Williams corner, but a scrappy passage followed, with plenty of poor final balls from both sides.
And from one attack a familiar Cards weakness was exposed in the 21st minute, a Jay Harris short corner on the right teeing up Keates, who took a leaf out of Southportâ€™s Jamie Milliganâ€™s book a fortnight ago, firing home through a crowded box with Beasant unsighted, deceived by his own defenders.
That seemed to rouse the hosts, willed on by a commendable 3,000-plus crowd, Woking flat by comparison, their main attacking option Rendell isolated and boxed in.
Andy Bishop and Ormerod looked increasingly threatening, the home defence somewhat jittery by comparison as the Reds improved their passing game.
Clarkeâ€™s surging run left Adam Newton trailing before his finish tested Beasant, while Steve Tomassen looked assured in defence as he dispossessed Kevin Betsy.
As Wrexham broke again, Nutter calmly unloaded Anyinsah, while Ormerod mis-timed in front of goal but fed Keates, whose dipping volley was tipped over by Beasant.
And before the half was up, an Ormerod cross caused further worry, Garry Hillâ€™s mood as dark as the looming skies - the pre-match sunshine long gone.
The Cards finally made their way back into the opposition area before the break, good work by Williams and Betsy leading to the latterâ€™s cross, but Mike Cestor was crowded out.
Half-time: Wrexham 1 Woking 0
After Hillâ€™s understandably forthright words at the interval, the Cards were back out early, and soon played the Dragons at their own game â€“ with a little fire in the belly.
Cestor made a great run down the left and played in Rendell, and although he struggled to find a gap, two Nutter corners followed, McNerney proving a nuisance in the box.
The Cards central defender pitched in at the other end too, keeping out Bishop, who was clearly missing half-time sacrifice Ormerod.
Woking soon had their best two chances, Betsy beating two men on the right before playing in Rendell. And while his finish was not the best, Nutter fired back in and Cestor rose well to head at goal, striking the crossbar.
The hosts remained dangerous on the break, Beasant getting down well to a Bishop strike from distance before Cestor denied Clarke as he homed in on goal.
A move involving Cestor, Betsy, Williams and Nutter brought another corner, while a Parkinson long throw prompted more McNerney menace and another Rendell half-chance.
In the following attack, Mark Ricketts came close from distance too, the ball taking a deflection and going behind, the Dragons defending doggedly.
On a swift counter-attack, Ogleby was caught offside but carried on, missing the target anyway and then receiving a caution.
Betsy again went on a promising run, but after a one-two with Williams he finished weakly, the sun by now out again after heavy rain and Woking clearly on top.
A raid initiated by Cestor and again involving Betsy and Williams ended in a powerful yet off-target Ricketts finish, while Cestor stopped Mark Carrington as Wrexham again bounced back, Clarke striking wide in the next counter-attack.
With barely a quarter-hour left, subs Anthony McNamee and Giuseppe Sole added new options, but still the Reds looked capable of a killer goal on the break, despite Oglebyâ€™s on-going poor finishing.
Williams played in Betsy again, who tested Coughlin with a stinging shot, while Wrexham had a fresh target â€“ pacy sub Theo Bailey-Jones a threat on the right flank.
First time, he played in Ogleby, who lobbed Beasant but missed the target again, then the second time was checked by Cestor, who was booked.
Clarke wasnâ€™t far off from the following floated free-kick, but Woking pushed up again, McNameeâ€™s graft on the right leading to Coughlin conceding a corner, although Soleâ€™s in-swinger was cleared.
The game was finally put out of the Cardsâ€™ reach in the last minute of normal time, Clarke making an assured run from the right channel, Beasant coming at him but the midfielder keeping his cool to slot home.
Major celebrations followed, the hosts clearly feeling theyâ€™d proved their collective worth, confident of having finally turned a corner.
There was still time for Sole to win a corner on the right, and from McNameeâ€™s set-piece, Betsy tested Coughlin with a header.
But still the Woking goal drought continues â€“ the visitors now amassing four and a half hours of Skrill Premier football without scoring.
Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter (Anthony McNamee 72), Mark Ricketts Â©, Joe McNerney, Jack Parkinson, Gavin Williams, Kevin Betsy, Mike Cestor, Scott Rendell, John Goddard (Giuseppe Sole 72). Subs not used: Niall Wright, Will Salmon, Aaron Howe
Bookings: Ricketts 43, Cestor 87
Wrexham: Andy Coughlin, Mark Carrington, Steve Tomassen, Leon Clowes, Neil Ashton, Joe Clarke, Jay Harris, Dean Keates Â©, Brett Ormerod (Rob Ogleby 46), Andy Bishop, Joe Ansinyah (Theo Bailey-Jones 77). Subs not used: Anthony Stephens, Robbie Evans, Joslain Mayebi
Booking: Ogleby 63, Bishop 81
MOTM: Mike Cestor â€“ Like most Woking players, he struggled at times in the first half, but proved invaluable at both ends after the break and came close to a deserved goal.