Woking News & Mail
FCP
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 29th MarchMar 2014
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 2117

Woking
Woking
2 - 1

Wrexham
Wrexham

Garry calls for support on Saturday

Brian Caffarey
6:38pm, Thu 27th Mar 2014
Woking v Wrexham
3pm on Saturday 29 March 2014

Immediately following the Cards’ sensational victory at Luton Town Garry Hill expressed the hope that a big crowd would turn up to support his team in their next home game versus Wrexham. The Luton result may have surprised a lot of people but regular Woking fans know that Garry has assembled a talented and hard-working side who play attractive football. Come down to Kingfield on Saturday to cheer them on as they look to rise rapidly up the table.

WOKING

It was a joy to see the Cards take the game to Luton at Kenilworth Road. There was no thought of packing the midfield or getting everyone behind the ball, but, instead, Woking controlled most of the game through intelligent, attacking, skilful, passing football. The display exemplified the fine balance in the current side, especially evident in the gifted midfield quartet of Josh Payne, Keiran Murtagh, Kevin Betsy and John Goddard. On the night, though, everyone played their part to the full to produce an outstanding team performance.

The victory at Luton made it three league wins in a row for Garry Hill’s side following a tremendous 3-1 win at Barnet and a more workaday 2-0 home win over Southport and took them past Garry’s initial target of 50 points. (Yesterday evening a strong Woking line-up beat Egham Town 7-1 to reach the final of the Surrey Senior Cup.) The Cards’ long rest from Conference action following the Luton game has seen the gap to the play-off places stretch to 10 points (possibly 11 after tonight’s game involving Braintree and Nuneaton), although the Cards now have a game or two in hand on most clubs above them. With only nine games left and a host of clubs in contention, the odds are heavily against the Cards being able to bridge that divide but Garry Hill’s side now have two home games in quick succession: victories in both of those games would certainly make for a potentially very interesting finish to the season!

But the Cards will have to start both games without the hugely influential Josh Payne, suspended for two games. Options include moving Mark Ricketts back into midfield, with either Brett Johnson or Mike Cestor pairing with Joe McNerney at centre back, or bringing in Joey Jones as a direct replacement.

WREXHAM

It’s been a dreadfully disappointing season for the Reds. A club of Wrexham’s stature could be expected to be up there challenging Luton for that automatic promotion place – indeed, they reached the play-offs in the previous three seasons only to lose out to Luton twice and, in last year’s final, to Newport County – but, instead, the worry all season has been that they might slip into the relegation zone. Those concerns saw player-manager Andy Morrell step down recently, with Nuneaton Town’s manager, Kevin Wilkin, appointed as his successor last week.

Wrexham started the season with a somewhat fortunate 2-1 home win over Welling but failed to win in their following six league games. Some better results followed, including a notable home win over Luton Town, but February saw three defeats and one draw. Fortunately for the Reds, two wins over Hereford United earlier this month ensured that it was Hereford, rather than Wrexham, who have ended up in a relegation fight.

Wrexham now lie in 16th place, one place above Woking on goal difference. Last Saturday, in Wilkin’s first game in charge, Wrexham drew 1-1 at home to Salisbury City.

The Dragons’ squad includes some familiar names in skipper Dean Keates and strikers Brett Ormerod, Rob Ogleby and Andy Bishop. But huge centre back Mark Creighton was forced to retire through injury and Wrexham have also lost Polish midfielder Adrian Cieslewicz on a transfer to rivals Kidderminster Harriers. New additions last summer included winger Joe Anyinsah from Bristol Rovers; David Artell, a commanding centre-back who had a loan spell from Northampton last season; and keeper Andy Coughlin from Tranmere Rovers.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults £15
Over 65s and students (with valid student card) £10
U16s £3

The game will be segregated, with Wrexham fans allocated the Chris Lane Terrace (standing) and the far side of the Leslie Gosden Stand (seated).

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

Saturday’s 56-page programme includes some very interesting features. Ian Nicholson interviews recently-appointed Club Director Kelvin Reay. Mark Doyle, in a moving piece, writes about some of the Woking players lost in the Great War, while Richard Mason recalls the great amateur football scene of 60 years ago. And of course there are all the usual match reports, previews, news and great photos. If you can’t get to the game, you can order a copy from the Club Shop on shop@wokingfc.co.uk

LAST TIME OUT

Wrexham 2 Woking 0
19 October 2013

Woking’s poor early-season form continued, with this result leaving them firmly rooted in the bottom four with no goals scored in over four hours of football.

The Cards looked very flat in the first half, going behind in the 21st minute to a shot fired in by Dean Keates through a crowded penalty area following a short corner. A nervy Woking defence was fortunate to get through to half-time without conceding again.

It was a different story in the second half as the Cards at last showed some fire. Mike Cestor saw a header strike the bar and the Cards carved out a number of other chances but without being able to finish. Wrexham, meanwhile, always looked dangerous on the break and, in the last minute of normal time, Joe Clarke made the game safe, slotting past Sam Beasant after getting clear of the Woking defence.

Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter (Anthony McNamee 72), Mark Ricketts ©, 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 ©, 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

Attendance: 3,183

NEXT UP

The Cards are at home again on Tuesday evening when they take on Forest Green Rovers.

Come on, you Cards!

Jones Slays Welsh Dragons

Marcus Vlassak
12:32pm, Sun 30th Mar 2014
Woking 2 Wrexham 1
The Skrill Premier
29th March 2014

Joey Jones’ neatly-taken finish shortly after half-time sealed all three points for Garry Hill’s men in an, at times, cagey encounter, but one they found themselves largely dominating.

Woking’s early pressure paid off with Scott Rendell bagging his 14th goal of the season in all competitions. A swift counter-attack saw Jack Marriott’s lobbed effort fall kindly at the feet of Rendell at the far post, leaving the frontman to slot home from six yards out for an easy opener. Before Woking could build on their early lead, however, Wrexham struck back just two minutes later through Johnny Hunt’s scrappy equaliser, to level the scores at one a piece.

Both teams entered the game level on 51 points but today’s result saw the Cards leap-frog their opponents into 16th and inch a step closer to the elusive final play-off place.

Garry Hill’s men lined up in a similar 4-4-2 formation to that against Luton with Jones replacing the suspended Josh Payne as the anchor in midfield. He and Keiran Murtagh provided service for in-form strike duo Rendell and Marriott with Kevin Betsy and John Goddard providing the width. The centre half pairing of Mark Ricketts and Joe McNerney proved hard to break down with Newton and Nutter slotting in either side, ahead of number one Aaron Howe in the Woking goal.

Despite having not been in league action for twelve days following their emphatic 1-0 win away at table-toppers Luton, the Cards went into today’s game as the in-form side, boasting three wins home and away in their last three Skrill Premier matches. Wrexham, however, who in previous seasons had been challenging strongly for a promotion place, now find themselves not only in a dismal 17th place with only three away wins since Christmas, but with manager Kevin Wilkin in only his second game in charge of the Dragons.

The home team started extremely brightly and should have been a goal to the good after only three minutes when Marriott's clever cut-back found Murtagh on the edge of the six-yard box, but the Woking midfielder could only sky the ball high over the bar into the neighbouring gardens. Marriott's and Rendell’s early link-up play was proving more than a handful for the Wrexham back four and there was another opportunity for the opening goal when a John Goddard counter-attack wound up with Marriott's half-volley attempt being tipped over the Wrexham crossbar.

There was no doubt that Woking were continuing their impressive league form from twelve days earlier at Luton as they pressed for the opening goal and they were rewarded when they took the lead on twenty minutes as Rendell slotted home Marriott's shot-cum-cross at Andy Coughlin’s far post.

This was just the boost the Cards needed to build on an already positive start. But almost immediately after the re-start, the visitors were back on level terms when a Dean Keates free-kick produced a good first save from Aaron Howe, only for the second ball to be turned into the Woking keeper’s net by Wrexham’s Johnny Hunt. An equaliser, somewhat against the run of play, took the wind completely out of Woking’s sails and breathed life into a newly revitalised Dragons’ side as half-time loomed.

Just before the interval, there was an unforeseen blow for the home side as Howe pulled up inside his own box clutching his knee and was replaced by Sam Beasant.

Half-time: Woking 1 Wrexham 1

A perfectly poised game at half-time set up a potentially enthralling second forty-five minutes.

Garry and Steve had clearly reinvigorated the home team at the break and they regained the lead just before the hour mark. The Wrexham defence failed to clear a corner and Betsy’s blocked attempt from the edge of the box fell to Yeovil loanee Joey Jones just inside the box. The youngster swivelled cleverly and coolly buried his shot into the corner of the net.

Now 2-1 up and in the ascendency, Woking pushed for a third to put the match to bed. Murtagh and Cards' Player of the Month John Goddard posed more of an attacking threat, Goddard’s Ronaldinho-esque flick over a Wrexham defender and subsequent volley would have been a shoo-in for goal of the season had his shot nestled in Coughlin’s net.

With ten minutes left on the clock, Garry Hill changed his tactics to try and see the game out at 2-1. The introduction of Brett Johnson as a third central defender and Gez Sole on the left of a midfield four gave Woking a new look 5-4-1 formation as the game drew to a close. There was to be no late drama as Giuseppe Sole, on his 250th Woking appearance, rattled the crossbar with his right-footed free-kick, as he capped off an overall accomplished display by the Woking players.

This was a testing game for the Cards in which they prevailed over the Skrill Premier’s Welsh representatives, dominating large chunks of the game and looking particularly dangerous on the counter-attack at times. Not a game for precision passing on a bobbly playing surface, Woking capitalised on their opportunities and that was ultimately the difference.

Another three points sees the Cards victorious in their last four games and they entertain Forest Green Rovers at Kingfield on Tuesday April 1st in search of a fifth successive league win.

Woking: Aaron Howe (Sam Beasant 43), Adam Newton, John Nutter, Mark Ricketts (c), Joe McNerney, Kevin Betsy, Keiran Murtagh, Scott Rendell, John Goddard, Jack Marriott (Giuseppe Sole 75), Joey Jones (Brett Johnson 81)

Unused Subs: Mike Cestor, Reece Beckles

Goals: Scott Rendell 20, Joey Jones 57

Cautions: John Goddard 79

Wrexham: Andy Coughlin, Stephen Wright, Neil Ashton, Danny Livesy, Joe Clarke, Jay Harris, Andy Bishop (Brett Ormerod 79), Dean Keates (c), Jonny Hunt, Bradley Reid (Joe Anyinsah 66), Mark Carrington

Unused Subs: Joslain Mayebi, Steve Tomassen, Dave Artell

Goal: Johnny Hunt 21

Bookings: Stephen Wright 90

My MOTM: Joey Jones - a commanding performance in the Woking midfield topped off with the winning goal

Attendance: 2,117
WOKING LINEUP
1Aaron Howe ('43)
2Adam Newton
3John Nutter
5Joe McNerney
4Mark Ricketts
30Joe Jones ('81)
26Keiran Murtagh
11Kevin Betsy
22John Goddard
21Scott Rendell
25Jack Marriott ('75)
BENCH
18Sam Beasant ('43)
6Brett Johnson ('81)
15Mike Cestor
20Giuseppe Sole ('75)
34Reece Beckles
Wrexham LINEUP

Woking 2-1 Wrexham (Garry Hill Interview)

Joey Jones Interview

Nick Shaw
7:33pm, Sat 29th Mar 2014
David Holmes talks to Man of the Match Joey Jones following Woking's 2-1 win at home to Wrexham today.

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