Woking 4 Barnet 1
Vanarama National League
Saturday 21st November 2020
Woking produced another stunning performance to thrash Barnet at Kingfield, despite seeing Charlie Cooper sent off after half an hour, and climb â€“ temporarily - up to second in the Vanarama National League table.
An early goal from Kane Ferdinand and an own goal by Jerome Binnom-Williams gave Alan Dowsonâ€™s team control, but the game was shaken-up when Charlie Cooper picked up two yellow cards in the space of three first-half minutes, the first for stopping a Barnet counter-attack and the second for a foul.
Woking withstood Barnet pressure either side of halftime and struck back to make the game safe through goals from Max Kretzschmar and Dave Tarpey, with Michal Petrasson giving Barnet a late consolation from the penalty spot.
At fulltime Woking had moved up to second in the league, five points behind early pacesetters Torquay United, but were pushed back to third following the late game between Sutton United and Wealdstone.
Dowson will be delighted with his teamâ€™s turnaround in form, having lost three and drawn one game in all competitions before Tuesday nightâ€™s win over Dover Athletic, while Woking have hit a rich form in front of goal by netting nine goals in the space of two games.
The Cards were able to name an unchanged starting line-up from the impressive 5-1 victory away at Dover last Tuesday, with both Ben Gerring and Matt Jarvis on the bench again.
In a frantic opening few minutes, the visitors fashioned the first attempt on target, but Ephron Mason-Clarkâ€™s effort, cutting inside on his left foot from 25 yards out, was comfortably held by Craig Ross.
But it was Woking who took the lead, with smart play to catch the Barnet defence off-guard. Josh Davison won a freekick in the middle of the pitch which was quickly chipped over the Barnet backline by Kretzschmar to Ferdinand who kept his composure to get the ball under control before picking his spot to give goalkeeper Scott Loach no chance
Ferdinandâ€™s third goal in two games gave Woking the early ascendancy as Barnet struggled to find any rhythm.
Despite Wokingâ€™s confident start, it was Barnetâ€™s own poor play which provided the home teamâ€™s second goal. After Barnet failed to clear a long throw-in from Jack Cook, the resulting corner from Cooper was headed into the net at the back post by Barnetâ€™s Jerome Binnow-Williams under seemingly little pressure.
The two-goal cushion didnâ€™t stop Wokingâ€™s intensity, aside from an Alex McQueen freekick that was held by Ross, but the Cardâ€™s afternoon became trickier following a frustrating three minutes.
Cooper was shown a yellow card for stopping a Barnet counterattack, but his game would be over on the half-hour mark when he picked up a second yellow card for a controversial foul in a 50-50 tackle given by referee Sunny Gill. Both sets of players argued the foul could have been given either way, but the referee ruled in Barnetâ€™s favour and duly gave Cooper his marching orders.
The red card handed momentum to Barnet but Woking weathered the initial storm to make it to halftime with a clean sheet intact.
Half-time: Woking 2 Barnet 0
Having recharged and reorganised, with both Tarpey and Kretzschmar dropping slightly deeper to track the full-backs, Woking held a resolute backline while still offering attacks when the opportunity came.
This tactic provided Woking with their third goal of the game when Barnetâ€™s defensive frailties were exposed again.
After conceding a corner from a threatening freekick, the ball was cleared to the edge of the box by Barnet, but they were powerless to stop Kretzschmar from collecting the loose ball, beating a defender and volleying home to give Woking a comfortable advantage with a little under 30 minutes left to play.
To the oppositionâ€™s credit, Barnet continued to fight, and were unlucky to not get one back on 65 minutes when an in-swinging freekick from Mason-Clark was flicked on by Anthony Wordsworth but the ex-AFC Wimbledon playerâ€™s header rebounded off of the far post and into the arms of a thankful Ross.
In these COVID-19 times, the game became a kind of a milestone given the same fixture last season was Wokingâ€™s last before the campaign was ended prematurely by the pandemic.
While the chance of a latecomer to the game was impossible within the ground, any fans tuning into the live stream late could easily make the mistake that Barnet were the team a player down.
Wokingâ€™s authority on the game and the score grew as the second half wore on and their last goal was the best of the game as Tarpey grabbed his first of the season.
Tireless work by Kretzschmar to cut inside from the right flank, beating two defenders in the process, allowed him to manufacture space on the edge of the box and find Tarpey cutting in from the left. The Woking forward beat the final defender and delivered a powerful strike to beat Loach to make the game safe.
Dave Tarpey fires home Woking's 4th; pic: David Holmes
A coat of gloss was taken off the result by a late consolation goal for Barnet, with substitute Petrasson converting a penalty on the 89th minute. Kyran Lofthouse, who had been outstanding all game, appeared to trip Xander McBurnie inside the box, but play was allowed to continue with the ball falling to Muhammadu Faal whose shot was saved by Ross.
But referee Gill called play back to award Barnet a penalty, much to Rossâ€™s frustration who was booked for his reaction, with Petrasson converting to deny Woking the clean sheet.
Despite the small blemish, Woking still ended the game worthy winners and deserve full credit for keeping their heads after the red card.
With Woking originally scheduled to face Macclesfield next weekend, they now have 10 days to prepare for home game against Sutton United, aiming to avenge the pair of defeats suffered over their local rivals over last seasonâ€™s Christmas period.
13 Craig Ross; 3 Josh Casey Â©, 2 Jack Cook, 6 Saul Shotton, 16 Kyran Lofthouse; 4 Charlie Cooper, 18 Ben Dempsey; 7 Dave Tarpey, 8 Kane Ferdinand, 10 Max Kretzschmar; 25 Josh Davison (14 Slavi Spasov 77)
5 Ben Gerring, 11 Matt Jarvis, 12 Nathan Collier, 23 Jayden Wareham
Ferdinand 7, (OG) Binnom-Williams 17, Kretzschmar 63, Tarpey 83
Cooper 28, Ross 89
1 Scott Loach; 3 Jack Conners (10 Michael Petrasson 55), 7 Alex McQueen (33 Anthony Vasiliou 78), 11 JJ Hooper, 16 Harry Taylor; 18 Wesley Fonguck (14 Muhammadu Faal 72), 19 Xander McBurnie, 26 Jerome Binnom-Williams, 27 Ephron Mason-Clark; 31 Ben Nugent, 40 Anthony Wordsworth
24 Aymen Azaze, 35 Loic Hernandez
Petrasson (pen) 89
Man of the Match:
Max Kretzschmar â€“ set up two goals and scored another, he was a pain to Barnetâ€™s defence throughout while also providing cover once Woking were reduced to 10 men.