Gez rushes in where Angels fear to tread

David Richardson
8:30am, Tue 10th Apr 2012
Woking 2 Tonbridge Angels 1
Blue Square Bet South
9 April 2012

With the possibility of winning the league today, if Dartford were to lose, it was vital Woking didn’t relax after their magnificent win at Basingstoke on Good Friday. Although the Cards found themselves behind to a Frannie Collin goal in the fortieth minute, they responded immediately with a Moses Ademola equaliser and then “goal machine� Giuseppe Sole (pictured) grabbed a magnificent winner seven minutes from time to equal Bob Reeves (1945/6) and Jackie Kyle’s (1907/8) record of scoring in eight consecutive games. It was no surprise that he told me after the game that it was, “probably one of the most important goals I’ve ever scored.“

Garry Hill made three changes from the team that beat Basingstoke three days ago. Kevin Betsy served the first of his two game suspension and was replaced by Dale Binns. Paris Cowan-Hall came in for Elvis Hammond to partner Giuseppe Sole upfront, whilst Adam Newton returned to captain the team in place of Glenn Wilson at right back. After missing out on Friday due to illness, Jack King started on the bench. Tonbridge were only able to name two substitutes on the bench but they had the ever-dangerous Frannie Collin in their ranks as well as ex-Card Nathan Koranteng.

As the rain fell over Kingfield, Tonbridge got the game underway. It was evident in the opening minutes that the surface was quick and that players were struggling to keep their footing, which meant for a high tempo and exciting game. Almost immediately, Collin tried to weave a way through the Woking defence, which gave his team a corner that was headed wide by Ollie Schulz - a face familiar to Woking after his headed goal for Dover in the play-off game at Kingfield.

Up the other end, Alan Inns only just managed to get on the end of Sole’s corner but his effort went wide. Moments later in the eleventh minute, Cowan-Hall crossed for Sole at the back post to head past Worgan and equal Reeves's and Kyle’s record. However, it was quickly ruled out by referee John O’Brien, who judged that Sole had pushed his marker in the back to gain the advantage in winning the header.

The Cards nearly fell behind, when Suarez then gave Aaron Howe an early scare after heading Collin’s free-kick against the crossbar and out for a goal kick.

It was then the Cards who came close to open the scoring when Howe’s kick from his hands skipped up off the greasy surface for Cowan-Hall to run onto but his attempted lob went over the bar. Woking came even closer to getting the opening goal when Sole was then brought down around thirty yards from the Angels' goal. Taking the free-kick, his powerful swerving shot was tipped onto the post by Worgan and somehow Cowan-Hall couldn’t get a decent connection with his effort from the rebound. Cowan-Hall then had another great chance when he was played in on goal by Davis with an inch-perfect pass, after the midfielder won possession just inside the Tonbridge half, but Ben Judge managed to tackle Cowan-Hall before he could get his shot away.

In the thirty-ninth minute, Woking again spurned another opportunity to take the lead. McNerney found himself in unfamiliar territory in the Tonbridge area, after Sole had delightfully chipped a ball over the Angels' defence to him, but he fired well over.

These missed chances were to prove costly, because immediately Tonbridge went up the other end and scored the game’s opening goal. Hill got the better of Woking left back Derek Duncan and played the ball into Collin, whose effort was brilliantly blocked by Inns. The ball then fell to Hill who fired a fierce shot at goal, which struck the post and rebounded to Collin again, who shot high into the roof of the Woking net. The Cards could have felt hard done by to be a goal down after the chances they had created and missed.

Woking were now facing a real test of character to get back in the game but the goal, thankfully, didn’t seem to faze them as they struck bac'k straightaway. Dale Binns picked the ball up just inside the Angels half, beat two Tonbridge players, surged down to the by-line and cut the ball back across to Ademola, who joyously slammed the ball home from three yards to score his fourteenth goal of the season.

Half-Time: Woking 1 Tonbridge Angels 1

With Dartford leading Bromley 0-2, Woking knew they couldn’t afford to lose, which was worrying as Tonbridge started brightly with Collin and Schulz forcing Howe into making saves. Sole was then fouled twice in quick succession by Angels' captain Lee Browning and Schulz, which resulted in both of them being cautioned. Sole fired two yards over from the resulting free-kick from Schulz’s foul.

Woking gradually started to build momentum as Murtagh played through Cowan-Hall, who again missed the target, shooting half a yard wide of the Tonbridge goal. Binns shot over from a corner before disaster struck for Tonbridge. Browning, already on a yellow card, lunged in high on Ademola from behind and was promptly shown a straight red by O’Brien. This prompted a substitution from Tonbridge and, moments later, Woking did likewise with Elvis Hammond replacing Cowan-Hall and soon after King replaced the tiring Binns.

Hammond was then brought down twice and both free-kicks from Duncan narrowly missed the target. Just when it looked like it wasn’t to be Woking’s day, up popped that Sole man again, with a quite fantastic goal. Gathering the ball on the half-way line, Sole pushed the ball past the last Angels’ defender and raced on and with coolness personified, kept his head and slotted the ball past Worgan into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. The whole of Kingfield erupted and Sole was rightly engulfed by his jubilant teammates. It was a goal worthy of winning any game.

With the LGS in full voice, Woking stormed forward again. Ademola battled hard on the left before picking out Hammond, whose effort was blocked. Murtagh was then brought down on the edge of the Angels' penalty area and Sole’s resulting free-kick went wide.

The four minutes of injury time seemed to last forever but finally the referee blew his whistle and the three vital points were Woking’s. This was, particularly given the importance of the game, a brilliant and valuable win for the Cards, especially with Dartford beating Bromley today to keep up the pressure.

So with three games to go, Woking need three points to secure promotion. It has been an exciting season for Woking fans with many highlights to look back on. The 5-0 away win at Sutton on the opening day of the season, the two wins over promotion rivals Dartford, the two wins over local rivals Farnborough and Joe McNerney’s last-minute winner at home to Bromley. The list goes on. However, the key component to Woking’s success has been the appointment of Garry Hill and Steve Thompson, who have built and managed the team superbly throughout the past season and a half. Long may their reign of success continue at the Club.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Derek Duncan, Keiran Murtagh, Alan Inns, Joe McNerney, Paris Cowan-Hall (Elvis Hammond 72), Tom Davis, Moses Ademola, Giuseppe Sole, Dale Binns (Jack King 75)
Unused Subs: Andy Little, Mike Cestor, Glenn Wilson

Caution: Tom Davis 62

Tonbridge Angels: Lee Worgan, Sonny Miles, Jon Heath, Lee Browning, Ben Judge, Ollie Schulz, Rory Hill (Joe Benjamin 49), Chris Piper, Mikel Suarez (Tim Olorunda 70), Frannie Collin, Nathan Koranteng

Cautions: Ollie Schulz 52, Lee Browning 54, Ben Judge, Mikel Suarez, Tim Olorunda
Red Card: Lee Browning 66

Sponsor’s MOTM: Tom Davis

Attendance: 2430

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