Cards in credit at Sincil bank

Ray Avards
6:43pm, Wed 5th Dec 2012
Lincoln City 0 Woking 2
Blue Square Bet Premier
4th December 2012

Woking turned greater poise and possession to account as they deservedly took all the points and kept a sheet clean for only the second time in the league this season, registering their third away win of the campaign. Some relief also by creating breathing space in a crowded mid table, whilst the bottom half of Conference National ‘concertinas’ from below.

The Cards reverted to a five-man midfield with Kevin Betsy and Bradley Bubb the wide men, left and right, with licence to attack. John Nutter, loaned from Lincoln, made way for Mike Cestor and Jayden Stockley for Bubb in the revised formation.

The Imps struggled to raise their game, sandwiched as this match was between an FA Cup Second Round draw with Mansfield Town and the lure of a replay next week with the winners to face Liverpool.

Woking refused to be impressed once they had settled and had the fillip of a goal after 5 minutes from the spot giving them all the encouragement they needed. Brett Williams drifted into the left-hand side of the penalty area with nowhere to go and lured a rash trip after just 5 minutes of an edgy opening for the Cards. Kevin Betsy smoothly planted his penalty the other way to keeper Paul Farman and confidence began to ooze back into the Woking ranks in the wake of Saturday’s mauling at Hyde.

A Brett Williams’ attempted one-two was foiled by a heavy touch in the next attack. Lincoln were nearly back in the game as a trademark long diagonal ball from the right found Taylor skipping round Howe’s dive and hastily withdrawn hand only for the forward to run the ball out of play.

A Taylor shot was easily saved by Howe and from his punch out at a corner the reply was ballooned over his bar. Despite these flurries the Cards were beginning to stack up against Lincoln as Woking closed their opponents down and made better use of possession. Billy Knott’s curler had been wide of the left-hand post, but Betsy intercepted on halfway and fed Knott for Williams to be blocked by a last-ditch tackle.

Gary Mills got round the side of the Woking defence but the tight angle was shut by Adam Doyle for a corner. From that City got the ball back in a second time but Boyce had to stretch for his header from around the penalty spot and it was soft.

Knott fed Bubb, who raced away on his own but could only shoot into the side netting with nothing else on. Gilbert’s pass back was too short for keeper Farman, who had to dive into the tackle outside his area with Williams, hurt briefly by his brave challenge.

Lincoln's striker Bassele, ‘helping out’ in midfield, succeeded only in blocking Garner’s clearance to Bubb, who raced away again but Sawyer could not connect with his lay-off and the chance was headed clear.

Bassele and Taylor probed for Lincoln and twice chipped crosses from right and left nearly unlocked Woking in the Imps’ best spell when they found what space there was beyond midfield.

In first half stoppage time Lincoln’s Scott Garner was penalised with a yellow card for holding his opponent as Woking pressed again. They could not prevent a neat counter-attack and free-kick bent in by Taylor at an often fatal time for the Cards, but it was headed clear despite Aaron Howe’s misjudging his position.

Half-time: Lincoln 0 Woking 1

Bassele made way for Oliver as a half-time Lincoln substitution and he was quickly in the action, sweeping in a diagonal cross from the left that Howe dived and pushed away on the floor for a corner. The resultant corner caused consternation for Woking and they were fortunate that Oliver’s hook shot facing the wrong way narrowly missed the far post. Later, Morgan tried his hand from long range but he was wide of the left-hand post and, later, Taylor’s shot was tame.

For Woking, Betsy had countered with Bubb to feed Sawyer, whose shot was blocked by two defenders on the edge of the area. This was brief respite for City. Sawyer skilfully dispossessed his man on halfway and his 25 yard pass bisected City and Bradley Bubb raced upon it to slide right-footed inside the left-hand post to make it 2-0.

Immediately Colin Larkin joined the fray in place of Morgan for the hosts. Free-kicks came against Woking and long throws landed from Dan Gray. Jamie Taylor slipped round Mike Cestor on his inside and on the edge of the area and he too was carded for holding. Alan Power’s free-kick was cleared.

Garry Hill shuffled his pack and made a double substitution: Jayden Stockley for Brett Williams, who had ploughed a lone furrow at times up front, and Gavin McCallum, for Bubb, against his old club, to get ‘the bird’ for his pains.

The two linked well to set up Knott almost immediately and his curled shot inside the area was clawed away by Farman at full stretch. Power nearly set up Gilbert coming in from the other wing but he could not connect with the cross. Dean Sinclair relieved the hard-working Sawyer inside the last 10 minutes and he enabled Knott to get forward again only for his shot from even closer in to be blocked last ditch by Boyce.

Gavin McCallum was wide with an effort and Gary Mills, having fired wide a little earlier, headed over in stoppage time after a set-up from Gray.

The Cards celebrated by starting their warm down within shouting distance of their loyal fans.

Sufficient to say that the expected return to a midfield five worked and the dividends reaped were clear to see.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Mike Cestor, Mark Ricketts, Lee Sawyer (Dean Sinclair 83), Billy Knott, Kevin Betsy, Bradley Bubb (Gavin McCallum 74), Brett Williams (Jayden Stockley 74)

Unused Subs: Sam Beasant, Loick Pires

Goals: Betsy (5) Bubb (66)

Cautions: Mike Cestor

Lincoln City : Paul Farman, Andrew Boyce, Scott Garner, Dan Gray, Peter Gilbert, Gary Mills, Alan Power, Jake Sheridan (Adam Smith 84) David Morgan, (Colin Larkin 70) Jamie Taylor, Aristede Bassele (Vadaine Oliver 46)

Unused subs: David Preece, Peter Bore

Cautions: Scott Garner; Jamie Taylor

MotM: Lee Sawyer who showed superb close control, gritty tackling and vision with a defence-splitting pass for the decisive second goal.

Attendance: 2,526

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