Impressive Cards complete double over Hatters
10:23am, Sun 9th Dec 2012
Woking 1 Stockport County 0
Blue Square Bet Premier
8th December 2012
Woking achieved a hard-earned victory over Stockport County, the only goal of the game coming five minutes from time courtesy of a header from 'man of the match' Adam Doyle. In an exciting and entertaining encounter, which was full of good football, the Cards deserved their victory, if only as a result of creating more clear-cut chances than their opponents. The Cards fans were made to sweat, however, and the game seemed to be heading for a draw before Doyle popped up late on to secure all three points. Stockport always posed a threat, particularly from set pieces, but seemed to lack a cutting edge to convert half-chances into goals.
Not surprisingly, Garry Hill chose to stick with the same side which pulled off the excellent win on Tuesday night at Lincoln City, with the exception of Dean Sinclair replacing Lee Sawyer, who picked up an injury in the mid-week victory. The Cards lined up in the now familiar 4-5-1 formation with a back four of Newton, McNerney, Doyle and Cestor. The midfield comprised Ricketts, Sinclair, Knott, Betsy and Bubb, with Williams employed as the lone front runner.
The game got off to an explosive start, with more than a hint of controversy. After only two minutes, Brett Williams unleashed a powerful shot from twenty-five yards following good work from Kevin Betsy. The ball slammed into the underside of the bar and rebounded to safety. The referee immediately looked to his assistant for confirmation as to whether or not the ball had crossed the line but, through no fault of his own, his assistant was in no position to categorically rule one way or the other and play was allowed to continue. This was possibly a bad break for the Cards as the ball looked as though it might well have crossed the line but in the circumstances the referee, who had an excellent game, made the sensible and correct decision.
This incident seemed to spur on the Cards, who continued to look sharp and incisive going forward, with Billy Knott in particular showing up well with his honest endeavour and skilful touches. On twenty minutes, Woking should have taken the lead. Betsy released Bradley Bubb down the right, who made progress before whipping an excellent cross into the County six yard box. Unfortunately, Brett Williams, steaming in at the far post, could only balloon his shot high over the bar from two yards out when it seemed impossible to miss the target.
The Cards continued to take the game to County and to look the more likely of the two teams to break the deadlock but their defence needed to be alert, particularly to the threat of set pieces, as the ball was often being played into dangerous areas. Fortunately for the Cards, their back line was looking more solid than it has been at Kingfield for some time. Doyle in particular had an excellent game with Mark Ricketts, in front of the back four, having possibly his best game since returning from injury at the start of the season.
As the match headed into stoppage time at the end of the half, both teams spurned the opportunity to take the lead. Firstly, Aaron Howe saved well from a Danny Hattersley shot from six yards out when the striker might have done better. Immediately, Brett Williams found himself in space twelve yards out at the other end of the pitch but his effort was well saved by County 'keeper Ian Ormson.
Half-time: Woking 0 Stockport County 0
The open feel to the match continued at the start of the second half. Williams was again prominent for Woking with a couple of good efforts before County forced three corners in quick succession which were all repelled by the Cards defence. Following yet another corner (County had nine throughout the match), the Cards counter-attacked swiftly with Betsy again prominent, but the move eventually fizzled out.
The high tempo of the match did not let up as the half progressed and it was clear that neither team would be content to settle for a draw. Billy Knott almost broke the deadlock on the hour with an excellent shot from the edge of the area which curved narrowly wide of the 'keeper's right-hand post. At the other end, Howe had to race from his line to save with his feet as a County forward bore down on goal.
On sixty-nine minutes, Loick Pires replaced Brett Williams as the Cards looked to find fresh impetus in a match where one goal was now looking as though it would be enough to secure victory for either side. Once again, it seemed as though Woking would be the team to achieve the breakthrough when, on seventy-three minutes, Kevin Betsy agonisingly headed onto the top of the crossbar from a free-kick.
With time ticking away, it appeared odds-on that it was going to be one of those frustrating games for the Cards where they would be unable to convert their fine approach play into any tangible reward. It was fitting, therefore, that with five minutes remaining, 'man of the match' Adam Doyle, producing one of his best-ever displays for Woking, should score the only goal of the game as he rose to nod in an excellent Billy Knott cross.
The game was not over yet and in true Cards style there was time for one last mad scramble in their six-yard box deep into added-on time before they managed to hack the ball clear and the referee blew to end the game.
There is no doubt that, on the balance of play and chances created, Woking deserved to win the match. Following the previous Saturday's drubbing at Hyde, the players provided the best possible response, showing great character to notch back-to back victories against difficult opposition and, importantly, keeping a clean sheet in both games.
Hopefully, the team will go into next week's home FA Trophy tie against Welling with the belief that they can progress to the latter stages of the competition.
Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor (John Nutter 43), Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Mark Ricketts, Dean Sinclair (Jack Parkinson 87), Billy, Knott, Kevin Betsy, Bradley Bubb, Brett Williams (Loick Pires 69)
Unused Subs: Sam Beasant, Gavin McCallum
Goals: Adam Doyle 85
Cautions: Bradley Bubb 58; Loick Pires 90
Stockport County: Ian Ormson, Andy Halls (Danny Whitehead 87), Sean Newton, James Tunnicliffe, Joe Connor, Danny O'Donnell, Matty Mainwaring, Paul Turnbull (Jordan Fagbola 55) Danny Hattersley (Joe Bunney 76), Sam Sheridan, Connor Jennings
Unused Subs: Dane Smith, Sam Hibbert
Cautions: James Tunnicliffe 70
MOTM: Adam Doyle. Superb defensive performance, capped by the winning goal.