Undefeated Woking up to third after Lincoln City win

Haydn Cobb
7:03pm, Sat 6th Sep 2014
Woking 3 Lincoln City 1
Vanarama Conference
6th September 2014

Woking maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a superb 3-1 victory over a battling Lincoln City side thanks to two goals from Dean Morgan either side of a Josh Payne free-kick.

The Cards move up to third place in the Vanarama Conference after seven games with four wins and three draws. Barnet and FC Halifax Town both won their fixtures, meaning the Cards remain three points off the top.

The home side took a comfortable two-goal lead into the interval thanks to a 15th minute strike from Morgan and a wonderful curling free-kick by Payne just a minute before halftime.

The Lincolnshire side battled back at the start of the second period and grabbed a goal through Jordan Burrow in the 56th minute in a penalty box scramble.

As the away side searched desperately for an equaliser, the Cards picked off Lincoln City on the break and Morgan’s second of the afternoon sealed Woking’s fourth victory of the season.

Woking manager Garry Hill will be pleased by his side’s resolution against a threatening comeback during the second half and their ability to pick off their opponents on the counter while soaking up pressure. The addition of Dean Morgan in the number 10 role proved pivotal for the Cards. The forward made a late burst into the box to score the opener and he remained cool to slot in Woking’s decisive third goal of the afternoon.

Both sides used the first few minutes to work out each other’s game plan, with Lincoln City controlling the majority of possession in the opening exchanges.

Lincoln City right back Jake Caprice made early inroads down the flank and forced a corner off Chris Arthur. Sean Newton’s in-swinging corner was met well by Tony Diagne but he could only head his attempt over Aaron Howe’s crossbar.

The home side’s first opportunity came after Scott Rendell won a free-kick for a push in the back from Diagne. Josh Payne’s 25-yard free kick from the right forced Lincoln into conceding a corner. Joe McNerney and Mark Ricketts came up for the corner but the Lincoln defence did just enough to deny Woking getting on the end of anything.
With a quarter of an hour played, Lincoln City’s Jordan Burrow attempted an audacious 30-yard dink over goalkeeper Howe but the ball looped harmlessly over the crossbar.

From Howe’s goal-kick Woking opened the scoring when Vanarama Conference top scorer Scott Rendell won a flick-on and charged forward down the right flank. With time to look up, he picked out strike partner Sole but new signing Dean Morgan gave Sole a shout to let the ball run on to him. With Morgan unmarked, he was able to throw a dummy and shift the ball on to his right foot and with a powerful low strike from the edge of the area, he gave Woking a 15th-minute lead.

The Cardinals continued their trend of scoring the first goal of the game early thanks to the pace and power of Rendell. Morgan, playing in his preferred number 10 role, was able to float into the Lincoln City area unnoticed and he had enough time and presence of mind to pick his spot rather than blasting his shot at Nick Townsend’s goal.

The tricky Caprice continued to cause Woking problems down the right-hand side. A deep cross was misjudged by Ricketts and enabled Ben Tomlinson to force a snapshot from 12 yards but his effort was lofted over Howe’s goal.

On 32 minutes Woking thought they had a second goal but it was ruled offside by a late flag. A crunching tackle from Josh Payne on City’s Josh Nolan bumped the ball into the path of Sole. The striker skipped past a challenge before threading a lovely pass behind the Lincoln City defence to Rendell. He took the ball neatly and rounded the goalkeeper, slotting it in from a tight angle but his celebrations were cut short by the offside decision.

Despite the score remaining at 1-0, Lincoln City were clearly rocked by Woking’s attacking threat and began to give up possession cheaply. The visitors were reduced to long, aimless passes which the ever-confident Howe was able to sweep up and clear from danger.

The worry for Garry Hill’s men was Caprice’s success down Woking’s left. Caprice won City’s second corner of the match, which was directed at the front post and flicked on by ex-Card Delano Sam-Yorke. His flick found Burrow, who had risen highest, but he could only head his effort past the post when he should have found the target.

With the half-time whistle fast approaching, Woking pushed for a two-goal cushion. Theo Lewis drilled a low cross towards Sole and the City clearance only found Payne. His snapshot rebounded back to him but the midfielder was brought down 25 yards out.

On the 44th minute Sole and Payne stood over the free-kick with an excited Cards following behind the goal. Payne’s magnificent right-footed effort got up and down and evaded the Lincoln City goalkeeper, nestling into the bottom left corner to the delight of the fans.

Half-time: Woking 2 Lincoln City 0

Whatever was said at half-time, Lincoln City came out with an added urgency and Jon Nolan attempted a 30-yard effort, which Howe saved. Such was the dominance of Woking in the first 45, it was the Imps' first shot on target.

Tomlinson won a free-kick on the left touchline after colliding into James Clarke. City captain Power swung in a floated cross which was grabbed comfortably by Howe, who barged through a couple of City players resulting in a furious reaction from Sam-Yorke. Referee Chris Rock had to intervene and tell the ex-Cards man to cool down.

Once the dispute was resolved, Woking went down the other end and very nearly grabbed their third. Sole worked himself a yard of space in the area and unleashed a stinging shot which was parried by goalkeeper Townsend. Rendell stretched to reach the rebound but five yards out he couldn’t get his effort on target. His blushes were spared as it would not have counted after the striker was judged to be offside.

Woking appeared to briefly stifle the re-energised Lincoln City but the away side looked the better side after the re-start.

Lincoln City’s Sean Newton did well to win a corner down on the left, which he took himself with the box loaded with bodies. With 65 minutes played, Woking failed to deal with Newton’s right-footed corner, which pinged around the six-yard box. The ball fell to Burrow, who poked the ball towards the goal and it deflected off Howe, along the line and off the post. Referee Rock didn’t give the goal but linesman Shaun Barry judged it to have crossed the goal line.

The goal rocked the home fans, who went into a nervous silence as the travelling Imps supporters roared their team back into the game with 25 minutes to play.

Lincoln City pushed more men forward and brought on an additional striker, Marcus Marshall, in search of the equaliser. The tactical switch gave Rendell and Morgan more space between the lines to latch onto loose balls. On the 73rd minute the away side failed to clear the ball and Rendell broke free from his marker to smash the ball towards goal. Goalkeeper Townsend could only parry the ball straight into the path of Morgan, who calmly slotted into an empty net with Townsend on the floor.

The home fans let out a cheer, more in relief, and Woking’s confidence in possession returned despite Lincoln still pushing men forward.

The away side left more gaps at the back, which enabled the Cards to counter-attack at will. Chris Arthur broke free with the ball and sparked a four versus three in Woking’s favour. Arthur twisted and turned defenders but his shot darted past the far post.

Woking’s backline stood resolute, with Howe coming to collect anything which floated above the defenders’ heads.

With the game fading out, Woking manager Hill shuffled his pack. Mike Cestor returned from injury on the left-hand side of the defence for Theo Lewis and Nick Arnold replaced Chris Arthur and took a position on the right side of the midfield.

With Lincoln City out of puff, Woking saw out the four minutes of injury time to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Chris Arthur (Nick Arnold 82’), Joe McNerney, Mark Ricketts (c), James Clarke, Theo Lewis (Mike Cestor 65’), Josh Payne, Joey Jones, Dean Morgan, Giuseppe Sole (John Goddard 56’), Scott Rendell

Unused subs: Andy Little, Reece Beckles

Goals: Morgan 15, 73; Payne 44

Booked: Arthur

Lincoln City: Nick Townsend, Jake Caprice (Sahr Kabba 77’), Sean Newton, Hamza Bencherif, Tony Diagne, Alan Power (C) (Karl Ledsham 73’), Jordan Burrow, Ben Tomlinson, Arnaud Mendy, Jon Nolan, Delano Sam-Yorke (Marcus Marshall 65’)

Unused subs: Paul Farman, Todd Jordan

Goals: Burrow 64

Referee: David Rock

Sponsors' MOTM: Joe McNerney

Attendance: 2160

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