Sole Grabs Last Gasp Winner

Jamie Hall
10:36am, Wed 1st Oct 2014
Woking 1 Nuneaton Town 0
Vanarama Conference
30th September 2014

Woking secured the win they desperately needed to end a run of three consecutive defeats against a Nuneaton Town side sitting precariously close to the foot of the table.

A last minute free-kick from Giuseppe Sole was the difference in a 1-0 win for the Cards, just as it had been at Aldershot earlier in the month, to help Garry Hill's side return to winning ways.

Sole's goal against Aldershot may have been slightly more spectacular against their local rivals but there could be no doubting the importance of the local boy's late, late show in this encounter.

Nuneaton's previous game was a 2-1 home defeat to Dartford and they were looking to bounce back themselves against a Woking side who they would have been hoping would be low on confidence following their recent reversals.

Woking were forced to make one change to their starting line-up from Saturday's defeat to Kidderminster Harriers with Josh Payne missing through suspension and being replaced in midfield by Theo Lewis.

Garry Hill set his side up in a 3-4-1-2 formation with Ross Worner in goal, Mike Cestor, Joe McNerney and Joey Jones at the back, a midfield four of John Goddard, Theo Lewis, Keiran Murtagh and Chris Arthur with Dean Morgan sitting just behind the front two of Scott Rendell and loan signing Jack Marriott.

A pleasant surprise for the home fans came with the announcement of the early return of Kevin Betsy as one of the substitutes following his knee operation at the start of the season.

The first chance of the game came just five minutes in as a free-kick on the right-hand side of the 18 yard box was whipped in by Theo Lewis and perfectly met the run of Scott Rendell, who glanced his header just wide of the goal.

Even though Woking had the first clear-cut chance of the game, Nuneaton were holding their own in the early stages and looked dangerous on the counter-attack, using the wings to open Woking up.

A great chance for Woking to take the lead arrived when sponsor's 'man of the match' John Goddard (pictured) ran at the Nuneaton defence and forced Reice Charles-Cook in the visitors' goal into making a fine save low to his left with a rifling shot from 20 yards.

Chris Arthur, who was a constant threat on the left flank, then broke with impressive speed and close control from his own half and played an excellent ball through to the on-running Jack Marriott, who muscled past his man into the box and tried to place it in from a tight angle only for Charles-Cook to save well.

Just before the half-hour, Woking could, and probably should, have taken the lead. A quick free-kick was played by Dean Morgan on the halfway line to Chris Arthur on the left. The Wimbledon loanee beat his man with pace and played in a low ball to the feet of Jack Marriott, who nine times out of ten would have buried the chance, but on this occasion the youngster ballooned his effort high over the bar from six yards.

Just a minute later and Woking were at it again with John Goddard and Scott Rendell playing a neat one-two on the edge of the opposition box, but the former skied over when he might have expected to do better.

Next it was Chris Arthur, once again marauding down the left-hand side. He burst into the box only to slice his effort well wide of the goal. As half-time approached, it seemed only a matter of time before the home team would take the lead. Good skills from Morgan then won his side a corner, which he took himself. From this, there was an almighty scramble inside the penalty area. The ball appeared to strike the hand of a Nuneaton defender, but to the consternation of the KRE, the referee waved play on.

The mood soon lifted on this area of terracing, however, as the biggest cheer of the night so far was reserved for the sight of Woking's veteran midfielder limbering up on the sidelines to the chant of ‘Super Kevin Betsy’ as he readied himself for second-half action.

Half-time: Woking 0 Nuneaton Town 0

Woking came out in determined mood for the second period, hoping to find the goal that would give them some breathing space and it wasn’t long before they troubled Charles-Cook again. No surprises that it was Arthur again causing problems as his clipped ball to the back post found Goddard, whose effort was saved and went flying away for the corner.

A tremendous reaction save from the visitors' 'keeper just five minutes later kept the score at 0-0 when he tipped the ball around the post after a major goalmouth scramble in front of the Leslie Gosden Stand.

Another good chance then fell to the home side when Marriott burst away on the counter-attack and let fly from distance. His effort was blocked but the ball fell to Rendell, whose scuffed shot broke for Morgan, who could only steer the opportunity wide.

The tension was now starting to rise and the frustration mount around Kingfield as the home side was unable to turn territorial domination into a goal. Garry Hill threw on Betsy and Sole for Marriott and Morgan to try to break the deadlock. Betsy was straightaway involved when he was brought down in the penalty area. The referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot only to reverse his decision when alerted by his assistant to an earlier offside.

It was not all Woking, however. Home supporters' hearts were in their mouths with ten minutes remaining when James Armson raced through on goal for the visitors only to blow a golden opportunity by blasting the ball over the bar.

Just when it seemed as though the match was destined to end in stalemate, the breakthrough finally came as the fourth official was about to indicate four minutes of stoppage time. Woking were awarded a free-kick 20 yards from goal. Only one man was ever going to step forward and, sure enough, Gez Sole took careful aim and confidently placed the ball into the right-hand corner of the goal with consummate poise and skill, much to the relief and delight of Garry and Steve on the touchline.

This hard-earned victory takes the Card back up into the play-off places on goal difference and, more importantly, back to winning ways. Next up for Woking is a long away trip to Southport this coming Saturday.

Woking: Ross Worner, Mike Cestor, Joe McNerney(c), Joey Jones, John Goddard, Theo Lewis (Adam Newton 66), Keiran Murtagh, Chris Arthur, Dean Morgan ( Kevin Betsy 76) Jack Marriott (Giuseppe Sole 76) Scott Rendell

Unused Subs: Jake Cole and Nicholas Arnold

Bookings: Theo Lewis (63), Gez Sole (88) and Adam Newton (89)

Goal: Giuseppe Sole (90)

Nuneaton: Reice Charles-Cook, Leon McSweeney, Theo Streete, Gareth Dean, Connor Franklin, Anton Brown, Lee Fowler, Craig Curran (Jorrin John 75), James Armson, Adam Walker, Ben Hutchinson

Unused Subs: Ben Starosta, Delroy Gordon, James Wren and Ryan Quinn

Bookings: Anton Brown (31) and Charles-Cook (88)

Sponsor’s MOTM: John Goddard

Attendance: 1,313

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