Woking bounce back to play with heart and Sole

Ben Mitchell
9:56am, Sun 26th Oct 2014
Woking 2 Boreham Wood 1
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
October 25th 2014

Giuseppe Sole (pictured) became only the tenth centurion in Woking's 125 year history, scoring goals number 100 and 101 in a 2-1 victory against Conference South high-flyers Boreham Wood. The win sees the Cards progress to the 1st round proper of the FA Cup for the first time under Garry Hill. Woking will be ball number 80 in Monday evening's draw, to be shown on live television, but they made it harder than they needed to, against a Wood side who, on current form, would not look out of place in the Conference Premier.

After an end-to-end first half, Sole broke the deadlock with a superb glancing header early in the second, only for Wood's Ricky Shakes to cancel it out a minute later, with a simple tap-in. The club's new centurion then became the cup saviour for the home side by expertly finishing a well-timed pass from summer loan signing Chris Arthur. Despite constant pressure from Wood in the last 15 minutes, Woking did enough to power themselves over the line and will be looking forward to learning who their cup opponents for the next round on the 8th November will be.

The game started in a typically open FA Cup fashion, with both teams trying to get that first important goal. Wood looked dangerous on the counter-attack with the pace of Lee Angol and the guile of Graeme Montgomery allowing them to work dangerous efforts across home 'keeper Jake Cole's goal. Cole, who replaced cup-tied Ross Worner, proved influential throughout the match, with a variety of box-to-box long balls that allowed John Goddard, Scott Rendell and Sole to test opposite number James Russell's quick reactions.

A long ball from the Wood defence saw Angol unleash a first time volley from 20 yards which, if not for a stellar stop from Cole, would surely have seen them take the lead. Woking failed to clear the rebound as Adam Newton found himself hounded by Montgomery, who picked his pocket before whipping a dangerous ball straight across the six-yard box.

After a frantic first quarter, where both teams were trying to claim control of the game, Woking began to find that extra gear. Betsy continued to pepper the box with pinpoint crosses that saw two diving headers from Sole and Rendell go narrowly wide.

Keiran Murtagh was an ever-present force, controlling the middle of the park and drawing the first of three fouls in as many minutes as Woking turned up the pressure on their opponents. Wood's Sam Cox slammed the ball down in frustration after being called for a foul on Murtagh, Junior Morais then became agitated during a competitive tussle with Newton, shouldering the Woking full-back and receiving the game's first yellow card, before Josh Hill appeared to use Rendell as a ladder just outside the penalty area, which resulted in a dangerous looking free kick. Sole delivered the set piece which saw Betsy produce a header of his own, forcing yet another save from Russell to push it over the bar.

However, Woking failed to capitalise on this pressure by converting any of their many first-half chances.

Wood saw their opportunity and began to press high up the pitch. From one attack, the visitors felt aggrieved as vehement appeals for a penalty were waved aside by referee Justin Amey as the lively Angol used his pace to try to turn and move past Newton, resulting in a coming together between the two players.

Montgomery maybe should have finished his third chance of the game, the best of the bunch. Arthur found himself flat-footed as Wood's Jason Brown floated past him before dragging a low pass back to Montgomery, in space on the penalty spot, who leant back as he pulled the trigger, watching his shot sail high over the bar.

Woking had the final say of the half, however, as Betsy orchestrated a goalmouth scramble which saw shots from Sole and Rendell blocked before Murtagh's side-footed effort brought a good save from the feet of Russell.

Half-time: Woking 0 Boreham Wood 0

The visitors were the first of the sides to emerge from the tunnel after the break, looking to capitalise on what was a positive first half for the Conference South side. Immediately, a good interchange between Angol and Montgomery just outside the box showed their attacking intent.

A defensive slip-up between Arthur and Joe McNerney allowed Wood's Morais to turn sharply on goal and if not for the speed and agility of Cole, who flung himself at the striker's feet, their early pressure could have paid off.

It wasn't until the 56th minute that the deadlock was finally broken by the home side. Sole, Woking's player of the month for September, leapt the highest to get on the end of yet another superb cross from the wing, notching up his 100th goal for the club.

Unfortunately, it seemed as though eyes may have already been on Monday's draw as Ricky Shakes ghosted into the six-yard box, unmarked, to tap in Wood's equaliser just moments after they went behind.

After last week's performance, the home fans may have been fearing the worst but Arthur showed the strength and pace that Cards supporters have come to appreciate since he joined the club on loan in the summer. He picked out a low cross to Sole, who opened up his body and placed the ball into the bottom corner, just five minutes after his opener.

The Woking striker was then denied a hat-trick in the final quarter, with a sublime save from Russell, before being substituted to the sound of rapturous applause.

Woking began to live dangerously, but their well-drilled high line defence only allowed long-range shots. In particular, an effort from substitute David Moli would have been more suited to Kingsholm than Kingfield.

In the dying moments of the game Woking only managed to clear their lines as far as Wood's Junior Morias, who was waiting just outside the box to head the ball back into the danger zone. The ball spun up to a grateful Shakes, who headed it firmly into the back of the net. To the relief of the home fans, however, the assistant referee's offside flag came to the rescue and the referee signalled the end of the game shortly after.

So, a tough game for the Cards, who did just enough to ease themselves over the line. A win's a win, nevertheless, and injured club captain Mark Ricketts summed up Woking's display perfectly in a post-match interview: 'It's more important to play ugly and win, than play well and lose'. Woking's attacking wide play from Kevin Betsy and Chris Arthur was a major positive from the game and it was fitting that Sole was rightly named the sponsor's man of the match after reaching his century of goals.

The team now turn their attention back to the league as a difficult away trip to Braintree faces them this coming Saturday.

Woking: Jake Cole, Adam Newton, Joe McNerney (c), Josh Payne (Joey Jones 70), Keiran Murtagh, Scott Rendell, Giuseppe Sole (Jack Marriott 86), Kevin Betsy, John Goodard (Theo Lewis 70), Chris Arthur

Unused subs: Mike Cestor, John Nutter, Dean Morgan, Andy Little

Goals: Giuseppe Sole 56, 61

Cautions: Giuseppe Sole, Joe McNerney

Boreham Wood: James Russell, Luke Garrard, Jason Brown, Sam Cox, Josh Hill, Callum Reynolds, Mathew Whichelow (David Moli), Ricky Shakes, Lee Angol, Junior Morias, Graeme Montgomery (Scott Thomas)

Unused subs: Mario Noto, Austin Lipman, James Courtnage, Ryan Johnson, Greg Morgan

Goal: Ricky Shakes 57

Caution: Junior Morias

Sponsor's Man of the Match: Giuseppe Sole

Attendance: 1,107

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