Boz's Fruit & Veg

Goddard double ensures first win of the season

Glen Harrington
9:42am, Wed 12th Aug 2015
Woking 2 Bromley 0
The Vanarama National League
August 11th 2015

An excellent all-round performance from the Cards provided the perfect response to Saturday’s opening day disappointment at Tranmere Rovers, with a brace from John Goddard enough to see off newly promoted Bromley.

Woking’s midfield maestro scored either side of half-time to help ease the burden of Scott Rendell’s absence, while Giuseppe Sole – leading the line in Rendell’s place – also did well, working extremely hard throughout.

Defensively, the Cards were largely untroubled, with centre-back pairing Brian Saah and Ismail Yakubu marshalling the threat of prolific non-league striker Alex Wall. Mark Ricketts was also superb, winning everything in the middle of the park, and the home side were good value for the points.

Garry Hill made just two changes to the team that was narrowly beaten at Prenton Park, with Sole replacing the injured Rendell, while Kadel Daniel started on the right in place of Bruno Andrade. Full-back Adam Newton, out of retirement after just three months away from the game, made up the numbers on the bench.

The visitors were unchanged from their impressive 3-1 opening day victory over Wrexham, which meant a first appearance at the Laithwaite Community Stadium for Moses Ademola – playing with the name Emmanuel on the back of his shirt – since he left us in 2012.

The Cards started the game well, with Keiran Murtagh forcing an early save from goalkeeper Alan Julian, who spilt the initial effort and needed a nearby defender to hack the ball clear before the midfielder could pounce on the rebound.

However, a strong and physical Bromley side quickly worked their way back into the game, with the Ravens enjoying the better of the early chances. Jake Cole saved from Bradley Goldberg and Joe Anderson, although neither effort particularly stretched our number one.

After a hard-fought opening half hour which produced very few clear-cut opportunities, the game turned dramatically in Woking’s favour. The away side lost both Lee Minshull and Rob Swaine to injury, either side of the opening goal, throwing the plans of visiting manager Mark Goldberg into turmoil.

Goddard scored the first goal of Woking’s new season. Sole – positioned on the left-hand side of the penalty area – brought the ball down well out of the air, turned his defender, and squared his pass perfectly for the No. 11 to slot his strike past Julian and into the net. He celebrated in style too, lifting up his shirt to reveal his own get well soon message to Rendell.

Half-time: Woking 1 Bromley 0

Bromley were out early at the start of the second-half, with their new-look team intent on an early response. Unfortunately, they did anything but. The visitors, without leading defender and captain Swaine, were caught sleeping at the back and Woking had a second inside six minutes.

Sole was again the provider, beating Julian to the ball and forcing the goalkeeper into a save. Unfortunately for the former Newport and Dartford stopper, the ball then rebounded kindly into the path of Goddard, who was afforded the simplest of tasks to smash home his second. Despite Julian’s protests – with the keeper annoyed by Sole’s apparently rash attempt to reach the ball – the goal stood.

The home side, now full of confidence, dominated much of the second-half. The likes of Jake Caprice, Chris Arthur (pictured) and Daniel – only signed at the weekend – caused plenty of problems in the wide positions, while Murtagh and midfield partner Joey Jones held together an encouragingly balanced looking team.

Bruno Andrade – the second of our two most recent additions – was equally troublesome when he came on, chasing every loose ball and always keeping the defenders on their toes. Indeed, with Woking having had so much joy out wide, it’s sad to think what a night Rendell might have had against such opposition.

The scoreline might have been even more flattering, had Goddard taken his chance for a hat-trick, when he instead lashed the ball across the face of goal. Sole was also left frustrated when Goddard, again chasing his third, elected to shoot from a tight angle when his teammate was in a better position.

To their credit, Bromley kept fighting until the final whistle, with wide-man Anthony Cook particularly industrious down the left-hand side. In fact, it needed Newton – making his second debut for the club – to come on for the final few minutes, and help cancel out the threat of the 26-year-old playmaker.

All in all, it was an extremely positive night for the Cards. Until now, players, coaches and supporters alike haven’t have had many reasons to smile over the last couple of days, but this match will have gone a long way to easing any fears about the quality of our squad.

Anything other than a win could have left Garry Hill with some difficult questions to answer – particularly in relation to how we plan on replacing Rendell – and while that does still remain an issue, it’s good to know that we can produce a performance of such quality even without our main striker.

Bromley were a decent test and showed enough to suggest that they can more than hold their own at this level, but there will be plenty of tough opponents to come in the weeks ahead, starting with Altrincham this weekend at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.

Why not come down and support the team if you possibly can?

Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice (Adam Newton 83), Chris Arthur, Mark Ricketts (c), Brian Saah, Ismail Yakubu, Joey Jones, Keiran Murtagh, Giuseppe Sole (Godfrey Poku 79), John Goddard, Kadel Daniel (Bruno Andrade 64)

Subs not used: Reece Beckles, Nick Hamann

Goals: John Goddard 36, 51

Bookings: Daniel 37, Caprice 69

Bromley: Alan Julian, Ugo Udoji, Ali Fuseini, Rob Swaine (Jack Holland 40), Bradley Goldberg, Anthony Cook, Joe Anderson, Lee Minshull (Reece Prestedge 20), Alex Wall, Moses Emmanuel (Louis Dennis 64), Sean Francis

Subs not used: Pierre Joseph-Dubois, Ben May

Goals: None

Bookings: Alex Wall 43, Ugo Udoji 49

Attendance: 1,507

Sponsor's MOTM: Chris Arthur – he worked his socks off all night down the left-hand side. He was always back and ready to do his defensive duties when needed, while also pushing forward well.

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