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Substitute Ugwu secures all 3 points against Sutton

Nathan Thomas
12:00am, Sat 1st Apr 2017
Woking 2 Sutton United 1
Vanarama National League
1st April 2017

Woking overcame a strong Sutton United side on Saturday afternoon with an important 2-1 victory to bring them out of the National League relegation zone. Goals from Delano Sam-Yorke and substitute Gozie Ugwu either side of a Kieron Cadogan equaliser sealed all three points for The Cards.

Woking came into an important home game against Sutton United with a real desire to bounce back from last Saturday's disappointing home loss against Maidstone. The game's importance was further increased due to Torquay's win in midweek forcing Woking into the National League relegation zone.

Garry Hill once again opted to keep Cards’ top scorer Gozie Ugwu on the bench, persisting with Delano Sam-Yorke and loanee Jamie Lucas upfront. The game kicked off on a showery April afternoon with the pitch at Kingfield looking much greener and drier than it was in the winter months.

Woking started the game fairly comfortable in possession, despite their position in the league. Sam-Yorke swivelled quickly but could only swipe an effort across goal. Sutton then fired a more promising effort at the other end as Dan Spence was allowed to cut inside and drive a powerful effort just wide of Poke's right-hand post.

Woking were then given the perfect start to the game five minutes in. A loose ball found Nathan Ralph marauding from left-back, he got to the byline and whipped in a lovely cross before he was hacked down. His cross found the unmarked Delano Sam-Yorke, who had acres of room to head his effort past U's keeper Puddy from 8 yards out. The Cards would need to be careful though, with last week's 2nd half collapse from having a two goal lead fresh in their minds. It was Sam-Yorke's fourth goal in three games since his return on loan from Maidstone.

Sutton didn't seemed fazed by the home side's early breakthrough, with the visiting side passing the ball around quickly with pace and efficiency - the Sutton visiting support were also in fine voice. Woking's Ismail Yakubu was then aggravated by a flailing boot from ex-Arsenal man Craig Eastmond which the referee deemed as not worthy of a booking. Ben Jefford was then booked for Sutton for a strong challenge on Charlie Carter as the first 15 minutes continued its lively fashion. Sutton continued to enjoy the share of the possession with Woking's back five working incredibly hard to keep the early lead.

Jefford found U's striker Adam Coombes with a low cross 20 minutes in, but Coombes could only turn and guide his effort wide of the mark. The first half followed a similar pattern, though, with Woking's rigid defensive system trying to plug the persistent Sutton pressure. Cards' loanee Jamie Lucas had his first half-chance of the game after 25 minutes, when a lofted ball played him in behind Nicky Bailey, but U's keeper Puddy won the foot race and clawed the ball away from Lucas's feet. Kieron Cadogan then responded to the Woking chance by blazing a short free-kick way over Poke's bar.

Woking's lead was so nearly doubled in the 32nd minute, another good cross from Ralph eventually found Cards skipper Murtagh, whose drilled effort from the edge of the box was deflected via a Sutton boot, leaving the U's keeper helpless. The ball, however, crept narrowly wide for a corner which came to nothing.

Sutton then had a corner themselves which carved two excellent chances for the visitors to draw level. The corner found the head of centre-back Jamie Collins, his header from the back-post looped over Poke, but hit the left-hand post, maybe getting a touch off a Cards defender. The ball wasn't fully cleared and Cadogan put in another dangerous cross to the onrushing Nicky Bailey; his glancing header at the near post was inches over the bar onto the roof of the net. It was the visitors' first two clear chances in the space of 10 seconds with 10 minutes left in the first half. An injury from the two chances then forced Adam Coombes off for the visitors. He was replaced by Bedsente Gomis.

An inspired run from February player of the month, Terell Thomas, from his own box, nearly forced a chance in the three minutes additional time at the end of the first half, but the centre-back was judged to be offside when the ball found him again in the Sutton box. The first half then ended with a lull with Woking pleased to have a narrow lead over their mid-table counterparts. Two headers within a few seconds threatened Woking's lead, but the Cards went into the 2nd half 1-0 up, after Sam-Yorke's powerful early header.

Half-time: Woking 1 Sutton United 0

A big second half performance was needed from The Cards for the three points. Sutton looked dangerous from their first half attacks and concentration was needed throughout. The visitors came out five minutes earlier than The Cards.

Sutton had an early corner which caught the Woking defence totally asleep. The onrushing Roarie Deacon was totally unmarked but his header was wayward. Woking nearly responded with a goal a minute later, as Charlie Carter neatly turned on the edge of the box and unleashed a ferocious shot across the Sutton goal. Will Puddy did wonderfully well to guide a strong palm away from any onrushing Woking attackers. Carter then nearly turned provider of a good chance in the 50th minute as a he played a composed ball into Lucas but it was just too quick for The Cards striker.

Sam-Yorke's industrious work produced a corner for skipper Murtagh to deliver in the 53rd minute. His ball in found Charlie Carter yet again but his effort was way over. Nathan Ralph was then booked at the other end for a late tackle. The second half followed suit to the second, with Woking soaking up the visitors’ pressure and looking to hit them quickly on the counter, a dangerous game.

Sutton's reply came in scrappy fashion in the 62nd minute. The ball bobbled about in the Woking box and wasn't cleared effectively, the eventual clearance from Terell Thomas unfortunately hit Kieron Cadogan in the 6-yard box and Poke was helpless as the ball fizzed back in the bottom-left corner. Sutton now had their tails up. A speculative effort then followed, which Poke did superbly to tip over the bar.

Murtagh nearly restored Woking's lead with a free-kick 20 yards out, but once again, Puddy produced a strong save that cleared any danger that followed. The game opened up following the equaliser, with Roarie Deacon going up the other end and flashing a shot just wide of Poke's right-hand post. Goal scorer Cadogan then put in a sharp cross as Sutton started to assert some real dominance. Hill tried to add energy into the side in the 72nd minute as Charlie Carter and Jamie Lucas were taken off for Connor Hall and Gozie Ugwu.

Another set-piece nearly put the visitors in the lead but Woking were once again let off as the scuffed effort from Eastmond was wide. Caprice then came on for Joey Jones as Garry Hill made his final change of the afternoon 77 minutes in. The last ten minutes required an almighty push if The Cards were going to get all three points.

With seven minutes to go, Woking scored what could be a vital goal. Energetic work from Jake Caprice and a bit of skill eventually allowed a calm ball to be played across to Nathan Ralph. Ralph produced another assist for the afternoon as he drilled a powerful ball into the grateful feet of substitute Ugwu. He calmly took a touch, allowed the U's keeper to go to ground to make a save and stroked the ball into the empty net - a huge goal. Sam-Yorke nearly doubled The Cards' lead after a corner from Murtagh five minutes from time was tipped behind for another Cards corner but it came to nothing.

The fresh legs of Caprice added an extra zest to Woking's attacks. Another corner from Murtagh just short of the 90 came to nothing. Woking needed to be careful not to commit too many men forward as Sutton still looked dangerous on the counter. The 4th official agonisingly added three minutes of added time which allowed a Sutton corner which Ugwu did well to clear.

But the Cards saw out an important victory at home against their Surrey neighbours, with the game finishing 2-1 - a huge three points for Woking in their survival bid.

Woking: Michael Poke, Charlie Carter (Connor Hall 72), Nathan Ralph, Terell Thomas, Brian Saah, Ismail Yakubu (c), Joey Jones (Jake Caprice 77), Keiran Murtagh, Kane Ferdinand, Delano Sam-Yorke, Jamie Lucas (Gozie Uwgu 72)

Unused Substitutes: Brandon Hall, Fabio Saraiva

Goals: Sam-Yorke 5, Ugwu 83

Bookings: Yakubu 34, Ralph 55

Sutton: Will Puddy, Ben Jefford, Louis John, Jamie Collins, Craig Eastmond, Nicky Bailey, Dan Spence, Roarie Deacon, Maxime Biamou, Adam Coombes (Bedsente Gomis 41), Kieron Cadogan.

Goals: Cadogan 62

Subs: Adam May, Jack Jebb, Seb Brown, Simon Downer

Bookings: Jefford 15

Sponsors' MOTM: Terell Thomas, the February player of the month was imperious at the back and stopped Sutton from scoring more. He also looked comfortable on the ball, often starting attacks

Attendance: 1,537

Referee: Alan Young

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