Crucial Cards win in bid for great escape
12:00am, Fri 14th Apr 2017
Woking 1 Macclesfield Town 0
Vanarama National League
14th April 2017
Woking edged a nail-biting encounter this afternoon in their bid for survival in the National League. Gozie Ugwu was the calmest man at Kingfield this afternoon after his second half penalty kick was perfectly hit to secure a vital win at home to Macclesfield Town.
With many other relegation-threatened rivals also winning the bottom of the National League table has compressed together with little separating a whole host of teams. The Cards now enter a three game shoot out for the right to remain at this level next season. They remain outside the relegation places though only by virtue of having a better goal difference than some of their rivals.
Macclesfield Town arrived at Kingfield still with faint hopes of making the end of season play-offs. Their recent form had been impressive having won three of their last four games. Manager John Askey brought Ollie Norburn and Luke Summerfield into the side from the recent win over Maidstone. The Cards were also entering the game with much to feel confident about having taken four points from their last two games; this led Garry Hill to picking an unchanged side to take on the Silkmen.
The Cards faced the Jewson Stand in the first half; knowing that a win was imperative, Woking attacked from the kick off. An early build-up of play down the left between Ralph and Jones led to the latter feeding Murtagh in the centre of the Macclesfield half. With a narrow sight on goal his ambitious shot sailed over the bar. Soon after Murtagh floated a corner that was flicked back in by Sam-Yorke. Thomas beat his man to get there first but could only clip the ball wide of the post with Ross appeared beaten.
Macclesfield got their first surge forward in the seventh minute when Halls escaped from Ralph down the right. He put in an early cross into the onrushing strikers but Holroyd narrowly failed to collect the ball enabling Poke to comfortably collect.
Another Town attack was initially stopped by Murtagh defending on the edge of his area. The loose ball fell to Norburn but his curled shot narrowly rose above the top corner.
Woking again went on the attack in the 22nd minute when a Murtagh free kick from the left was curled in and fell back to Thomas. Though he was able to set up Delano Sam-Yorke for the shot he got under the ball and the attempt rose over the bar.
Sam Yorke escaped from his marker and began a searching run down to the right of the penalty area. However, he was tracked by Pilkington who was able to get a foot in at the moment the Cards forward looked to pull the trigger.
At the other end a probing run from Holroyd through the centre was played through to Browne looking to split the Cards defence. However, Browneâ€™s hesitation enabled Yakubu to sense the danger and get back to dispossess his opponent.
In the 39th minute Woking thought that they had caught out Macclesfieldâ€™s back-line. A looping ball over the top by Ralph enabled Sam Yorke to run through the gap and collect the ball as he ran towards goal. Ross ran out from his penalty area towards Sam Yorke and appeared to connect with the Cards striker in his attempts to dispossess him. Despite appeals from the Cards players referee Brook waved play on.
Sam Yorke again attacked moments later. At first it looked as though he had taken the ball past the Macclesfield backline. Halls though put an impressive effort in to get back and excellently timed his tackle to win the ball back.
The best chance of the first half fell right at the end of the half to the visitors. Whitaker whipped in a dangerous cross which was spectacularly met by Holroyd with his back to goal. His attempted overhead scissor kick crashed against the bar with Poke committed and beaten. The rebound fell
back fortunately for Browne but his shot was rushed and it somehow managed to miss the widely open goal.
Half Time: Woking 0 Macclesfield Town 0
Garry Hill had decided in the half time break to mix up his attack line for the Second Half and in search of a crucial goal brought on top scorer Gozie Ugwu for Jamie Lucas.
After a slow start, Woking registered their first attack of the second half in the 53rd minute. Jones played a long ball through for Sam Yorke to chase. As the ball bounced up it disturbed the flow of his run before the Cards forward was able to get a shot away. This bought just enough time for McCombe to get back and crowd him out.
A heavy tackle on Ismail Yakubu proved to be the start of the gameâ€™s focal point. With the Cardsâ€™ captain off of the field gaining treatment the home side continued to play on. Caprice got away from his man and crossed into the box from the right wing. As a hoard of players scrambled to meet the ball the referee blew his whistle to award a Woking penalty having adjudged that Whitaker had pulled back Ferdinand. Whitaker was also booked for the foul.
With last weekâ€™s penalty taker Jamie Lucas having previously been substituted responsibility for taking the kick fell to Gozie Ugwu. As he stepped up to take the kick he coolly slotted the ball low into the opposite corner to Rossâ€™s dive and the Leslie Gosden stand rose to their feet in celebration that the home side had taken the lead.
Two further substitutions followed as Charlie Carter was finally able to replace Yakubu whilst the Silkmen brought Hancox on for Summerfield.
Sam Yorke broke clear of the Macclesfield defence again in the 72nd minute. Having taken on two defenders he raced in on goal. The ball appeared to take a slight bobble and despite having only Ross to beat he was unable to regain control.
Macclesfield also continued to press the Cards backline as the minutes ticked by. Hancox beat Jones down the left and his cross found its way over to Whitaker in the penalty area. Having taken a touch to control his powerful shot fizzed at goal but was bravely blocked by Ralph to avert the danger.
Soon after Ralph played through a high searching ball for Ugwu to chase. With Ross running out from his goal-line Ugwu won the race to the ball but could only slide the ball around Ross wide of the near post.
Just as the Cards thought that they had done enough to hang on for the win Macclesfield posed one last challenge at their goal in added injury time. Fitzpatrick was able to find the space to get a shot away on the Cards goal from close range. Poke instinctively stretched out in anticipation and successfully guessed as he was able to tip the ball around his near post.
Referee Brook gave a blow of his whistle shortly after and the Cards were able to celebrate a hard earned three points to move their tally up to 48 for the season. They now prepare for the next game at Chester City on Easter Monday in their efforts to preserve their National League status.
Woking: Michael Poke, Terell Thomas, Ismail Yakubu (c) (Charlie Carter 61), Brian Saah, Jake Caprice, Joey Jones, Keiran Murtagh, Kane Ferdinand, Nathan Ralph, Jamie Lucas (Gozie Ugwu 46), Delano Sam-Yorke
Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Fabio Saraiva, Connor Hall
Goals: Ugwu (61 pen)
Macclesfield Town: Craig Ross, Andy Halls, John McCombe, George Pilkington, David Fitzpatrick, Danny Whitaker, Ollie Norburn (Danny Whitehead 85), Luke Summerfield (Mitch Hancox 63), Jack Mackreth (James Thorne 71), Chris Holroyd, Reece Browne
Unused Subs: Scott Flinders, Neill Byrne
Referee: Carl Brook
Sponsor's (Alan Barnes) MOTM: Nathan Ralph: Worked tirelessly. Delivered energetic runs down the left side and looked to feed his strikers with some accurate long deliveries.