Woking’s history boys finally break Macclesfield away hoodoo

Malcolm Wyatt
12:00am, Sat 2nd Sep 2017
Macclesfield Town 1 Woking 3
2nd September 2017
Vanarama National League

Two decades after their last win at Moss Rose, Woking came from behind to secure their first three-pointer on the road this season, one seemingly against all odds.

A pulsating encounter was open right until Inih Effiong’s 89th-minute decider put the match beyond doubt, yet on another day both sides might have shipped half a dozen goals.

Ultimately, a host outfit full of attacking verve was thwarted by keeper Nathan Baxter, a determined defence and the woodwork, following a spirited shift from Anthony Limbrick’s young visitors.

Pulling back from behind through Jason Banton’s 27th-minute deflected goal, Woking forged ahead through Joe Ward before the break, keeping their nerve from there in an often frantic, nervy encounter.

And then came that sweet Effiong finish, Limbrick’s Cards up to ninth in the table – impressive for a side seemingly bereft of ideas in the first half at Wrexham seven days earlier.

Signs of improvement beyond 4pm at the Racecourse gave rise to an inspirational Kingfield win over Torquay two afternoons later, that shooting practice coming in handy as the Cards started September in style.

On a sunny afternoon west of the Peak District, visiting skipper Richard Orlu soon tested John Askey’s Silkmen with a header from industrious Chez Isaac’s first corner.

But Danny Whitaker was soon a threat at the other end, with great service from Elliott Durrell, whose first strike on goal went wide, Baxter soon in the thick of it.

Tyrone Marsh also became a further threat, while a 25-yard Dorrell effort went close, the Cards backing off, and Isaac intercepted as Whitaker threatened from lively Frenchman Gime Toure’s through-ball.

Banton cleared the next home corner and Baxter cut out a Toure drive, home pressure increasing, Macc’s breakthrough arriving as Marsh’s throw fed unmarked Durrell, who rose well to head across goal and home, his first goal for the club.

The same man was afforded further space in the following attack, spotting Baxter off his line and trying a cheeky lob, the hosts in command.

Josh Staunton got the better of Whitaker after an exchange of passes with Durrell, Macclesfield dictating the pace, while as Woking countered, Ward collected in the centre-circle and almost put Effiong in.

Matt Young broke on the right but was snuffed out, the Cards struggling to find a killer pass until Kane Ferdinand fed Banton, the midfielder taking his time before shooting on goal, a deflection wrong-footing ex-Woking keeper Shwan Jalal, who lost the ball over his shoulder.

Woking were almost in again a minute later, Ward with a couple of half-chances and Charlie Carter also close to netting, Jalal making up for before.

A further spell of home pressure followed, Toure kept out by Baxter, who then denied Durrell after a Whitaker long shot, the visitors’ defence rocking.

Ward struggled to capitalise on a neat Nathan Ralph left-wing break and lay-off, before Durrell came close with an audacious 40-yard effort and Marsh was unlucky with a header after Toure’s long ball caused problems.

Marsh was almost in again, as Durrell looked to thread through, but then came Woking’s second goal, against the run of play, Effiong and Banton combining, the latter laying off to Ward, who still had plenty to do, drawing Jalal then planting past the ex-Card, the ball slipping in off the right post.

Nervous moments ensued, Scott Burgess’ lob followed by an attack in which Young was floored, Toure tenacious by the left byeline, cutting back to Whitaker, the alert Ralph clearing off the line with Baxter beaten.

Half time: Macclesfield Town 1 Woking 2

Ralph was again to the rescue early in the second half, neatly timing a challenge from behind as Marsh, put in by Toure, limbered up to finish from close range, the defender then heading away from a corner.

As Woking countered, Carter found the side-netting after a deep Banton free-kick, Macclesfield struggling to clear, with Louis Ramsey soon replacing Young, both players putting in fine shifts.

Isaac stopped Durrell as the Silkmen came again, with Whitaker next in on goal following Keith Lowe’s long ball, keeping his poise and firing, Baxter beaten but seeing the ball smack his left post and cleared.

As the hosts threatened again, Kane Ferdinand cleared one cross while Banton cut out another from Adam Yates, while on the break Banton and Effiong traded passes before the latter hit the post, the ball rolling across the face of goal before Yates cleared.

From Durrell’s next cross, Josh Staunton headed behind, Isaac clearing from the next corner, another change following, debutant Regan Charles-Cook replaced Banton after his latest fine contribution.

Baxter was soon back in the soup, the Cards inviting pressure and the keeper spreading himself to check Marsh’s finish and Whitaker’s follow-up, luck remaining with the visitors.

Mitch Hancox was next to trouble the visitors, Baxter happily seeing his effort go wide, Ramsey cutting out his next cross, Scott Wilson soon refreshing the home attack.

Marsh struck over and Whitaker fed Wilson only for a raised flag, while Ramsey headed behind as the Silkmen pushed again, Baxter then fetching Durrell’s corner at the near post and Orlu smacking into touch as Wilson delivered.

Ferdinand intercepted and cleared the next searching ball, then Lowe’s poor finish brought groans from frustrated home fans, Woking remaining vulnerable.

Ralph made two more important touches as the hosts continued to stream upfield, hobbling Orlu taking forever to depart, his armband passed to Isaac, Ferdinand moving back, and Jamie Philpot joining the action.

Still the pressure came, Whitaker setting up another Marsh half-chance, Ramsey ushering back to Baxter with Wilson lurking, the next effort well wide, with the visitors struggling to keep possession at the other end.

Yet Philpot struck wide from an Effiong lay-off and Charles-Cook beavered away before that killer third goal on the break, Effiong winning on the edge of the box, Carter dinking over a defender and Effiong racing on to smash home, Limbrick and deputy Jason Goodliffe ecstatic.

Four added minutes followed, Baxter again denying Durrell, while Wilson’s effort was deflected for a corner, Staunton, Baxter and Ward also clearing before the final whistle and joy for staff and fans alike.

So, after seven league defeats and three draws at Moss Rose, victory at last, all the more pertinent with Geoff Chapple there to witness it, having been in charge 22 years earlier as Clive Walker’s penalty ensured an FA Trophy quarter-final win.

Woking went on that season to what proved to be the second of three Wembley successes in four years during the mid-90s. Let’s not get carried away, but maybe good times are around the corner again.

Macclesfield Town: Shwan Jalal, David Fitzpatrick, Keith Lowe, Elliott Durrell, Tyrone Marsh, Kieran Kennedy. Mitch Hancox, Adam Yates, Gime Toure (Koby Arthur 81), Scott Burgess (Scott Wilson 70), Danny Whitaker.

Unused subs: Courtney Richards, Billy O’Brien, Noe Baba.

Goals: Durrell 18.

Yellow card: Toure 63.

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Nathan Ralph, Josh Staunton, Richard Orlu © (Jamie Philpot 83), Chez Isaac, Inih Effiong, Jason Banton (Regan Charles-Cook 60), Charlie Carter. Matt Young (Louis Ramsay 52), Kane Ferdinand, Joe Ward.

Unused Subs: Bobson Bawling, Sam Mason.

Goals: Banton 27, Ward 41, Effiong 89

Referee: Savvas Yianni.

Attendance 1,289 (60 away fans).

My MOTM: Nathan Ralph – a goal-line clearance and several timely interceptions where less thought might have brought a dismissal. And those were just the headline moments. Led by example, one of several star turns giving their all, all over the pitch.

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