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Triumphant Cards deal out upset to Bury Cup opponents

Malcolm Wyatt
12:00am, Tue 14th Nov 2017
Bury 0 Woking 3
FA Cup First Round Replay
14th November 2017

History-makers Woking pulled off another great FA Cup shock on Tuesday night, with League One strugglers Bury given a lesson in superior finishing at Gigg Lane.

Anthony Limbrick’s spirited National League visitors rode their luck at key points in the first half on a damp night in North Manchester, but went ahead against the run of play and never looked back against increasingly-fragile opposition, that Shakers’ nickname proving mightily apt.

Boos rang out from home supporters long before this result was a certainty, but they stuck around to give their vanquishers a respectful reception, the Cards having dealt out something of a masterclass in positivity and chance-taking.

Regan Charles-Cook got the party started half an hour in, the Surrey visitors never sitting back from there, continuing to take the game to their hosts and finally breaking away to score twice more and put the tie beyond doubt.

That set up an enticing home second-round tie with either fellow National League outfit Tranmere or further League One side Peterborough, and it was no more than Limbrick’s side deserved over two games.

At the Laithwaite Community Stadium nine days earlier, the Cards were unlucky not to win outright, bouncing back from Michael Smith’s first-minute strike to level through Jamie Philpot and push from there, more than matching Football League opposition.

But Bury seemed to have built on that backs-to-the-wall draw, caretaker boss Ryan Lowe eager to take the job full time, following that with a Checkatrade Trophy victory and a hard-earned league point.

Woking arrived on the back of a hard-fought draw at Halifax, ending a run of three straight league losses. Yet Limbrick still made changes, Millwall loanee Philpot and homegrown prospect Declan Appau left on the bench, while Chez Isaac and Joe Ward regained starting places.

On a greasy surface (amid ‘the fine rain that soaks you through’, as nearby-born comic Peter Kay put it), it took a while for Woking to find their feet.

Again Smith looked a handful, with plenty of service and options around him, not least first-half playmaker Neil Danns and fellow target Nicky Ajose.

Smith soon had a snap-shot from the edge of the area, his effort smacking the post and somehow bouncing back to a relieved Baxter, who smothered the ball as Ajose hovered.

The latter then cut open the visitors’ defence, finding Smith again, Baxter coming off best in a one-on-one, his defence sweeping up.

Baxter did well to cut out another deep delivery, while in the next attack Joey Jones belted away, Woking – playing in yellow - living on their nerves as Baxter then punched away Jay O’Shea’s effort.

In the visitors’ first attack of substance, Kane Ferdinand drilled wide after good work by industrious Matt Young, whose next centre had home goalie Leonardo Fasan on his toes.

Ajose again tested Baxter with a header from a Danns centre, the keeper then clearing O’Shea’s corner, while Greg Leigh finished poorly after a promising raid.

The ever-more confident Cards started to win more midfield battles, Regan Charles-Cook tenacious in attack and Inih Effiong using his strength to almost play in Joe Ward at the right post.

The Shakers were still on top, but Woking were organised enough to deny them enough space for that to count, and then broke through themselves against the run of play, a move started in defence by Jordan Wynter taken on at pace in the middle of the park by Inih Effiong, leading to a Ward cross for Charles-Cook to fire home.

Bury fought back, but Baxter cut out Ajose’s header, home frustration increasing as Rohan Ince and Danns’ next move broke down too easily and a Smith cross was thwarted.

When Ince’s following centre found Smith’s head, it looked like Bury would level, but again he hit the woodwork, with O’Shea next to miss the target, disquiet growing.

Conversely, Woking confidence was growing, Baxter and his defence mopping up what came their way. As they countered again, Ward did well on the left and from his delivery Charles-Cook went close again at the near post, the half-time whistle met by the first of the boos from the home crowd.

Half time: Bury 0 Woking 1

Clearly, Limbrick’s half-time talk wasn’t about sitting back on that lead, Effiong quickly causing flutters up front, home moans and groans building, their side’s continued lengthy possession lacking bite, the Cards composed at the back, Orlu and Jones increasingly in charge.

Second-half home sub Andrew Tutte proved similarly ineffectual, the tuts growing, while Isaac’s close-range free-kick was blocked as Woking countered, Charles-Cook close from the deflection.
For Bury, O’Shea headed over, Baxter collecting the next cross and Smith heading wide after good work by Danns, while at the other end Fasan punched to keep out Isaac’s danger-ball.

Still Woking stood their ground, and then came a second goal, Tutte’s poor pass pounced on by Charles-Cook. And while he was blocked, Ferdinand surged on to feed Effiong, who blasted around the advancing keeper.

The Cards were rampant now, Charles-Cook, Effiong and Ward unnerving the hosts, while as another home move broke down, Baxter went route one and Effiong was almost in again.

Soon, Philpot joined the action and kept the pressure up, the hosts chasing shadows and unable to make their own possession count, Jones and Isaac next to clear while home sub Chris Maguire finished poorly, time ebbing away.

Finally, woeful defending allowed Isaac to play in Philpot for a close-quarters third, Bury supporters chanting about their players’ lack of spirit while Woking’s approach play was greeted by home applause.

When the fourth official indicated five extra minutes, it seemed cruel on Bury, the underdogs having bossed the half on another night to remember, not least for the raucous travelling contingent, willing the team on from the East Stand to another headline-grabbing victory over League opposition, complementing an already-rich Cards FA Cup history.

Bury: Leonardo Fasan, Greg Leigh, Eoghan O’Connell, Nicky Ajose, Phil Edwards ©, Tom Aldred, Jay O’Shea, Nathan Cameron (Chris Maguire 73), Michael Smith, Rohan Ince (Andrew Tutte 46), Neil Danns (Callum Reilly 69).

Unused subs: Jordan Williams, Chris Humphrey, Alex Whitmore, Scott Moloney.

Yellow cards: Smith 54, Cameron 55, O’Connell 79.

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Matt Young, Nathan Ralph, Richard Orlu ©, Jordan Wynter, Joey Jones, Chez Isaac (Declan Appau 90), Kane Ferdinand, Joe Ward (Fabio Saraiva 84), Regan Charles-Cook (Jamie Philpot 76), Inih Effiong.

Unused Subs: Charlie Carter, Sam Mason.

Goals: Charles-Cook 30, Effiong 71, Philpot 86.

Yellow cards: Orlu 33, Ralph 43, Isaac 60, Baxter 65.

Referee: Ross Joyce.

Attendance 1,513.

My MOTM: Inih Effiong – There’s no doubting that Inih is a tireless campaigner, and he led by example at Gigg Lane, his sheer presence making him a handful for the hosts. And on a night of so many great Woking performances, he got the goal he so richly deserved, one that will hopefully help build his confidence.

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