Jones rescues point for Woking against Wrexham

Haydn Cobb
12:00am, Sat 17th Mar 2018
Woking 2 Wrexham 2
Vanarama National League
17th March 2018

Joey Jones secured a much-needed point for Woking against the in-form Wrexham to reclaim vital momentum going into the final games of the Vanarama National League season.

Josh Staunton gave Woking an early lead with a terrific header from a corner before Wrexham equalised through a deflected Marcus Kelly cross to see the sides level at halftime. Play-off contenders Wrexham took the lead early in the second half with Kelly grabbing his second of the game before the Cards rallied back with Jones heading in an equaliser 10 minutes from the end.

Woking had a late penalty call turned down as Reece Grego-Cox appeared to be hauled down in the area while through on goal which meant the points would be shared at Kingfield.

The Cards’ first point since drawing at home to Boreham Wood sees Anthony Limbrick’s side edge closer towards safety despite dropping down a spot in the league table to 18th place while remaining eight points clear of the relegation zone as all 11 teams at the bottom end of the table picked up points.

Woking boss Limbrick made two changes to the starting line-up which lost against Halifax seven days ago with Louie Theophanous adding strength to the attack at the expense of Anthony Cook, while Jones recovered from injury to slot into defence in place of Richard Orlu with Charlie Carter coming into the midfield.

Despite the pre-match statistics making the visitors heavy favourites, it was Woking who took an early lead on 12 minutes through a Staunton header. After smart work between Theophanous and Grego-Cox forced Woking’s first corner, Staunton found himself unmarked at the back post to power his header past goalkeeper Chris Dunn for his second goal for the club.

Play-off chasing Wrexham responded well after going behind with Sam Wedgbury seeing a deflected long-range effort saved by Nathan Baxter.

Woking’s reconfigured attack of Theophanous supported by Regan Charles-Cook with Grego-Cox and Banton supporting on either wing gave Limbrick’s side a cutting edge which had been lacking in recent games. Theophanous wriggled free on the edge of the box but saw his snapshot blocked by a yellow wall of Wrexham defenders.

Despite a positive opening half an hour Wrexham drew level in unfortunate circumstances as a Kelly cross bobbled in front of Staunton and a deflection took the ball past Baxter into the bottom corner.

After weathering further Wrexham pressure, Limbrick’s side ended the half with the best opportunity to score again thanks to quick give-and-go passes between Carter and Theophanous which allowed the striker to break through but his right-footed effort from a tight angle was palmed away by Dunn.

Half time: Woking 1 Wrexham 1

With light snow swirling around Kingfield, Wrexham started the second half brightly with Baxter producing an eye-catching save from a long-range Kelly effort.

Jones picked up a booking for a foul on the left wing with the resulting set play headed goalward by Pearson that was tipped away by Baxter who quickly got up to stop the follow up shot from David Raven. But the visiting side’s pressure paid off from a corner as Kelly collected the ball on the right-hand corner of the box to curl an effort past Baxter.

The goal triggered Woking’s first change with Fabio Saraiva coming on for Banton with 25 minutes remaining. Having rallied through further Wrexham pressure Woking rediscovered their rhythm to turn the tide on the visitors.

Woking’s encouraging play was boosted by the Kingfield faithful finding their voices in the search of an equaliser going into the closing quarter of the match, while Baxter produced another wonderful stop blocking out a one-on-one with Chris Holroyd.

The home side found their equalising goal through Jones just seconds after Reece Grego-Cox smashed a shot off on to the crossbar. Wrexham could only clear the ball by conceding a corner and the resulting set play found Jones at the back post, and he jumped highest to head the ball across Dunn into the net.

Woking’s equaliser saw both sides push forward for a late winner which stretched the game into a frantic finale. The tireless Theophanous fired a powerful effort which hit goalkeeper Dunn in the face and away for a corner but Woking could not pull off a third set piece goal of the afternoon.

In stoppage time Woking had an appeal for a penalty turned down with Grego-Cox battling for a through ball and despite being tugged down referee Richard Hulme waved away the Woking striker’s appeal in which he picked up a booking for his frustration.

With Woking having to settle for a draw, Limbrick’s team will head into the key clash at Leyton Orient next weekend with an encouraging display to lean upon with the focus of securing safety in the Vanarama National League.

Woking: Nathan Baxter; Nathan Ralph, Joey Jones, Josh Staunton, Matt Young (Louis Ramsay 77’); Jason Banton (Fabio Saraiva 65’), Kane Ferdinand, Charlie Carter, Regan Charles-Cook, Reece Grego-Cox; Louie Theophanous

Unused subs: Jonny Edwards, Richard Orlu, Sam Mason

Goals: Staunton 12’, Jones 80’

Bookings: Jones 58’, Grego-Cox 90’

Wrexham: Chris Dunn; Shaun Pearson, David Raven, Sam Wedgbury, Paul Rutherford; Marcus Kelly (Simon Ainge 86’), Kevin Roberts, Scott Quigley (Scott Boden 77’), Chris Holroyd, Nicky Deverdics (Akil Wright 86’), Mark Carrington

Unused subs: Jack Mackreth, Jonathan Franks

Goals: Own Goal (Staunton) 32’, 60’

Referee: Richard Hulme

Sponsors’ MOTM: Nathan Baxter

Attendance: 1458

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