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10 man Southport stun sloppy Woking

Glen Harrington - 13th October 2012

10 man Southport stun sloppy Woking Woking 2 Southport 3
Blue Square Premier
13th October 2012

Defensive errors proved costly again for Woking, as a late mistake from Brett Johnson allowed Southport to take all three points from their trip to Kingfield.

The Cards had dominated the game’s early stages and deservedly took the lead through Kevin Betsy, after Gavin McCallum found his fellow winger free at the back post.

A tireless and hard-working Southport worked their way slowly back into the game, equalising through Andrew Parry’s effort just before half time and then, despite Liam Willis seeing red shortly after the interval, taking the lead through Chris Lynch’s back-post tap in.

Gavin McCallum capitalised on a goal mouth scramble to draw the home side level, only for Johnson’s under-hit back-pass to set Darren Stephenson through on goal soon after. Joe McNerney’s last ditch tackle sent the Sandgrounders striker sprawling to the floor and gave away the decisive penalty. McNerney saw red, and Chris Lever made no mistake with his spot kick.

Before the game, there was an unmistakable sense of optimism around Kingfield, with the Cards excellent mid-week win over Cambridge having promoted them to the league table’s top ten. Garry Hill made one change from Tuesday’s success, with the injured Billy Knott making way for Dean Sinclair. Aaron Howe, returning from suspension, had to be content with a place on the bench.

Despite the absence of the creative Knott, Woking looked far too good for Southport in the early stages – Bradley Bubb’s cushioned header for McCallum producing the game’s first half-chance, the Cards forward hitting his shot straight at visiting keeper Tony McMillan.

It came as little surprise when the home side deservedly took the lead ten minutes in, Betsy skilfully manoeuvring down the right hand flank and whipping a dangerous ball across the box. McCallum picked up possession at the back post and with the angle too tight to shoot, returned a similarly dangerous ball back into the six yard box, where the recently arrived Betsy was on hand to turn in.

Woking continued to have the better of the play as the first half progressed, but going behind had clearly provoked a reaction from the visitors, who looked to have finally woken up – Sam Beasant on hand to smartly stop a deflected Stephenson shot.

Liam Watson’s side grew steadily into the game, maintaining possession well and penning the Cards in their own half for long periods. Eventually they got their equaliser, with Russell Benjamin first driving into the Woking half, and then squaring for Parry, whose low shot bulleted into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Half-time: Woking 1 Southport 1

Just five minutes after the interval, Southport were down to ten men – Willis demonstrating a little too aggressively for the referee’s liking after conceding a foul, and falling victim to a second yellow card.

Undeterred, the Sandgrounders were ahead before the hour mark, Betsy’s unfortunately angled flick on from Shaun Whalley’s corner ushering the ball perfectly into the path of Lynch, who had the simplest of tasks to tap home.

With their play growing increasingly desperate and disjointed, the Cards brought on Loick Pires and Brett Williams to try and change their fortunes, with Sinclair and Mike Cestor the men replaced.

Ultimately, it was a slice of luck that brought Woking back level, with Mark Ricketts’ chipped cross from the right hand side initially causing havoc in the Southport penalty area. Red shirts flooded into the box, with both Lee Sawyer and Williams seeing shots blocked. Thankfully, McCallum was able to force the ball over the line.

Unfortunately for the Cards, their earlier substitutions meant they were playing with just three (Ricketts, McNerney and Johnson) in defence. Although they were still eager to go on and win the game against their shorthanded opponents, they were still vulnerable to the pace of Stephenson, who was by now acting as the visitor’s lone striker.

But Woking players, staff and fans will want to forget the fashion of the winning goal in a hurry. Under heavy pressure, Johnson desperately tried to turn the ball back towards Beasant. However, he only succeeded in setting Stephenson clean through on goal.

The Southport striker dallied horribly as the Cards keeper hurried out to narrow the angle, allowing McNerney time to arrive on the scene, but the Woking defender could only haul Stephenson to the ground. Mr Hopkins had no option but to reduce a second side to ten men and point to the spot.

Lever confidently sent Beasant the wrong way with his coolly taken penalty, rolling the ball neatly into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Woking tried in vain to comeback a second time – both Johnson and Williams forcing saves from McMillan – but Southport held on.

The Cards will now be allowed a two week break from Blue Square Premier duties, with next week’s fixture being an FA Cup tie. Woking will be hosting Ebbsfleet United in the fourth qualifying round. Our next league game will be away at league leader’s Newport County on the 27th October.

Woking: Sam Beasant, Mark Ricketts, Mike Cestor (Brett Williams 69), Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson, Jack Parkinson, Dean Sinclair (Loick Pires 56), Lee Sawyer, Kevin Betsy, Bradley Bubb, Gavin McCallum

Unused Subs: Aaron Howe, Adam Doyle, George Frith

Goal(s): Betsy 11, McCallum 74

Booked: Parkinson 70, Bubb 77

Sent-off: McNerney 81

Southport: Tony McMillan, Chris Lever, Simon Grand, Chris Lynch, Liam Willis, Andrew Parry, Shaun Whalley, Russell Benjamin, Godfrey Poku, James Ellison (Charlie Joyce 53), Darren Stephenson (Steven Tames 90)

Unused Subs: Zac Hibbert, Alan Moogan, Chris Almond

Goal(s): Parry 40, Lynch 56, Lever 82 (pen)

Booked: Willis 30 & 49, Joyce 56, Whalley 62, Lynch 87

Sent-off: Willis 49

MOTM: Lee Sawyer (pictured) – His usual busy self, full of running and the creative spark behind the majority of Woking’s good play.

Attendance: 1,739
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