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Hatch of the day!

David Richardson - 4th November 2012

Hatch of the day! Gateshead 2 Woking 1
Blue Square Bet Premier
3 November 2012


Following a fantastic win against league leaders Newport a week ago, Woking came away from the Gateshead International Stadium with, ‘no complaints’. This was the verdict of Woking manager Garry Hill. The long trip to Gateshead meant an early start for the Cards squad. They met at King Cross Station in London for breakfast. At an adjoining table I watched as the players had breakfast together. The 10 o’clock train departed on time and the players relaxed by playing cards, reading and for Adam Newton, what looked like a good sleep! Incredibly, the journey took just 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Unsurprisingly, Hill named an unchanged team after last week’s brilliant performance, with the only squad change being U18 Academy goalkeeper Liam Allen on the bench replacing Sam Beasant, who was unwell.

Woking started the first half on a wet and heavy pitch that had been resurfaced only months ago in the pre-season. It was the home side that almost made an instant breakthrough. Paddy Boyle’s free-kick from the right side of the penalty area fell to Liam Hatch, whose left-footed effort was cleared off the line by Mike Cestor to Gateshead captain Ben Clark which was again cleared off the line by Cestor. A wake-up call for the Cards.

Moments later it was Gateshead who nearly conceded. Cestor, involved again, put in a low cross that James Curtis tried to clear but ended up putting the ball onto his own cross bar and out for a corner.

Woking had the better of the play as Gateshead tried to get a foothold in the game but the Cards made an ideal start after Sawyer’s cross was met by Jack Parkinson, who comfortably volleyed home from six yards.

Woking were reminded that the game wasn’t going to be all that easy as Aaron Howe was called into action to tip over Lee Bullock’s cross-cum-shot. Ryan Donaldson and Hatch also looked to trouble Howe’s goal but both efforts were off target. Woking continued to control the game until Bullock fed Josh Gillies, who finished across Howe in off the inside of the post. This goal proved to be the game changer as the pendulum swung in Gateshead’s favour. Gillies had a great chance for his second goal less than a minute later but his header evaded Howe’s right-hand post.

The impressive Gillies caused problems again for the Woking defence, whipping in a free kick that just eluded everyone before Gateshead got their second goal a minute from half-time. Donaldson cut in from the right-hand side and rolled a pass in behind the Cards’ defence to Bullock, whose cross to the back post was met by the head of the towering Hatch, who steered the ball into the right-hand corner of Howe’s goal. Liam Hatch had a superb game and his goal proved to be the match winner for Gateshead.

Half Time: Gateshead 2 Woking 1

Looking for a response after an end of a first half to forget, McCallum’s deep free-kick forced goalkeeper Adam Bartlett to punch the ball clear as Woking searched for an equaliser. Loick Pires, who had found it difficult to hold the ball up and bring others into play, was replaced by Adam Doyle, who moved alongside Brett Johnson with Joe McNerney going up the other end of the pitch to lead the attacking line.

Gateshead manager Ian Bogie decided to make a change as well bringing on Nathan Fisher for James Brown, which almost instantly paid off, when Fisher found himself in some space behind Woking’s defence. But with only Howe to beat he fired wide with his first touch of the ball. The dangerous Gillies then fired wide only to then carve open the Woking defence and play a pass to Fisher who, like his previous effort, shot wide. It was then a question of whether Woking could punish Gateshead for their missed chances but with the ever-influential Sawyer on a yellow card, limiting his involvement in the game, the home side continued to press the Cards with Hatch, this time, heading over.

With the time ticking, Garry Hill decided to have a last throw of the dice, moving to three at the back with Doyle, Johnson and McNerney, using Newton and Cestor as wing backs as well as bringing on Brett Williams minutes later.

Howe made sure of keeping Woking in the game by parrying away a fierce Donaldson shot before then saving Magney’s header from the resulting corner.

Parkinson tried his luck from long range but his effort was just wide as was Sawyer’s free-kick from the edge of the box and Magney’s drive from just outside the area. Substitute Bradley Bubb saw his volley go wide in similar fashion. Howe’s save from Fisher was the last action in the game as the referee brought the match to a close.

So, in half-term week a half-term report on Woking FC. After seventeen games, what do we know? There are plenty of plus points. Woking currently sit 11th in the table. They are a very entertaining side to watch, underlined by their impressive goals tally of 31, higher than any other team in the division. The competition, though, is tough. Woking are now competing in a division with twelve former Football League clubs. Many of them are full-time and the Cards should be applauded for how they have coped in the higher division. However, the downside to the entertainment is the disappointing figure of 33 goals conceded, also higher than any other team. But, as Garry Hill has said, he would consider, “survival in this division a greater achievement than winning promotion last season”.

Garry Hill and his assistant Steve Thompson have done an outstanding job and assembled an excellent squad. Hill believes that 50 points will guarantee survival in the division and the Cards are well on the way to that total.

All in all, Woking should feel pleased with what they have achieved so far. Twenty-two points have been banked from 17 matches, leaving another 28 points from 29 matches to meet the boss's target, and the way Woking are playing that should be more than achievable.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Mark Ricketts (Brett Williams 83), Joe McNerney, Loick Pires (Adam Doyle 56), Jack Parkinson, Kevin Betsy, Lee Sawyer, Brett Johnson, Gavin McCallum (Bradley Bubb 64)

Unused Subs: Dean Sinclair, Liam Allen

Cautions: Lee Sawyer 41, Mark Ricketts 76, Mike Cestor 89

Gateshead: Adam Bartlett, Carl Magnay, Paddy Boyle, James Curtis, Ben Clark, Josh Gillies (Chris Bush 84), Phil Turnbull, Liam Hatch (Micky Cummins 88), James Brown (Nathan Fisher 62), Ryan Donaldson, Lee Bullock

Unused Subs: Yemi Odubade, Jordan Nixon

Man of the Match: Aaron Howe – Made some brilliant saves to keep Woking in the game right to the end.

Attendance: 473
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