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Cards dig points out of the 'Boro

Ray Avards - 22nd December 2013

Cards dig points out of the 'Boro Nuneaton Town 0 Woking 2
The Skrill Premier

21st December 2013

On a blustery day in the East Midlands, Woking’s quality on the ball saw them home, in the end with something to spare, another three valuable points in their climb out of danger and into mid-table.

Garry Hill kept faith with what currently seems to be his first choice starting eleven, captain Mark Ricketts resuming at right back, Nuneaton Town (formerly Borough) setting up with two banks of four and a 1 and 1 up front, one of their recent injury casualties and top scorer Louis Moult, as spearhead.

An even start in a very lively first half saw the Cards set a pattern early on, Scott Rendell shooting over from around the penalty spot within the first minute. Jack Marriott and then Kevin Betsy sought to wriggle through on the right before KB was surrounded by three defenders. Keiran Murtagh had a shot blocked, then Charlie Banya surfed two tackles on the left and was inside the area but his cross-cum-shot was cleared. At the other end Moult shot wide. He also chipped over Sam Beasant and wide but was given offside.

Betsy, away on the right, could not break the last tackle and he would soon switch wings with Charles Banya. Marriott picked Gordon’s pocket on the Boro back line but a saving tackle came in. A Rendell cross from the right wing was blocked after good work by Murtagh and Josh Payne’s shot was saved. Then Jack M should have volleyed home, but stealing in at the far post onto Josh Payne’s curler he missed it hip high altogether, from eight yards.

The Cards were having the better of the play but not nailing their chances. Suddenly their high back line was broken on the counter and Beasant dashed out in no-man’s land. Hibbert shot instead of lobbing and the keeper got a crucial hand down to deflect away for a corner in a heart-stopping moment that nearly undid all the good early work from Woking. A shaken defence then had to thank Payne, who headed off the line as the ball looped over Beasant from Adam Walker’s corner won in the air at the back post.

Hibbert was brought down in the area after being back-heeled in, but Mr Huxtable, the referee, waved play on. Walker got a dangerous cross in and with Hibbert rising Cestor headed straight up in the air and out for a corner. From it, 'Boro skipper Gareth Dean headed down but wide.

The Cards countered and a back-heel from Banya combined with John Nutter but his cross flew over with no one attacking the back post. Now Rendell, Murtagh and Banya combined sweetly for the latter’s cross to be headed onto the roof of the net by Scott Rendell with the keeper looking beaten. Next Banya rampaged in from the right onto yet another Murtagh pass and guided his shot just wide of the left-hand post, cutting in. Out of nowhere again, Hibbert was clear and stretching for a floated ball on the edge of the area with no flag for offside, but could only guide his stab into Beasant’s arms. At the other end Kevin Betsy cut in and shot left to right but bending away wide.

'Boro pressed hard and the ball fell invitingly for James Armson, whose volley was sweet, crashing back off the cross bar with Beasant well beaten. The Woking 'keeper had to be alive moments later and at full stretch to turn away Walker’s thump on the rebound low at his right-hand post. There was still time for Payne to set up Marriott at the other end but his goal-bound shot from the centre of the box was blocked.

Half-time: Nuneaton Town 0 Woking 0

There was early pressure at the start of the second half as 'Boro’s Adam Walker attacked down the Woking left, ably assisted by Phil Trainer, influential for Nuneaton in the second half and working hard. Beasant was forced to stride out of his goal to clear away right-footed over the touchline after another ball dropped over his back four. The Cards soon took up where they left off in the first half, Marriott almost in on the counter-attack through the middle, but blocked out. Next he was set up by Betsy inside the area on the left with a clear sight of goal and his left-foot shot flew high into the far corner of the net to give the Cards the lead in the fiftieth minute.

Akubuine shot wide in reply and Moult took a dangerous free-kick on the right-hand point of the Woking area as Cards' tackles came in thick and fast to halt the 'Boro's attempted fight back. But Betsy was away again and shot over left-footed. Adam Walker did get in to see the whites of Beasant's eyes from 8 yards after good work by Hibbert but the keeper blocked his waspish left-foot shot with his body for a corner.

Kevin Betsy then provided the perfect riposte on the hour mark. He was fed by Murtagh and this time skipped inside his man on the left and into the area, sweeping a superb shot beyond Roos before wheeling away behind the goal to celebrate with the visiting fans.

The Woking rearguard featured now, in attack! Mark Ricketts slide-tackled twice to win the ball in midfield and set up a break for Rendell, who fed Marriott but somehow 'keeper Roos managed to block the effort. Later, Mike Cestor ran imperiously from his own half at Nuneaton through at least three tackles before being upended on the edge of the penalty area. There was work at the back too. McNerney cleared from under his bar after Sam Beasant fumbled Walker’s shot under pressure.

Nuneaton summoned up their energy for a final effort to get back into the game. A free-kick from Armson, spun in from the left, evaded onrushing attackers and Walker ran away down the right, his cross just evading a team-mate sliding into the goal area.

Garry Hill rang the changes in the last 10 minutes as time ebbed away. Josh Payne swept a free-kick just wide of the right-hand post after Sole won a free-kick 25 yards out. Rendell was then sent away down the right by neat work from John Goddard as the Cards played out the remainder of the match.

This really was an accomplished all-round team performance once the Cards had got their noses in front, and provided a lift for the travelling fans to send them into the Christmas period celebrating.

Woking: Sam Beasant, Mark Ricketts (Adam Newton 90), Joe McNerney, Mike Cestor, John Nutter, Kevin Betsy, Keiran Murtagh, Josh Payne, Charles Banya (John Goddard 81), Jack Marriott (Giuseppe Sole 86), Scott Rendell

Goals: Jack Marriott 50, Kevin Betsy 60

Unused subs: Aaron Howe, Brett Johnson

Nuneaton Town: Kelle Roos, Daniel Akubuine (Jon Adams 68), Delroy Gordon , Gareth Dean (c) Daniel Sleath , Wesley York, James Armson, Phil Trainer, Adam Walker(Connor Taylor 77), Dave Hibbert, Louis Moult

Unused subs: James Belshaw, Freddie Ladapo

Attendance: 895

MotM: Keiran Murtagh - set up so much of what Woking did best throughout the match
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