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Cards slip to second straight defeat

Glen Harrington - 22nd January 2014

Cards slip to second straight defeat Woking 0 Chester 1

The Skrill Premier

21st January 2014

A solitary strike from Jamie Menagh proved to be the difference, as Chester edged past the Cards and condemned them to a second straight league defeat.

It was a disappointing performance from a Woking side which, taking into account Keiran Murtagh’s suspension, highlighted their urgent need to bring in some new loan players – a view echoed by manager Garry Hill after the game.

The visitors battled well throughout the match and deservedly earned new manager Steve Burr his second win in as many games, a result that edges the Blues out of the relegation zone.

They grabbed their goal mid-way through the first-half when Menagh curled his shot round Adam Newton, past the outstretched glove of Mason Springthorpe (pictured) and into the bottom corner, before defending doggedly in the second period to earn their success.
New signing Springthorpe was one of only two changes for the hosts, following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Welling. The 19-year-old goalkeeper replaced Sam Beasant, who dropped to the bench.

Meanwhile, Brett Johnson came in for the suspended Murtagh. This meant a reshuffle for Garry Hill’s side, with Johnson partnering Joe McNerney at centre-back, Mike Cestor moving over to left wing and John Goddard joining Josh Payne in central midfield.
The game started as it would continue for much of the evening – as a tight, tense midfield battle, with Woking perhaps edging possession, but with the visitors looking dangerous on the counter attack.

Unfortunately, the home side’s highlight of the night – in an attacking sense – came after just a quarter of an hour, when Kevin Betsy looked to have burst clear down the right hand side, only to be hauled down as he closed in on goal. Despite loud appeals from the Woking players, there was nothing given by the referee.

Chester got their goal just before the half-hour mark. A long ball out of defence found Menagh on the left hand side. Newton allowed him to advance on him quickly and take the ball into the penalty area. The winger found himself a yard of space and curled the ball brilliantly into the corner of the goal, clipping the post on its way in to leave the Cards' young goalkeeper no chance.

The visitors might have added to their lead when Jamie Reed saw his low cross just about cut out by Springthorpe, with Craig Lindfield waiting anxiously for the rebound.
Moments later, and Reed found himself free in the Woking penalty area with the ball at his feet, only for him to stumble and allow the Cards' defence to recover and clear. Lindfield also went close in first-half stoppage time, sliding to meet a deflected free-kick, but only managing to cushion an effort up and over the crossbar.

Half-time: Woking 0 Chester 1

Chester again might have doubled their lead moments after the re-start. A bizarre attempt at a back-pass from Newton left his goalkeeper stranded, and the ball almost dropped into the Woking goal before luckily drifting out for a corner. From the resulting set piece, a goalmouth scramble ensued, with the Cards fortunate to hack the ball clear.
George Horan then saw his close-range header saved, before McNerney cleared spectacularly off the line, with Springthorpe stranded on the edge of his own penalty area.

The Cards introduced Reece Beckles, Anthony McNamee and Niall Wright from the substitutes bench, sacrificing Goddard, John Nutter and Johnson, but were still able to create little in an attacking sense – Payne’s long range effort, and McNerney’s header, both wide of the Chester goal, the closest the home side came.

Chester were in no mood to offer the Cards any time or space in possession, and fought for everything from start to finish, emphasised by their five yellow cards. Woking did their best to launch something of an offensive onslaught during five minutes of stoppage time, but the barrage came too late and the visitors held out.

Woking now suddenly find themselves just five points clear of safety, and six wins in eight has become three defeats in four. Tonight’s opponents Chester are just four points behind them after back-to-back victories, emphasising the unpredictable nature of this division.

The Cards travel to Lincoln City next Saturday, a side only above the Cards on goal difference, knowing that a victory and three points would be more than useful in their quest to remain in this league for another year.

Woking: Mason Springthorpe, Adam Newton, John Nutter (Anthony McNamee 68), Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson (Niall Wright 77), Mark Ricketts, Josh Payne, John Goddard (Reece Beckles 59), Mike Cestor, Kevin Betsy, Giuseppe Sole.

Unused Subs: Sam Beasant, George Frith.

Booked: Cestor 34, McNerney 90

Chester: John Danby, Lewis Turner, George Horan, Ross Killock, Kevin McIntyre, Jamie Menagh (Joe Heath 86), Jason Jarrett, George Miller, Craig Linfield, John Rooney, Jamie Reed (Tom Peers 90).

Unused Subs: Martin Fearon, Michael Kay, Craig Mahon.

Goal: Menagh 29.

Booked: Horan 18, Menagh 41, Killock 65, Rooney 70, Danby 90

Sponsor's MOTM: Mason Springthorpe – Settled into the game after a couple of nervous moments early on and did well to prevent his new side falling further behind.

Attendance: 1,124

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