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Honours Even

Alan Barnes - 26th January 2014

Honours Even Lincoln City 2 Woking 2
The Skrill Premier
January 25th 2014
 
An exciting and entertaining game provided ultimate heartbreak for the travelling Cards fans when Giuseppe Sole's last-minute penalty was well saved by the home 'keeper to deny the visitors all three points. A topsy-turvy match saw the Cards take a well-earned early lead before handing the initiative back to the home team before the break. The visitors scored a second with a quarter of an hour remaining and looked the more likely to go on and claim a win before being cruelly denied victory at the death.

Woking lined up in an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation, but it proved to be one which suited them well on the day. Kevin Betsy played in an advanced role up front, which had a positive effect on Sole, who looked lively throughout, scoring the second and being denied by the woodwork on a couple of occasions. Keiran Murtagh returned to the starting line-up following his one-match suspension in place of the unavailable Mark Ricketts.

The first half hour was played in near monsoon conditions but the visitors adapted much the better and, looking livelier than they had in recent games, could have been two goals to the good in the first ten minutes as they hit the post and bar in quick succession. Although lacking aerial power up front, the intelligent running of Betsy and Sole was proving a handful for the Lincoln defence.

Having fortuitously weathered the early storm (in every sense of the word), Lincoln then got a foothold in the game as the rain eased. They had a free-kick from thirty-five yards out and Alan Power cut in from the right wing but his shot found the side netting. Former Card Delano Sam-Yorke, on loan from Cambridge United, was also starting to impose himself on the game.

The Cards then deservedly took the lead after nineteen minutes. Betsy found himself clear in the box and his shot from a narrow angle squeezed under Paul Farman in the home goal.

The lead lasted barely five minutes. The hosts were allowed too much time and space down the right, allowing a dangerous cross to be played into the six-yard box. Nat Brown got there first to get in a shot which hit a post but he was first to the rebound to bring Lincoln level.

Power then stole in behind Adam Newton to produce a good cross which was well held by Mason Springthorpe in the Woking goal.

With five minutes of the first half remaining, things got even better for Lincoln as they went in front. Ben Tomlinson was allowed two shots from the edge of the box. The first was blocked but the second curled beyond Springthorpe into the top right corner to give the home team an unexpected lead.

Half-time: Lincoln City 2 Woking 1

Woking started the second half in determined fashion as the weather became appreciably colder. Murtagh, having an influential game in midfield, hit a firm shot from eighteen yards which went just wide. Connor Robinson then made a good run for Lincoln down the left into the heart of the Woking defence. He drew the 'keeper but his pass to a colleague was flagged offside.

Back came the Cards and a good crossfield pass from John Goddard (pictured) found Sole, whose cross was headed over by Murtagh. With time starting to tick by and the Cards still behind, a Betsy shot was scrambled away by the home defence and one wondered if the visitors, despite plenty of encouraging play, were destined to get nothing out of the game. To huge relief, however, the equaliser finally came in the seventy-third minute. Anthony McNamee's shot was deflected into the path of Sole, who calmly found the back of the net.

Woking were clearly not intent on sitting back at 2-2 as they went in search of a winner. Lincoln, too, also played their part in an exciting final quarter of an hour but as the match entered the final minute of normal time, it seemed as though the action was finally winding down. There was to be a final twist, however, as Betsy was brought down in the box by Brown and the referee awarded the penalty. Up stepped Sole to take the most nerve-wracking of spot kicks. To Gez's credit, he did not do much wrong, going low to the 'keeper's right-hand corner, but Paul Farman flung himself at the ball to make an excellent save.

A draw was probably a fair result over the ninety minutes, although it was agony for the Cards to have come so close to grabbing all three points late on. They played much better than they had done of late, showing plenty of resilience in difficult conditions and they looked a threat all day with some slick and enterprising football. Garry will no doubt be working hard, nevertheless, during the week, to bring in those much-needed loan players for the remainder of the season.
 
Woking: Mason Springthorpe, Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson, John Nutter, Kieron Murtagh, Josh Payne, Mike Cestor ( Niall Wright 29, replaced by Antony McNamee 69), John Goddard, Giuseppe Sole, Kevin Betsy.

Unused subs: Sam Beasant, Adam Brice, Reece Beckles
 
Caution: Josh Payne 84
 
Lincoln City: Paul Farman, Tom Miller, Nat Brown, Luke Foster, Sean Newton, Todd Jordan, Mamadou Fofana, (Dan Gray 84), Alan Power, Connor Robinson, Ben Tomlinson, Delano Sam-Yorke.

Unused subs: Waide Fairhurst, Jake Sheridan, Jon Nolan, Mitchell Austin

Caution: Mamadou Fofana 79

My MOTM: John Goddard - industrious and hard-working throughout

Attendance: 2,017 (73 from Woking)
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