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Oxford force the Cards to play again

Ben Mitchell - 11th January 2015

Oxford force the Cards to play again Oxford City 2 Woking 2
FA Trophy 2nd Round
10th January 2015

Woking looked once again to the cup to try and rekindle their form, having not won in the league in their last five games. The Cards travelled to an Oxford City side who are currently sitting 8th in Conference North, just one point below the play-off places, having only lost once in their last eight games.

Kevin Betsy (pictured) gave Woking the lead on 16 minutes before turning provider to set up substitute John Goddard, who headed the visitors into a two-goal lead just before the hour. However, Oxford fought back when Greg Pearson netted his first goal for the club from the penalty spot and Declan Benjamin powered his header home, four minutes later, to ensure both sides' names go into the hat on Monday night.

Woking dominated the first half with most of the possession and territory.

Joey Jones showed great composure and vision early on, bossing the midfield area, picking out several cutting passes to create dangerous opportunities. The pace of Betsy and Chris Arthur really troubled Oxford down the flanks and it wasn't long until the first clear-cut chance came.

Arthur chased down a loose ball in the centre of the park, putting pressure on City's Ander Del Alamo, forcing a throw-in. The pitch was clearly weathered, patchy in places, with the odd divot dotted around. Add that to the blustery conditions and you could perhaps forgive the Oxford 'keeper, Salva De La Cruz, for fluffing his clearing kick. But, it fell kindly to Betsy, who beat three men to cut inside the box and hammer home the first goal of the game.

City's danger man was Adi Yussuf, who has already scored 15 goals in the league as well as netting two goals in the First Round of the Trophy. The 22 year-old Tanzanian came closest for the home side, ghosting between Joe McNerney and James Clarke, but saw his shot smothered by Cole.

Jack Marriott was an ever-present threat for Woking. His runs consistently penetrated the Oxford defence but his closest attempt on goal flew narrowly over the woodwork. His performance this afternoon capped off a good week for the forward, which saw his loan spell with the Cards extended until the end of the season.

Half-time: Oxford City 0 - 1 Woking

The first quarter of the second half brought little in the way of chances for either side, and just before the hour mark Garry Hill brought on the first of the day's impact substitutes. Goddard made an instant impression on the game when he was brought on, and within 60 seconds had doubled the Cards' lead.

Cole released a long clearance kick, bouncing well into the hosts' half. Betsy got on the end of it, looked up and floated a high cross for Goddard, who thundered into the box to head the ball into the back of the net.

Woking seemed to be playing as though they felt that they had the tie all sewn up, yet there was a feeling that the game might not be over as the visitors missed a few opportunities to extend their lead.

City then made an inspired substitution of their own, bringing on Greg Pearson, who spearheaded the hosts' fight-back.

He began by collecting a through ball which saw him glide to the edge of the box, where Adam Newton made a challenge. Despite cries of 'dive' from pockets of Woking supporters, referee Wayne Barrett did not hesitate in pointing to the spot. There was little Cole could do to stop the penalty kick as Pearson coolly slotted the ball into the net, sending the Woking keeper the wrong way.

Less than five minutes later and the Cards' defence seemed to switch off when a simple run down the left-hand side from City's captain Darren Pond produced a cross which hung over the 6-yard box for someone to get on the end of. Oxford defender Declan Benjamin rose the highest and drove a forceful header down into the bottom of the goal for the equaliser.

Woking continued to pile pressure on the Nomads' goal, but to no avail. The final quarter saw efforts from Sole, Marriott and Betsy all cleared as the Conference North side ground out the final moments to earn themselves a replay.

The two sides will fight for the right to play in the 3rd round on Tuesday, 13th January at Kingfield, before the Cards host Bristol Rovers in their next Conference game on Saturday 17th January.

Oxford City: 1 Salva De La Cruz, 2 Declan Benjamin, 3 Jose Lapoujade, 4 Ander Del Alamo, 5 Mamadou Fofana (12 Greg Pearson), 6 Alejandro Santiago, 7 Felipe Barcelos, 8 Darren Pond, 9 Adi Yussuf, 10 Lewis Wilson (14 Shepherd Murombedzi), 11 Tom Winters

Unused Substitutes: 15 Marlon Jackson, 16 Bidemi Afolabi, 17 Darren Mullings

Goals: Pearson 71, Benjamin 75

Woking: 23 Jake Cole, 2 Adam Newton, 5 Joe McNerney, 6 James Clarke, 7 Josh Payne, 8 Keiran Murtagh (22 John Goddard), 11 Kevin Betsy, 16 Jack Marriott, 21 Joey Jones, 24 Dean Morgan (10 Giuseppe Sole), 32 Chris Arthur

Unused Substitutes: 4 Mark Ricketts, 15 John Nutter, 31 Andy Little

Goals: Betsy 16, Goddard 53

Booked: McNerney

Attendance: 652

My Man of the Match: Kevin Betsy
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