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Payne's wonder-strike secures the points

Alan Barnes - 29th March 2015

Payne's wonder-strike secures the points Chester 2 Woking 3
Vanarama Conference
28th March 2015

After heavy rain on the journey up, the match was played in fine weather. The pitch was in good condition for the time of year, if a little bumpy, but there was a very strong wind blowing across the ground, making good football a difficult proposition.

Chester kicked off with the wind at their backs and used it to good effect on a number of occasions during the opening forty-five minutes, without actually finding the back of the net.

It was the visitors who were first to threaten, however. Kevin Betsy was fouled in the middle of the pitch, but play was allowed to continue as Yemi Odubade ran into the box, only to blaze his shot high over the bar.

Shortly afterwards, Chris Arthur broke down the left, and his delayed low cross was flicked into the net by Scott Rendell, only to be ruled out for offside.

The wind was causing problems for the Cards' defence and a long kick upfield ran through to Michael Crowe in the Woking goal, with a home forward bearing down.
Prior to this, a similar ball forward had required Arthur to step in and clear off the toes of a Chester forward.

Josh Payne (pictured) then had a couple of shots in quick succession, one being blocked and the other clearing the bar.

As the half-hour mark approached, Woking got their noses in front. Goddard cut in from the right and put a low cross into the danger area, which took a slight deflection. The ever-alert Rendell read the situation perfectly and nipped in front of the 'keeper to finish well.

The visitors would have been delighted to go into the break with the lead, given that they had battled against the elements in the opening half. However, just as it looked as though this would be the case, the home side struck back on the stroke of half-time. A shot from Sean McConville was parried by Crowe but fell obligingly into the path of Craig Mahon, who volleyed home for the equaliser.

Half-time: Chester 1 Woking 1

Chester started the second period brightly but were unable to add to their score.
At the other end a cross from Betsy found Odubade, but his firm shot was blocked at point-blank range.

Just past the hour mark, the home side was reduced to ten men. Defender Kieran Charnock, who had been booked early in the match, hauled down Betsy on the edge of his own box, and was immediately shown a second yellow card to give the visitors an important numerical advantage.

From the resulting free kick, Payne's shot was brilliantly palmed away by Jon Worsnop in the home goal.

The game now started to open up, with Woking finding more space to play in, and they made their extra man count in the sixty-ninth minute. Odubade pressured a home defender into giving away a corner and from the resulting kick, Joey Jones headed goalwards. The ball looked to be crossing the goal-line, but like all good strikers, Rendell was once again on hand to make sure from close range and notch his twenty-first league goal of the campaign.

Just when it seemed as though the Cards had done the hard part and would see out the remainder of the match, their spirited opponents struck back for a second time. Woking conceded a corner and from Mahon's excellent delivery, Ben Heneghan headed home firmly.

It now looked as though the visitors would have to settle for a draw. Fortunately, Josh Payne had other ideas. With six minutes remaining, the midfielder struck an amazing twenty-five yard volley which flew into the top corner of the net to stun the home crowd. Woking have scored some tremendous individual goals this season, but none better than this one, particularly given the context of this match and the need to secure all three points in the chase for a play-off place.

This important victory makes it six wins in seven games and leaves the Cards in sixth place in the league, a point behind Forest Green Rovers and clearly in with a realistic chance of securing that final play-off berth with five matches remaining.

Make sure that you are down at Kingfield to cheer on Garry Hill's men this coming Saturday against Welling United in what could be an historic season for the Cards.

CHESTER: Jon Worsnop, Ben Heneghan, Matty Brown, Kieran Charnock, Kingsley James, Ryan Higgins (Michael Kay 76), Brad Abbott (Craig Hobson 60), John Rooney, Craig Mahon, Sean McConville, Matty Hughes (Gareth Roberts 62)

Unused subs: Jon Viscosi, Tom Peers

Goals: Craig Mahon 44, Ben Heneghan 79

Sent off: Kieran Charnock 61 (second bookable offence)

WOKING: Michael Crowe, Mark Ricketts, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Chris Arthur, John Goddard (Charles Banya 67), Josh Payne, Keiran Murtagh, Kevin Betsy, Scott Rendell, Yemi Odubade (Giuseppe Sole 74)

Unused subs: Andy Little, John Nutter, Emmanuel Oyeleke

Goals: Scott Rendell 29, 69, Josh Payne 84

Cautions: Joey Jones 36, John Goddard 52, Josh Payne 58, Chris Arthur 78

ATTENDANCE: 1,899

My MotM: Josh Payne
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