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A draw takes Cards to fifth

Brian Caffarey - 5th April 2015

A draw takes Cards to fifth Woking 2 Welling United 2
4 April 2015

With results going their way the previous day, the Cards went into this match knowing that a win would enable them to leapfrog Forest Green Rovers into fifth place with a lead of two points. Almost inevitably, it didn’t quite work out like that. Welling United, so often a bogey team for the Cards, came to Kingfield in a desperate fight against relegation and nearly made off with all three points. As it is, the draw gained by the Cards was enough to take them above Rovers on goal difference – and they were buoyed by the news that Eastleigh had surprisingly lost at home to Dover, leaving the Spitfires two points behind but with a game in hand. Nevertheless, the pressure will be even more on the Cards to come up with a result at Crabble on Easter Monday afternoon.

Woking fielded an unchanged line-up but with Adam Newton back on the bench after his absence through injury. The visitors’ side included Ross Lafayette, so recently on loan from Luton at Kingfield but now back temporarily at his former club.

The opening few minutes looked promising for the Cards as they quickly made inroads into the Welling defence, with Kevin Betsy getting a dangerous cross in with less than a minute on the clock and then John Goddard, one of Woking’s better performers on the day, making a fine run through the middle only to see his shot blocked. The pressure was maintained with two corners before the Cards conceded a free-kick on the left of their defence. Set pieces have so often been Woking’s undoing defensively this season and so it proved again as Lafayette, unchallenged, stooped to meet a well-hit in-swinging cross from Dominic Vose to put the Wings 1-0 ahead with only nine minutes gone.

Almost immediately Chris Arthur’s poor control of a cross-field pass almost set the visitors on their way again but there was a reprieve on this occasion. The Cards re-grouped and, in the following minutes, came closest to a reply when Yemi Odubade, profiting from a Scott Rendell flick-on, hammered the ball just wide of the near post. A few minutes later Josh Payne had a shot blocked and then John Goddard volleyed over but it was noticeable that, while the Cards made good progress towards the box, they gave the Wings’ keeper, Henly, very little to do. Midway through the first half the Wings’ keeper nearly caused his own downfall, though, when a poor kick led to Rendell being put through but his volleyed effort didn’t have enough height to clear the keeper.

Welling continued to threaten from time to time, with Crowe having to palm away a dangerous cross and then having to watch anxiously as a Vose cross flashed across the box.

Frustration began to set in for the Cards as the final ball so often failed to find its man or crosses were easily dealt with. As the half drew to a close, Welling came very near to extending their lead when Vose found himself free at the back post but he failed to connect and then Crowe rushed out of his area to be beaten to a through ball near the touchline only for Chris Arthur to save the day with a sliding tackle. There was just time for headers to go wide at both ends, from Healy and Odubade, before the whistle blew for half-time.

Half-time: Woking 0 Welling United 1

The Cards quickly levelled the scores after the break. A Josh Payne free-kick led to the ball being played up in the air in the box. As it came down, Yemi Odubade just managed to get his foot on it before he was tripped. Scott Rendell’s penalty kick wasn’t his best but it found the net in spite of Henly getting a trailing leg to it.

The momentum was now with Woking and a second goal for the Cards looked likely. Henly dropped the ball from a cross and was lucky to be able to grab it before suffering the consequences, while Odubade was unfortunate not to break through the defence as the ball ricocheted off a defender. Having looked as though they had weathered the storm, the Wings then found themselves trailing in the 68th minute to a really well-worked goal. Kevin Betsy managed to work the ball into the box after his initial cross was blocked and it was then transferred sweetly across the area from Rendell to Goddard and, finally, Odubade, who fired home.

Just as one thought that Woking would surely go on to win the game fairly comfortably, they were undone by some poor defending. Ricketts's headed clearance was too central, enabling the ball to be swept wide quickly and, from the cross, Tashan Adeyinka, only just on as a substitute, headed home to make it 2-2.

It could so easily have been 2-3 almost immediately as the Wings forward line broke through the Woking defensive line once more only to be thwarted by a superb last-ditch tackle from Chris Arthur.

Garry Hill brought on Manny Oyeleke and Gez Sole for Kevin Betsy for Yemi Odubade and both substitutes impressed, with Oyeleke making a clever run into the box and Sole using the ball well on several occasions.

Josh Payne went close to grabbing a winner with two minutes to go as he ran onto an Adam Newton cross, heading the ball just wide. Scott Rendell had the ball in the net during the five minutes added on but the assistant referee flagged for offside – a decision which appeared very dubious to those fans who were in line with the play. Final efforts from Goddard and from Rendell again were of no avail as the Cards had to settle for one point on a day when three would have put them in such a strong position.

Woking: Michael Crowe, Mark Ricketts, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Chris Arthur, Kevin Betsy (Manny Oyeleke 78), Keiran Murtagh (Adam Newton 69), Josh Payne, John Goddard, Scott Rendell, Yemi Odubade (Giuseppe Sole 79)

Unused subs: Andy Little, Charles Banya

Goals: Scott Rendell (pen) 52, Yemi Odubade 68

Bookings: Joey Jones, Chris Arthur

Welling United: Jonathan Henly, Jake Gallagher, Dominic Vose (Sam Corne 74), Keiron St Aimie, Ross Lafayette, Ben Jefford, Sam Berry, Barney Williams, Harry Osborne, Reece Harris (Tashan Adeyinka 74), Joe Healy

Unused subs: Zac Fagan, Michael McEntergat

Goals: Ross Lafayette 9, Tashan Adeyinka 77

Bookings: Sam Berry, Jake Gallagher, Ben Jefford

Sponsor's MotM - Scott Rendell

Attendance: 2819


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