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Woking show grit for draw to move closer to safety

Haydn Cobb - 22nd April 2017

Woking show grit for draw to move closer to safety Woking 1 York City 1
Vanarama National League
22nd April 2017

Woking have moved to the cusp of safety from relegation in the Vanarama National League by holding on to a draw against York City after Gozie Ugwu’s penalty was cancelled out by a Jon Parkin goal.

The draw sees Woking stay three points above the drop zone, while the visitors fell into the relegation spots, with one game to go. The Cards will only need a point in their final league game away to Dagenham and Redbridge to keep the fight in their own hands while if any of Torquay, Guiseley and York City fail to win on the final day Woking will also remain in the National League.

Mathematically, Woking can only be relegated on the final day if Torquay, Guiseley and York all win and the Cards lose.

Woking almost secured their safety against York City when Ugwu’s penalty on 67 minutes put the home team ahead but Parkin’s reply eight minutes later saw the two teams share the points. The Cards rallied against a late City onslaught, with only a win helping the away side’s hopes of survival, and the point sees Woking move to 52 points and safety in their hands.

From the huge boost of the late victory away at Chester on Easter Monday, Garry Hill made one change to his starting line-up with Connor Hall being rewarded for his goal in place of Fabio Saraiva.

In front of a healthy and vocal home crowd Woking started brightly and after two minutes a through ball caught the York defence napping which sent Ugwu clear but his shot was saved by Scott Loach before the rebound was smothered away from danger.

As expected the away side looked to test Woking with a barrage of crosses aimed predominantly at the robust Parkin but the Cards stood firm in the opening stages while looking for quick breakaways using the pace of Jake Caprice and Nathan Ralph on either flank.

On the half-hour mark Woking had an excellent chance to take the lead after smart work by Delano Sam-Yorke gave Ralph space to cross from the left which Kane Ferdinand met superbly but his glancing header narrowly missed the sprawling Hall and went the wrong side of the far post.

Almost immediately Woking were reminded how the game was being played on a knife-edge in regards to the battle against relegation, as Vadaine Oliver was released for a one-on-one but goalkeeper Michael Poke bravely blocked the effort and the loose ball was cleared by Terell Thomas.

Both sides posed questions without much end product to leave the first 45 minutes goalless.

Half-time: Woking 0 York City 0

Woking were jolted into life in the second half by two York City chances, with Parkin’s long-range free kick forcing an excellent save from Poke before the resulting corner was headed goalward by Amari Morgan-Smith with the ball darting wide of the far post.

Hill’s men responded sternly with Ferdinand getting inches away from a Caprice cross into the six-yard box before the Woking midfielder had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Craig Hicks despite being taken out by a flailing York City leg.

The Cards continued to find opportunities with Ugwu fashioning a long-range effort which went straight at the goalkeeper and a scramble from a Murtagh corner which was snuffed out by the Minstermen defence.

Woking’s pressure paid off with Sam-Yorke charging through the York City defence before being pulled to the ground by Sean Newton for a stonewall penalty.

For the third time in three games Ugwu kept his cool from 12 yards to slot the ball into the middle of the net with goalkeeper Loach diving away to his left.

An inspired Sam-Yorke almost gave Woking a two-goal lead when he tore through the City backline again but his shot was met by a strong save from goalkeeper Loach.

With York City needing a goal to kick-start their survival charge, manager Gary Mills substituted on Sam Muggleton who posed a new threat from his long throws.

A long throw by Muggleton from the left flank bobbled between Parkin and Thomas but fell kindly to the York City forward whose snapshot found the bottom left corner for an equaliser on the 75th minute.

The away side’s only form of potent attack was coming through Muggleton’s long throws or deep crosses which gave the Woking defence a resolute test for the final 15 minutes.

From the barrage of long balls Oliver saw a powerful shot saved well by Poke just before injury time as York City began to throw more bodies forward. But Woking stood resolute to keep hold of a point to edge closer to safety with one game league to play away to Dagenham and Redbridge.

Woking: Michael Poke; Nathan Ralph, Joey Jones, Terrell Thomas, Brian Saah, Jake Caprice (Dennon Lewis 90); Connor Hall (Jamie Lucas 70), Keiran Murtagh, Kane Ferdinand; Gozie Ugwu, Sam Delano-Yorke

Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Fabio Saraiva, Max Kretzschmar

Goals: Ugwu (pen 67)

Bookings: Jones, Murtagh

York City: Scott Loach; Alex Whittle (Sam Muggleton 70), Hamza Bencherif, Sean Newton, Danny Parslow Danny Holmes; Asa Hall, Simon Heslop, Amari Morgan-Smith; Jon Parkin, Vadaine Oliver

Unused subs: Aidan Connolly, Luke Simpson, Adriano Moke, Shaun Rooney

Goals: Parkin (70)

Bookings: Muggleton, Hall

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 2702 (620 York City supporters)

Sponsors’ MOTM: Delano Sam-Yorke. Tireless running and combative throughout, his devasting burst past several York defenders was only ended by the foul that resulted in Gozie’s penalty.
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