Joe 90 wins it for Woking

David Richardson
10:47pm, Sat 14th Jan 2012
Woking 3 Bromley 2
Blue Square Bet South
14 January 2012

A dramatic 98th-minute winner from the head of Joe McNerney has moved Woking 14 points clear at the top of the Blue Square Bet South. After going two-nil up and looking comfortable, Bromley hit back with a well-taken penalty, and then a low shot from substitute Orlando Smith levelled the scores at two each. It seemed as if Bromley would be taking a point back to Kent but for McNerney, who rose the highest to glance Keiran Murtagh’s free-kick into the back of the net. A “get out of jail” moment, as Garry Hill described it, of the highest quality. As McNerney sat by the home dugout at 5.40pm on Saturday evening he chatted with supporters about just how important his late goal was for Woking. It was a vital goal because, according to Hill, Woking need, “nine more or possibly eight more wins to be sure of promotion”. This was without doubt the most nail-biting but exciting end to a match at Kingfield this season.

After last week’s disappointing defeat to Staines Town, there would have been no one else wanting this game against Bromley to come quicker than Garry Hill. During the week Hill brought in two familiar faces to Woking fans. Striker Luke Medley was signed on a one-month loan deal from Kidderminster Harriers and full back Mike Cestor was signed on the same conditions from Leyton Orient. Hill made four changes to the team that lost last week, bringing in new signing Cestor at left back, putting Wayne Gray up front on the left, playing Moses Ademola, returning from injury, on the right and starting Alan Inns alongside Adam Doyle at centre back. Woking lined up in a 4-3-3 formation.

Former Crystal Palace chairman and now Bromley manager, Mark Goldberg, would have hoped his team could follow Staines’s footsteps and get a point or perhaps three from Woking. Goldberg had made three signings in the week: forward Antonio German, ex-Queens Park Rangers, wide man Pierre Joseph-Dubois from Hayes & Yeading United and goalkeeper Joe Welch, ex-Stevenage. They all started for Bromley in a 4-4-2 formation.

As the sun slowly lowered behind the Leslie Gosden Stand, Bromley got the game underway attacking the Kingfield Road End. In the opening ten minutes, both teams cancelled each other out on a greasy surface. Murtagh swung in a free-kick towards Doyle, whose header went out for a goal kick amongst appeals for a penalty, for a push on Doyle, whilst Bromley’s Liam Harwood’s ambitious effort from long range went well wide. Woking forward Cowan-Hall had a header that was caught by Welch moments later. Aaron Howe had little to do in the first half, as he watched Rory Hill’s volley trickle wide. Some good work from Gray with the ball on the left ended up with Murtagh, whose tame shot was easily saved by Welch.

Bromley took every opportunity to run the clock down, but that was soon to end as Moses Ademola put the Cards ahead. Murtagh put a corner into the six-yard box where the ball was nodded down to Cowan-Hall, whose vicious shot saw Welch make an outstanding save . That sparked a scramble three yards from the Bromley goal line as Doyle’s effort was blocked before Ademola lashed the ball into the back of the net. A deserved lead for the Cards after twenty minutes.

Bromley looked for an equaliser immediately, when Howe was called into action to save a header down low,although Murtagh, minutes later, probably should have put Woking two ahead. Some good play by Cowan-Hall and Ademola on the right saw him put a cross into Cowan-Hall, who flicked the ball on to Murtagh. He got just too much direction on his header and sent the ball wide. Bromley’s forward Hill had a shot from distance that was easy for Howe, whilst Murtagh’s short corner to Ademola was fired over.

Reliable as ever and stand in captain, Adam Newton, was judged to have tripped Joseph-Dubois and was shown a yellow card. The resulting free-kick from Danny Waldren, from 25 yards, struck the Woking wall. Then one of the biggest talking points of the half occurred. Cowan-Hall burst through Bromley’s defence chasing a bouncing ball over the top as Welch came out to deal with the situation. Cowan-Hall got to the ball first and the Lillywhites goalkeeper brought him down. Despite being the last man, Welch was shown a yellow card. Murtagh took the free-kick and it was brilliantly tipped over by the Bromley goalkeeper, who arguably shouldn’t have been on the pitch.

The two minutes of injury time passed and the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the first half. Garry Hill certainly felt the first-half performance was much better than that of last weeks and said in the post-match interview how Woking, “could have been two or three up” by the break.

Half Time: Woking 1 Bromley 0

Attacking the Kingfield Road End, Woking made a lively start and got their reward instantly in the 47th minute. Some fantastic build-up play resulted in Ademola playing in Cowan-Hall to finish past Welch. Woking looked good value for their lead.

A Bromley corner came to nothing and King’s effort from a free-kick, after Gray was pulled back, was saved down low. Bromley then made changes. Freddie Warren came off in the 60th minute and was replaced by Mike Jones and a minute later Rory Hill gave way for Gareth Williams.

Jack King (pictured) played a wonderful 60-yard pass across the pitch to Ademola, who was unlucky in his attempt to wriggle a way through the Lillywhites' defence. Ademola again nearly found a way through as he almost latched on to Cowan-Hall’s through ball. Bromley substitute Mike Jones’s curling shot was then comfortably caught by Howe.

With Woking in control of the game, Hill made two changes, taking off Cowan-Hall for Elvis Hammond up front and Ademola for new loan signing Luke Medley on the right. A volley from Inns from the edge of the area flew over the KRE when up the other end Bromley full back Marlon Patterson bent a free-kick into Howe’s hands.

Then, from nowhere, Bromley got their breakthrough. In the 73rd minute and after numerous failed attempts to clear the ball, Doyle’s clearance hit King, which resulted in the ball falling to striker German. He was brought down by Howe and a penalty was awarded. Danny Waldren stepped up, sent Howe the wrong way and slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. Bromley now had their tails up and it was a question of whether Woking could weather the storm.

Almost instantly, Bromley nearly got a second as Smith’s effort was pushed out for a corner by Howe. Mike Cestor was struggling with ,what looked like a whack on the ribs, and was replaced by McNerney who went in at centre back with Doyle moved to left back. With ten minutes to go Medley’s powerful shot was, luckily enough for Bromley, deflected into Welch’s arms. Dubois, up the other end, got the better of Adam Doyle and his cross was met by Waldren, who shot just wide.

In the 87th minute all three points looked to have been been snatched from Woking. Substitute Gareth Williams fed a pass through Inns's legs to Smith, who fired the ball past Howe, who could only get a hand to it, into the bottom corner. Woking would now have to be careful not to concede a third.

In reply, King's and Murtagh’s efforts from outside the area were smothered well by Welch. Four minutes of injury time was shown, although double that was played because of injuries and knocks during added time. Deep into injury time, Murtagh was fouled to the left of the Bromley penalty area whilst challenging in the air for a ball. It was debatable whether it should have been awarded. Murtagh himself curled the ball into a packed six-yard box where McNerney met it, with pretty well the last touch of the game, and directed the ball into the far corner. Cue elation for everyone in the ground apart from those from Bromley. Magnificent scenes occurred as the players bundled onto McNerney in schoolboy fashion, and the Woking fans celebrated in the background.

Moments later the full-time whistle sounded. Woking deserved the points but made hard work of their victory. It was another pleasing win for Garry Hill's Woking side,who now travel to Salisbury next Saturday.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor (Joe McNerney 80), Keiran Murtagh, Alan Inns, Adam Doyle, Paris Cowan-Hall (Elvis Hammond 68), Jack King, Moses Ademola (Luke Medley 68), Wayne Gray, Jay Davies

Unused Subs: Andy Little, Josh Griffiths

Bookings: Adam Newton 30

Bromley: Joe Welch, Tutu Henriques, Marlon Patterson, Freddie Warren (Mike Jones 60), Moses Swaibu, Liam Harwood, Lewis Taylor (Orlando Smith 36), Danny Waldren, Antonio German, Pierre Joseph-Dubois, Rory Hill (Gareth Williams 61)

Unused Subs: Aaron Rhule, Hakeem Araba

Bookings: Danny Waldren 14, Joe Welch 32, Orlando Smith 98

Sponsor's MOTM: Jack King

Attendance: 1612

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