Cards come from behind to maintain their lead

Martin Townshend
2:23pm, Sun 18th Mar 2012
Woking 2 Welling United 1
Blue Square Bet South
17 March 2012

Resurgent Woking made it three in a row as they maintained their advantage over second-placed Dartford, whilst striking a potentially fatal blow to any hopes Welling had of automatic promotion.

Expecting a tough game against the early season pacesetters, Josh Griffiths was the only change from the win over Dorchester, replacing the suspended Dale Binns on the bench.

Hoping to gain revenge for their first defeat of the campaign, it was Woking who had the best chance of the opening exchanges after six minutes when, following a scramble in the six-yard area, Moses Ademola shot fiercely against goalkeeper Craig Holloway from point-blank range.

The Wings’ first chances were less threatening - Loick Pires being found in plenty of space on the edge of the Woking area only to scuff his attempted first-timer horribly, succeeding only in moving the ball further away from the Woking goal than when it fell to him, before Scott Kinch fired a 40-yarder harmlessly wide after dispossessing Murtagh.

On the quarter hour the home side again threatened to break the deadlock, Ademola picking out Murtagh, whose low shot was narrowly wide. From a free-kick on the Woking left, Pires again missed the chance to open the scoring, the ball evading defence and attack alike before bouncing off the luckless striker’s shins and being cleared before he had chance to react.

However, the visitors were by this time enjoying arguably their best spell of the game and after 17 minutes took the lead. Another free-kick from a similar position, awarded after Pires went down under the lightest of touches, fell to Jack Parkinson, lurking in space at the far post, and his close-range shot found the Woking net via Aaron Howes’ leg to make it 0-1.

The Cards began to look a little more purposeful after the goal, Welling seemingly increasingly content to timewaste and go to ground at the merest suggestion of contact, but were within a whisker of conceding a second within five minutes when a Pires cross found Harry Baker unmarked in the Woking area, but he was unable to beat Howe with his subsequent shot.

This was the reprieve Woking needed as they increasingly took the game to the visitors, winning two corners in quick succession and causing some panic in the Welling defence, Holloway punching clear under pressure from the second, and spending several minutes receiving treatment for his troubles.

With 34 minutes gone Woking almost levelled after Murtagh and Ademola combined on the right before crossing low into the box for the sliding Sole to put his angled shot just wide of the far post.

Two minutes later it was all square following a flowing Woking move. Newton and Cowan-Hall combined to play the ball towards Ademola. His back-heel was collected by Sole, who found Betsy on the left corner of the Welling box, the winger teasing the defence before slotting the ball into the path of Tom Davis, whose shot deflected past Holloway for his first Woking goal.

The Cards continue to press as the half came to an end, Sole crossing behind the advancing Davis before the ball back in was scrambled away by the visitors with no-one quite able to create space for a shot, with an additional five minutes of stoppage time producing no real attempts from either side.

Half-time: Woking 1 Welling United 1

Just eight seconds after the restart the turnaround was complete, Adam Newton pumping Murtagh’s pass from the centre-spot forward for Sole (pictured) to turn his marker as the ball bounced before volleying it past the diving Holloway from 25 yards to send the majority of Kingfield into raptures.

Sole had a chance to add to his impressive recent tally within minutes, picking up a pass from Ademola as the Wings’ defence waved vainly for offside, only to skew well wide. Cowan-Hall was next up after 54 minutes, his excellent curling shot from the edge of the area producing an equally impressive save from Holloway. The Welling ‘keeper was in action again from the subsequent corner, saving Alan Inns’ far post header before Doyle’s ball back in was headed off the line. Holloway again foiled Cowan-Hall a minute later, this time tipping over the bar after the Cards’ young striker had been set up neatly by Sole.

Sole’s curling free-kick did beat Holloway just after the hour mark but unfortunately was narrowly wide of the post as Woking’s efforts to extend the lead were once again frustrated, leading to a few worrying moments at the other end. Luis Cumbers escaped the Cards’ defence only for his shot to be parried by Howe before being hooked away to safety as it bobbled towards the goal line, whilst Inns’ sliced clearance shortly afterwards forced Howe to punch away under pressure from Pires.

With 80 minutes gone Cumbers ran into Howe as the Woking ‘keeper stooped to pick up Parkinson’s through ball into the box, but referee Barry Holderness waved away Welling calls for a penalty, before a Pires header over the bar proved to be the visitors' last effort on goal. Kevin Betsy almost had the chance to add a third, breaking free only for the final whistle to blow, but two goals were ultimately enough to end the Wings’ three-game winning streak and, according to their website, their title challenge.

Continuing signs of a return to form then and another massive three points, with Dartford overcoming Havant to remain eight points adrift with that game in hand. Here’s hoping for Sutton to do us a favour on Tuesday night!

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Derek Duncan, Keiran Murtagh, Alan Inns, Adam Doyle, Paris Cowan-Hall (Wayne Gray 77), Tom Davis, Moses Ademola, Giuseppe Sole (Elvis Hammond 82), Kevin Betsy

Unused subs: Joe McNerney, Josh Griffiths, Andy Little

Welling United: Craig Holloway, Loui Fazakerley, Jack Obersteller, Scott Kinch (Lee Clarke 52), Anthony Acheampong, Andy Sambrook, Jack Parkinson, Jamie Day, Luis Cumbers, Harry Baker (Ben Greenhaigh 78), Loick Pires

Unused subs: Dean Cracknell, Ryan Flack, Warren McBean

Cautions: Jamie Day 85

MOTM: Aaron Howe.

Attendance: 1926

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