Cards claim Hyde revenge
8:37pm, Sat 2nd Feb 2013
Woking 2 Hyde 1
Blue Square Premier
2nd February 2013
A brace from Billy Knott allowed Woking to claim a hard-fought but deserved victory over a battling Hyde side and extend their impressive run of results to five wins from their last six league games.
Knott’s two strikes – the second of which came just two minutes into the second-half – also helped banish the memories of his team’s worst performance this season, the 7-0 defeat at Hyde in early December.
The Sunderland loanee opened the scoring after ten minutes when he curled a sublime effort from just outside of the penalty area into the top left hand corner of the goal.
Matthew Blinkhorn turned in the Tiger’s equaliser from Adam Griffin’s cross mid-way through the first period, but Garry Hill’s side came out aggressively after the interval and deservedly scored what proved to be the winner within mere moments of the restart.
Woking began the game with three changes from the team that defeated Ebbsfleet United in their last league game on the 13th January: with Brett Johnson, Jayden Stockley and Lee Sawyer replacing the injured pair of Adam Newton and Adam Doyle, as well as Loick Pires – who is now on loan at Boreham Wood.
A 4-3-3 formation saw Joe McNerney slot in at right back, with Johnson and Jack Parkinson the central pair, while Stockley started in the more prominent striking position between wide-men Kevin Betsy and Bradley Bubb. Meanwhile Scott McNiven’s visitors were without star striker and top scorer Phil Jevons, also through injury.
The Cards started the game on the front foot as Hyde’s goalkeeper Chris Dilo scuffed his clearance straight to Knott on the half-way line, with the midfielder quick to set Betsy through on goal, but the 34 year-old could only find the midriff of a relieved Dilo with his resulting shot.
However, it did not take long for the home side to find a way past the French stopper, on loan from Blackburn Rovers, as Knott collected the ball on the right hand side of the penalty area, composed himself and curled the ball superbly into the net with an unstoppable effort.
McNerney came close to doubling the advantage with a header from John Nutter’s free-kick, but from the resulting counter attack Hyde captain Griffin made good progress down the left hand flank before his perfectly placed cross was tapped home by Blinkhorn.
Hyde’s equaliser might only have kept the scores level for a matter of seconds had Bubb taken advantage of the chance that fell to him after another poor visitors’ clearance. The Cards top scorer managed to take control of the ball inside the penalty area, but Dilo was out quickly to block the winger’s attempt to shoot.
In an end-to-end conclusion to the second-half both Stockley and Knott saw long range efforts saved by the Tigers’ keeper, while Griffin’s fellow full-back Josh Brizell saw his swerving shot parried clear by Aaron Howe.
Half-time: Woking 1 Hyde 1
After arguably being his team’s standout player in the first-half it was ironic that it was a mistake from Griffin that allowed Woking to retake the lead at the start of the second period. Betsy’s cross from the left looked to have been intercepted by the Hyde left-back, but as he prepared to clear he saw the ball nicked off his toe by Knott, who proceeded to slot it past Dilo with ease.
In an excellent spell of dominance the Cards were unlucky not to extend their lead, with Dilo saving from McNerney, Bubb, Stockley and Sawyer in a mad ten minute spell.
Determined to stop the free-flowing football opposing them Hyde brought on Shay McCartan and another Blackburn loanee, Osayamen Osawe, in place of Mark Allott and David Poole, while Woking brought on Brett Williams in place of a frustrated Stockley, who had endured one of his more difficult afternoons in a Cards’ shirt.
The changes did little to create fresh openings for the visitors, who found the commanding presence of Howe in the way of the few openings they did manage to make. In what was an excellent all-round defensive display from the Cards, Hyde never looked likely to repeat their Ewan Fields demolition job.
Indeed it was Woking who had further opportunities to double their lead: Sawyer heading straight at Dilo from Nutter’s cross before Williams outmuscled a defender only to find the Hyde keeper in place to block him.
Garry Hill brought on Gavin McCallum and Mike Cestor as the clock wound down, determined not to give their visitors any further chances. He would have been amongst those with his heart in his mouth however when Ricketts, who had enjoyed an otherwise excellent game, under-hit a 94th minute back-pass, but thankfully Howe was alert and just managed to beat Scott Spencer to the ball.
In the end, it was hard work for the Cards but, crucially, they are beginning to make a habit of grinding out narrow wins, especially at home, whereas earlier in the season they were throwing two, and often three points away.
Impressively Woking are now up to eleventh in the league table, nine points clear of a relegation place and nine points adrift of a playoff place, with games in hand on many of the teams around them. But perhaps crucially they are now only 12 points away from their 50 point ‘safety target’ with still 19 games remaining.
Woking: Aaron Howe, Joe McNerney, John Nutter, Jack Parkinson, Brett Johnson, Mark Ricketts, Lee Sawyer (Gavin McCallum 85), Billy Knott, Kevin Betsy, Bradley Bubb (Mike Cestor 90), Jayden Stockley (Brett Williams 69)
Unused Subs: Elvijs Putnins, George Frith
Goal(s): Knott 10 & 47
Booked: McNerney 34
Hyde: Chris Dilo, Josh Brizell, Adam Griffin, Kelvin Lomax, Luke Ashworth, Mark Allott (Shay McCartan 61), David Poole (Osayamen Osawe 73), Liam Tomsett, Scott Spencer, Matthew Blinkhorn, Chris Sedgwick (Matthew Cassidy 82)
Unused Subs: David Carnell, Grant Spencer
Goal(s): Blinkhorn 20
Booked: Lomax 90
MOTM: Billy Knott – Worked tirelessly and at times appeared to be everywhere. Grabbed both of Woking’s goals and created several more chances for his teammates. Woking fans can only hope that this was not his final appearance.