Cards notch five in seven goal bonanza

Phil Batts
12:00am, Sun 17th Mar 2013

Woking 5 AFC Telford United 2
Blue Square Bet Premier
16th March 2013

What seemed to be a stroll in the park for Woking at half-time in this match turned out to be anything but as a frantic second half saw their three-goal lead evaporate to just one before they managed to pull away again with two further goals in the dying minutes.

The game was in doubt a few hours before the kick-off as incessant rain had left some parts of Kingfield under water. Due to the sterling efforts of the groundsman Colin Galliford, however, the pitch was pronounced fit for play, although the surface was clearly very heavy and cut up quite badly as the match progressed. Telford boss John Psaras later described it as a "potato field", which was possibly a little uncharitable.

The Cards made one enforced change to the team which had come away with a gritty draw in mid-week at Macclesfield, with the suspended Lee Sawyer replaced by the fit-again Billy Knott. The team lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Seb Brown continued in goal for the injured Aaron Howe with a back four of Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson and John Nutter. The midfield comprised captain Mark Ricketts, Jack Parkinson, Kevin Betsy and Billy Knott with Bradley Bubb and Jayden Stockley up front.

The Cards came out of the traps quickly and were ahead within five minutes. The Telford defence failed to react to a short corner and Adam Newton's cross was controlled by Bradley Bubb eight yards out and he drilled a shot low into the right-hand corner of the goal, possibly via a slight deflection.

This perfect start was just the tonic the home side needed and it was one-way traffic as the team proceeded to produce some excellent football despite the unfavourable playable conditions. It came as no real surprise, therefore, when the Cards doubled their lead on thirteen minutes. A rare Telford attack broke down on the edge of the Woking area. The ball was quickly transferred to Billy Knott, who accelerated away on one of his trademark surging runs through midfield. His pass found Jayden Stockley on the edge of the area and the confident young striker cut inside and hammered home a left-foot shot into the top right-hand corner of the net.

One wondered if the floodgates would now open as the Bucks, low on confidence and closing in on the unenviable Conference Premier record of twenty-six matches without a win, were clearly having difficulty coming to terms with the heavy pitch and their rampant opponents.

As the half progressed, however, and despite some incisive attacking play, particularly down the left flank involving the ever-impressive Kevin Betsy and John Nutter and Jayden Stockley, Telford slowly began to steady the ship and carve out some chances of their own. Indeed, striker Steve Jones spurned two excellent opportunities in quick succession to reduce the deficit. They were then made to pay heavily for these misses just before the interval when Jack Parkinson played in Bradley Bubb behind a square Telford defence and the Woking striker calmly slotted home to give the home side a healthy interval lead.

Half-time: Woking 3 AFC Telford United 0

Woking started the second half in determined mood and seemed intent on adding to their goal tally. A couple of chances came and went but there seemed little hint of what was to follow as it looked as though damage limitation was the best that the visitors could hope for. Out of nowhere, however, the Bucks pulled a goal back on fifty-four minutes. A long free-kick was nodded across goal by Ryan Valentine and Steve Jones was on hand to flick home.

The Cards continued to push forward and almost straight from the re-start could, and should, have put the game safe. The normally reliable Bradley Bubb was played through but with the goal at his mercy, he guided the chance wide of the right-hand post.

Telford now started to sense that there might still be something in the game for them and proceeded to have their best spell of the match as the Cards' defence started to look nervy for the first time in the afternoon. Despite this, the home team contrived to miss a gilt-edged opportunity to extend their lead on the hour. Kevin Betsy broke free on the right flank and pulled the ball across the box where Jack Parkinson, who had done well to put himself into a scoring position, succeeded only in scooping the ball over the bar from two yards out.

Again, the visitors seemed to draw confidence from Woking's profligacy in front of goal and they further reduced the arrears with a second goal after eighty-one minutes as Aaron Williams glanced home a header off the inside of the post from a Nathan Rooney cross.

The Cards' faithful were now starting to fear the worst as a rejuvenated Telford team poured forward in search of the equaliser. Relief was to come, however, in a somewhat bizarre fashion. A corner was awarded to the home team with a minute of normal playing time remaining. As the ball was cleared, the Telford 'keeper Ryan Young appeared to grapple with Jack Parkinson in an off-the-ball incident and drag him to the ground. The referee, Mr. Horwood, pulled back play and after consulting with his assistant, awarded Woking a penalty. To the palpable relief of the home fans, Bradley Bubb stepped up and blasted his penalty down the middle to complete his second hat-trick of the season.

With just seconds remaining, there was time for Woking to add a fifth. A poor back pass from Simon Ford was seized upon by Kevin Betsy who rounded the 'keeper with ease and slotted into an empty net to complete proceedings on what had been an extremely eventful second half.

This victory will no doubt have pleased Garry and Steve immensely as it takes them past their initial target of fifty points, which all but guarantees Conference Premier football at Kingfield Stadium next season - an excellent achievement for a part-time professional outfit in a predominantly full-time professional league. The nature of yesterday's victory will be something of a concern, however, as what should, at half-time, have been a routine win turned out to be anything but as they allowed Telford to get back into the game and briefly threaten a draw. Nevertheless, the three points were bagged and a top ten finish now beckons. The coming week brings away fixtures at Braintree and Nuneaton and the manager will no doubt have his players fired up to achieve positive results in both matches.

Woking: Seb Brown, Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson, John Nutter, Mark Ricketts, Jack Parkinson, Kevin Betsy, Billy Knott (Gavin McCallum 63), Bradley Bubb (George Frith 90), Jayden Stockley (Adam Francis 68)

Unused subs: Elvijs Putnins, Mike Cestor

Goals: Bubb (4, 43, 89 pen), Stockley (13), Betsy (90)

AFC Telford United: Ryan Young, Will Salmon, Dan Preston (Michael Briscoe 33), Simon Ford, Ryan Valentine, Ian Craney (Jamie Spray 46), Phil Trainer, Nathan Rooney, Steve Leslie (Alex Meecham 57), Aaron Williams, Steve Jones

Unused subs: James O'Neil, Marco Adaggio

Goals: Jones (54), Williams (81)

Cautions: Young (88)

Attendance: 1,320

Sponsor's MOTM: Jayden Stockley - led the line well and scored an excellent goal

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