Impressive Cards defeat promotion hopefuls

Phil Batts
12:00am, Sat 6th Apr 2013

Woking 2 Wrexham 0
Blue Square Bet Premier
6th April 2013

Having ridden their luck in the opening twenty-five minutes of this engrossing encounter, when they might conceivably have found themselves a couple of goals behind, Woking slowly hauled themselves back into the game before seizing the initiative in the second half and running out worthy winners, courtesy of two well-taken goals from Jayden Stockley.

The Cards lined up in a 4-5-1 formation against their promotion-hopeful opponents, who were buoyed by an impressive home victory two days earlier against high-flying Mansfield Town. With Seb Brown having returned to AFC WImbledon and Aaron Howe not yet fully recovered from injury, there was a rare start between the posts for Elvijs Putnins. In front of him, the back four comprised Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, Jack Parkinson and Mike Cestor. Captain Mark Ricketts anchored the midfield alongside Kevin Betsy, Lee Sawyer, Billy Knott and Gavin McCallum, with Jayden Stockley as the lone front runner.

Following their recent hectic schedule of four games in seven days, it was hoped that the four day break following the defeat at Dartford on Easter Monday would see a revitalised performance from the home team. The omens were not good, however, as the visitors made a confident start, knocking the ball about impressively on a difficult, bumpy surface. It was clear from the outset that the Cards' defence would have their work cut out to contain a physical, but nimble Wrexham attack, particularly their well-travelled striker Dele Adebola, who proved to be a handful throughout the ninety minutes.

For much of the opening exchanges, Woking seemed to be chasing shadows as their opponents carved out a number of chances which they somehow failed to convert. Firstly, Putnins had to rush from his line to thwart Adebola as he latched onto a dangerous through ball. Shortly afterwards, a Danny Wright header came back off the bar with the Woking 'keeper well beaten. Another chance then went begging following a knock-down in the six-yard box which the overworked Putnins managed to smother.

Somehow, the Cards managed to reach the half-hour mark on level terms at which point their belief suddenly seemed to grow as they slowly started to see more of the ball. The promptings of Billy Knott and Kevin Betsy, in particular, started to carve out a few half-chances for the home team and Jayden Stockley's energetic running and good interplay began to cause the visitors' defence some anxious moments. Indeed, as the half drew to an end, it was the home side who were looking more likely to break the deadlock as McCallum and Stockley both went close to scoring.

Half-time: Woking 0 Wrexham 0

Arguably, the half-time whistle had come at a bad moment for the Cards and one wondered if the interval would enable the visitors to regroup and come out all-guns blazing as they had done at the start of the match. It was soon clear, however, that the home team had no intention of allowing this to happen as they took the game to their opponents from the outset. Two minutes into the half, a shot from Knott following good work from Betsy, produced an excellent save from Chris Maxwell in the Wrexham goal and a few minutes later a snapshot from Stockley, all of thirty-five yards out, had the visitors' stopper scrambling across his line to push the ball away for a corner.

Woking were not to be denied, however, and deservedly took the lead on the hour. Jayden Stockley found himself with time and space on the edge of the Wrexham six-yard box and composed himself before stroking the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Wrexham had not got going following their blistering start to the match and the home team was in no mood to let them back into the game having snatched the lead. Not content to sit back, Woking piled forward in search of a further goal to make the game safe and this duly came on sixty-eight minutes, thanks once again to their on-loan young striker. The energetic Billy Knott broke down the right and saw his powerful strike parried by the 'keeper. Jayden Stockley, following up like a good striker should, however, was on hand to power home for his, and Woking's, second goal.

The second goal had clearly knocked the stuffing out of the visitors, who now looked leggy and were no doubt starting to feel the effects of their hard game two days earlier. Although they had a couple of half-chances to reduce the deficit, notably through the impressive Adebola, who continued to cause the Woking defence problems until the final whistle, it was the Cards who looked the more likely to add to their lead as they continued to pass the ball around with precision and confidence. Stockley had a number of chances to bag a hat-trick but it was not to be and Sawyer and Brett Williams also went close as the home team ran out worthy winners.

What a strange game this had been. After the opening exchanges of the match, few would have predicted a victory and clean sheet for the home team. Credit where it is due, however. The Cards weathered the storm, grew in confidence and had much the better of the final hour to emerge as worthy winners. The victory leaves them in tenth place in the league with fifty-nine points from forty-three games and, with three games remaining, on track once again for the manager's target of sixty-five points.

Woking: Elvijs Putnins, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Mark Ricketts (Bradley Simmonds 86), Joe McNerney, Jack Parkinson, Kevin Betsy, Lee Sawyer, Gavin McCallum (Brett Williams 83), Billy Knott (John Nutter 78), Jayden Stockley

Unused subs: Aaron Howe, George Frith

Goals: Jayden Stockley (60, 68)

Wrexham: Chris Maxwell, Stephen Wright, Martin Riley (Neil Ashton 63), Jay Harris, Danny Wright, Brett Ormerod (Glen Little 55), Dean Keats (Kevin Thornton 55), Joe Clarke, Jonny Hunt, Declan Walker, Dele Adebola

Unused subs: Adrian Cieslewicz, Nick Rushton

Caution: Glen Little (72)

Attendance: 1,518

Sponsor's MOTM: Billy Knott - Woking's midfield dynamo. A superb display in every respect.

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