Laithwaite Independent Financial Advisers

Dartford Stun Ten Man Woking

Marcus Vlassak
11:41am, Wed 19th Feb 2014
Dartford 5-1 Woking
The Skrill Premier
18th February 2014

Off the back of an excellent result away at play-off chasing Gateshead, Woking now turned their attention to Princes Park where they encountered relegation battling Dartford, who themselves entered this game after an impressive 2-1 win away at Wrexham. An overall disappointing performance from Garry Hill’s men, marred by the first-half sending off of Joey Jones, saw the Cards concede five despite leading the hosts early on.

An early Scott Rendell goal after four minutes was cancelled out by doubles from Luton loanee Alex Wall and midfielder Max Cornhill, before substitute Lee Noble completed the scoring with a stoppage time strike.

Woking lined up in a similar 4-4-2 formation to that on Saturday against Gateshead, Sole in for Marriott (a late arrival at the ground, apparently) being the only change. The visitors started brightly and opened the scoring after only four minutes as Rendell found the back of the net from a cleverly worked John Goddard pass to put the Cards one nil up. There was very little time for the Woking players to regroup as Dartford responded immediately.

After the restart it took Alex Wall, on an extended one-month loan from table toppers Luton, just thirty seconds to calmly slot the ball past a helpless Sam Beasant in the Woking goal to level the scores at one a piece.

Both teams began to find their feet after the hectic opening five minutes, John Goddard being allowed to carry the ball towards the Dartford penalty area before fashioning a well worked right footed shot that whistled narrowly wide of Julian’s right hand post. Josh Payne and Joey Jones soon established a foothold in the midfield and were able to start dictating possession.

Dartford too created a few half chances, looking particularly dangerous on the break down their left flank, although there was nothing too testing for the Woking goalkeeper. Woking were in the ascendancy, experiencing more of the possession, Betsy and Goddard, in particular, linking well with Rendell and Sole to create a number of chances, although a lack of end product kept the scores level.

However, just after the half-hour mark the tables began to turn with the dismissal of Joey Jones, after referee Paul Rees deemed Jones’ challenge on Jim Stevenson to be worthy of a straight red. Woking were now left with a mountain to climb.

To give credit to Garry Hill’s men, they kept playing and despite a soft penalty appeal from the home fans, Woking continued to create chances. A neat bit of interplay between Rendell and Goddard on the edge of the box allowed Kevin Betsy to scare the Dartford number one as his right footed shot flew narrowly wide of the target.

The fourth official indicated a minimum of two minutes added time with Woking approaching the break with the scores still level. However there was to be one further twist. On the stroke of half-time, a long cross field ball from the right hand side by Dartford’s Lee Burns to target man Alex Wall allowed the striker to roll his defender, take a touch and coolly bury his left footed strike in the bottom right corner for his and Dartford’s second.

Half-time: Dartford 2 Woking 1

After letting their early one-nil lead slip, Woking emerged from the dressing room searching for an early equaliser. Marriot and Murtagh on in place of Nutter and Sole soon after the break saw Woking line up with a back three, midfield four and strike duo Marriot and Rendell reunited upfront.

Moments after the double substitution, Josh Payne was caught napping on the ball, deep in his own half, when Dartford’s Max Cornhill dispossessed the Woking midfielder. He sprayed the ball out to the right hand side and then headed towards Woking’s penalty box. A cleverly cut back cross allowed Dartford’s MOTM, Cornhill to latch onto the move he had started and drill the ball past Beasant to put the Darts 3-1 up.

Dartford were now in control and started to create further chances as the visitors were firmly on the back foot and clearly struggling to get back into the game. Alex Wall had the opportunity to complete his hat-trick upon the hour mark when his free kick on the white line of the 18-yard box was rocketed inches wide.

Woking tried to regain a stranglehold in the match through a couple of long range Josh Payne efforts, but the extra man for Dartford was telling and they continued to press forward.

Twenty minutes before time Dartford increased their lead. Mark Ricketts’ poor clearance resulted in a corner to Dartford on the right. A right-footed out swinger was floated to the near post where Max Cornhill rose above McNerney to guide the ball beyond Beasant at the near post, for his second and Dartford’s fourth.

At 4-1 and a man down, a win surely seemed beyond the Cards now; a disallowed goal to make it 4-2 may have given the visitors a glimmer of hope although Betsy’s shot cum cross was adjudged to have been offside when poked in at the far corner.

In the concluding ten minutes, frustration began to set in. Betsy found himself in the referee’s book for dissent before a final Joe McNerney header went agonisingly close to a consolation goal.

However the home team weren’t finished and when two-goal Alex Wall was treated to a standing ovation with Mikel Suarez replacing the front man, the Spaniard rose to meet a Julian free kick. His flick-on fell to substitute Lee Noble to fire in Dartford’s fifth of the night from a few yards out.

Overall, this was a disappointing performance from the Cards which neither the players nor fans will remember with any great fondness. The final outcome may well have been different had it not been for Joey Jones’ first-half dismissal as the sending-off clearly took the wind completely out of Woking’s sails when the match was delicately poised. However, as we all know, it is a game of 'ifs' and 'buts' and the team must now dust itself down in readiness for an important home game against Macclesfield on Saturday.

Woking: Sam Beasant, Joey Jones, Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson, John Nutter (Jack Marriott -55’), Kevin Betsy, Josh Payne (Niall Wright - 80’), Mark Ricketts, John Goddard, Giuseppe Sole (Kieran Murtagh – 55’), Scott Rendell

Unused Subs: Aaron Howe, Anthony McNamee

Goal: Scott Rendell 4

Booked: Mark Ricketts 76, Kevin Betsy 80

Red Card: Joey Jones 33

MOTM: Scott Rendell – scored an early goal and was always involved in Woking attacks, unlucky maybe not to get another.

Dartford: Alan Julian, Rory McAuley, Tyrone Sterling, Mat Mitchell-King, Alex Woodyard (Lee Noble – 88’), Max Cornhill, James Stevenson, Lee Burns, Elliot Bradbrook, Alex Wall (Mikel Suarez - 83’), Danny Harris (Ben Swallow – 86’)

Unused Subs: Kenny Clark, Tom Wellham

Goal(s): Alex Wall 5, 46, Max Cornhill 55, 73, Lee Noble 90 (+2)

Booked: James Stevenson 62, Max Cornhill 83

Attendance: 1,002

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