Exhausted Cards Complete Majestic Comeback
9:25am, Sun 13th Apr 2014
Woking 2 Alfreton Town 1
The Skrill Premier
12th April 2014
Late goals from Joey Jones and Jack Marriott gave Woking the win they needed to keep their play-off push alive after John Akinde had opened the scoring for Alfreton in the first half.
The Cards were lining up for their fourth game in eight days. There was a return to the starting XI for John Nutter and Scott Rendell but Kieran Murtagh was ruled out following the injury he sustained against Cambridge United two days earlier. The team took to the field in the now familiar 4-4-2 formation. In front of Sam Beasant was a back four of Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson and Nutter. The midfield comprised Kevin Betsy, Mark Ricketts, Josh Payne and Joey Jones with Rendell and Jack Marriott spearheading the attack.
Alfreton looked the stronger of the two sides in the opening exchanges and Elliott Whitehouse in midfield was carrying the attack to Woking. It was his breakaway and pass which set up Shaun Harrad for a good chance but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Despite being on the back foot, it was Woking who created the first clear chance. Adam Newton sent in a first-time cross from the right which Scott Rendell met with a header, but there wasnâ€™t enough on it to beat Jon Worsnop in the Alfreton goal.
One minute later and the visitors thought they were in front. Akinde met a long ball and headed it over Beasant into an empty bet but the flag was already raised for offside. Akinde was the man causing all the problems for the Cards' defence and the ball was sticking to his feet in and around the Woking box.
In the 20th minute it was Akinde again who was on hand to put the visitors ahead when Harrad's misdirected shot found the ex-Portsmouth striker eight yards from goal and he was able to finish into an empty net.
Seven minutes later Beasant pulled off a brilliant save to deny Tom Shaw one-on-one to keep the lead down to a single goal. In the 34th minute Joey Jones sent a dangerous diagonal ball into the penalty area, which was inches away from finding Jack Marriott in the six-yard box in an otherwise quiet half for the Woking attacking unit.
Half-time: Woking 0 Alfreton Town 1
Woking started the second half considerably brighter than the first and Marriott was immediately denied brilliantly by Worsnop from close range after being freed by Betsy. Then a vicious left-footed free-kick by John Nutter was flicked onto his own post by a fortunate Nicholas Fenton in the Alfreton defence.
It looked as though it might not be the home side's day when, on 74 minutes, substitute Giuseppe Sole was inches away from levelling the scores with his first touch when his thunderous volley hit the underside of the crossbar. Five minutes later Rendell headed across the box to Marriott who was denied by another crucial point blank block from the busy Worsnop.
In the 80th minute Worsnopâ€™s defences were finally breached as Woking deservedly equalised. Nutter delivered another quality free kick and Joey Jones met it with a precise header in off the post.
Just minutes after the restart, Beasant got a fingertip to an audacious long shot from Josh Law to tip it onto the bar and prevent Alfreton from retaking the lead instantly.
Five minutes from time, however, it was Marriott who was able to latch on to a brilliant ball over the top from Josh Payne. His first touch was exquisite and his second was equally as good as he fired it past Worsnop into the roof of the net to send the fans in the Gosden Stand wild with joy.
Alfreton were unable to pose any further serious threat to the Woking goal after that as the hosts comfortably saw out the remaining few minutes for victory. Garry Hillâ€™s men will be delighted with the way they were able to turn the game around in the second half given the mental and physical fatigue they must have been feeling at the end of a gruelling week. They now have three games remaining and sit six points behind Halifax Town who currently occupy the final play-off place. The dream is still alive - but only just. The squad will no doubt be pleased to have a seven day break from competitive action before they travel to the Cotswolds to take on Forest Green Rovers on Easter Saturday.
Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter, Mark Ricketts (c), Joe McNerney (John Goddard 57), Kevin Betsy (Giuseppe Sole 74), Josh Payne, Scott Rendell, Jack Marriott (Brett Johnson 88), Joey Jones
Unused Subs: Reece Beckles, Andy Little, Mike Cestor
Goals: Joey Jones 80, Jack Marriott 85
Cautions: Josh Payne 14, Joe McNerney 54
Alfreton Town: Jon Worsnop, Andrei Jones, Bradley Wood, Josh Law, Nicholas Fenton (c) (Darran Kempson 73), Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Elliott Whitehouse, Connor Franklin, Tom Shaw (Dan Meadows 88), Shaun Harrad (Paul Clayton 88), John Akinde
Unused Subs: Joe Wildsmith, Godfrey Poku
Goal: John Akinde 20
Sponsor's MOTM: Josh Payne - another all-action performance from the midfield dynamo