Woking News & Mail

Cards Almost Snatch Unlikely Victory

Jacob Greenwood
9:38am, Sun 20th Apr 2014
Forest Green Rovers 2 Woking 2
The Skrill Premier
19th April 2014

Garry Hill saw his ten-man side battle back to gain a point at Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.

Giuseppe Sole came in for Jack Marriott , who was recalled by Ipswich Town in midweek due to an injury crisis, and John Goddard replaced Joey Jones who had an operation on his appendix.

Woking started the game the brighter of the two sides and went close when a long ball forward was chested down by Scott Rendell and laid back to Kevin Betsy but he could only find Sam Russell in the Rovers goal. Betsy linked up well with Rendell again minutes later when he played the ball across to the visitors' target man but his shot was deflected just wide.

Despite a positive start, the Cards found themselves behind in the 33rd minute when a through ball by Rovers found James Norwood in what looked suspiciously like an offside position. The flag stayed down, however, and the prolific home marksman calmly rounded Sam Beasant and slotted into an empty net to open the scoring. After falling a goal behind, things went from bad to worse for the visitors a few minutes later when Mark Ricketts mistimed a challenge on Bradley Jordan and received a straight red card.

Woking struggled to create chances thereafter with their numerical disadvantage but managed to reach half-time still in the game.

Half-Time: Forest Green Rovers 1 Woking 0

The visitors were put under pressure by the Rovers attack at the start of the second half and Eddie Oshodi went close after keeping the ball in play and firing just wide of the far post. The Cards battled back into the game and Sole came close to drawing Woking level after Rendell cut back and found his strike partner but Sole’s shot curled wide.

Showing great team spirit, the ten men of Woking deservedly found themselves level midway through the half when Goddard, having another busy and effective game in midfield, laid the ball off to Rendell who floated a cross in for Brett Johnson. The central defender, finding himself with a surprising amount of time and space six yards out, chested down and finished calmly. Attacking runs from Betsy, Josh Payne and Goddard were causing problems for the Forest Green defence, and when Al Bangura took down John Goddard in the 77th minute he received his second yellow card and was given his marching orders to make it ten against ten.

Back to parity Woking pushed for a winner and, with time running out, thought they had secured all three points. Betsy made a good run down the right, beat Jared Hodgkiss, cut back and found Goddard who smashed the ball home with the aid of a slight deflection. The joyous celebrations of players and travelling fans proved a trifle premature, unfortunately. As at Grimsby Town the previous week, the Cards couldn’t quite get the job done as a Lee Hughes header at the back post levelled the scores in stoppage time.

So, not for the first time this season, the team had dropped points by conceding late on in a game. Overall, however, Garry Hill will probably be pleased with the point. At one-nil down and with a man sent off, things looked bleak at half-time. However, the players showed great character and resilience in the second half and continued to play some attractive football. Having done all the hard work to nose in front, it was just a pity that they couldn't quite see it through at the end to take all three points.

Next up, the big home game of the season on Easter Monday as the Cards host local rivals Aldershot Town. Don't forget it's a 1pm kick-off.

Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter, Mark Ricketts (c), Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson, Giuseppe Sole (Cestor 85), Kevin Betsy, Josh Payne, Scott Rendell, John Goddard

Unused subs: Anthony McNamee, Niall Wright, Andy Little, Reece Beckles

Sent Off: Ricketts 37

Goals: Johnson 68, Goddard 89

Forest Green Rovers: Sam Russell, Jared Hodgkiss, Dale Bennett (Bradley Jordan 17)(Alhassan Bangura 45), James Norwood, Matty Taylor, Eddie Oshodi, Luke Oliver, Paul Green, Anthony Barry, Marcus Kelly(Danny Wright 54), Lee Hughes

Unused subs: Paul White, Luke Rodgers

Sent Off: Bangura 77

Goals: Norwood 33, Hughes 90

My Man of the Match: Kevin Betsy – the veteran midfielder provided plenty of energy to Woking’s attack and made a good run to set up the second goal.

Attendance: 1,245

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