Cards Suffer Derby Day Defeat
7:36pm, Mon 21st Apr 2014
Woking 1 Aldershot Town 2
The Skrill Premier
21st April 2014
It was a disappointing day for the Cards, as they fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat against local rivals Aldershot Town, in what was their final home league game of the season.
Former Woking player Brett Williams gave the Shots the lead mid-way through the second-half, dispatching a penalty into the bottom left-hand corner of the net after Mike Cestor was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area.
Brett Johnson levelled for the home side after slotting home Scott Rendell’s neat pull-back, only for Mark Molesley to net the winner for the visitors seven minutes from time – his shot from the edge of the area taking a huge deflection and looping over Sam Beasant.
The win all but guarantees Skrill Premier safety for Aldershot, who have spent much of the season looking over their shoulders. The Cards desperately missed their absent midfield trio of Mark Ricketts (suspended), Keiran Murtagh and Joey Jones (both injured), but will still feel aggrieved to have missed out on at least a point.
Garry Hill was forced into one change from Saturday's 2-2 draw against Forest Green Rovers, with Cestor coming in for Ricketts. The Frenchman started on the left of a four-man midfield, with John Goddard moving inside to partner Josh Payne.
The Cards began the game brightly, Goddard winning a corner inside the opening minute, with the resulting set-piece flying just over the head of Cestor at the back post. Aldershot goalkeeper Glenn Morris then had to be alert to prevent Rendell opening the scoring, coming out quickly to block the striker after Sole’s exquisite chipped ball looked to have played him in on goal.
Martin Rowlands had probably Aldershot’s best chance in the first-half, striking a low effort narrowly wide of the left-hand post, with referee Paul Rees refusing the Shots' appeals for a corner, despite the shot seemingly taking a deflection off the head of Joe McNerney.
Back at the other end, Kevin Betsy saw his shot from an angle palmed away, Cestor’s effort from the edge of the area proved tame, and Adam Newton’s cross was just about cut out by Morris, with the Aldershot stopper under pressure from Sole.
Half-time: Woking 0 Aldershot Town 0
Aldershot withdrew Rowlands at half-time, introducing Jordan Roberts as his replacement. It was a change that seemingly made a big difference to the visitors, who began to exert themselves more and more in midfield as the second period wore on.
However, the Cards will have been disappointed not to make more of the half’s first clear sight of goal – Rendell heading John Nutter’s free-kick over the crossbar from close range.
The decisive moment came when Emmanuel Oyeleke went for a long-range shot, with Cestor jumping and twisting to block the ball. The midfielder’s effort struck the stray arm of the Woking defender, and Aldershot were handed the opportunity to open the scoring from the penalty spot. Williams made no mistake, striking the ball hard and low to Beasant’s right, sending the Cards' keeper the wrong way and netting his 24th league goal of the season.
It was a lead that lasted just seven minutes. John Nutter’s corner from the right was seemingly cleared by Craig Stanley, but the Cards kept possession and eventually found Rendell in space inside the penalty area. The striker unselfishly pulled the ball back, and Johnson was on hand to steer the ball past Morris to send three-quarters of a packed Kingfield into utter delirium.
For several minutes, it looked as if the Cards would go on and claim a winner, as they had done in their last home game against Alfreton. Garry Hill threw on Anthony McNamee in place of Sole and the hosts charged forward.
Unfortunately for Woking, they were undone by a huge slice of bad luck as, on the counter-attack, Josh Scott found Molesley, whose long-range shot flicked off a defender and flew past a helpless Beasant into the net.
Young striker Reece Beckles came on to try and rescue a point for the hosts, but it was too little too late for a second equaliser. Betsy squandered the Cards' one and only real chance, turning McNamee’s cross into the arms of Morris, although Payne’s shot in the dying seconds wasn’t too far away from the target.
It was, in the end, something of an anti-climax to Woking’s superb second-half of the season. It’s worth remembering that the Cards were without four players who contributed massively to their success this term, including striker Jack Marriott – who has been an unused substitute in both of Ipswich’s last two games, since he was recalled from his loan spell.
Nonetheless, Woking fans still have plenty to smile about in the knowledge that they have already surpassed last season’s points tally, and can go into their final game of the season against already-relegated Tamworth looking to go out on a high.
Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter (Reece Beckles 85), Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson, Kevin Betsy, Josh Payne, John Goddard, Mike Cestor, Giuseppe Sole (Anthony McNamee 77), Scott Rendell
Unused Subs: Andy Little, Adam Brice, Niall Wright
Goal: Johnson 72
Booked: Betsy 21, Newton 90
Aldershot Town: Glenn Morris, Anthony Tonkin, Mark Phillips, Joe Oastler, Chris Barker, Martin Rowlands (Jordan Roberts 46), Emmanuel Oyeleke, Craig Stanley, Mark Molesley, Brett Williams (Bradley Bubb 79), Josh Scott
Unused Subs: Luke Williams, Adam Mekki, Dan Butler
Goals: Williams 65, Molesley 83
Booked: Williams 35, Stanley 42, Molesley 45, Scott 90
Sponsor's MOTM: Brett Johnson – scored Woking’s goal and battled bravely at the back, making several vital interventions.