Woking News & Mail

Cards hit Dover for six

Brian Caffarey
9:55pm, Mon 25th Aug 2014
Woking 6 Dover Athletic 1
25 August 2014

The trouncing that Woking had threatened – but failed to produce – in their previous games this season finally came to pass at a soggy Kingfield this afternoon, though with help from some hapless Dover defending. Scott Rendell grabbed four goals and Gez Sole, reinstated as his strike partner, netted two as the outfield changes Garry Hill made from Saturday’s draw at Welling United proved to be typically astute.

On a predictably wet and miserable August Bank Holiday Monday afternoon, the Cards lined up with Jake Cole, making his debut in goal in place of Aaron Howe; a back three of James Clarke, Mark Ricketts and Joe McNerney; a midfield of Adam Newton on the right, Josh Payne, Keiran Murtagh and Chris Arthur, rampaging down the left flank; plus Dean Morgan, revelling in ‘the hole’ behind the front two of Rendell and Sole. Joey Jones and Theo Lewis dropped to the bench, along with Howe, while John Goddard was unavailable through injury.

As in all the previous games, the Cards were quickly on the offensive, with Morgan firing in a superb cross, which, somehow, none of his team mates managed to prod home. But it was Dover who nearly produced first blood in the 5th minute when a headed ‘goal’ was disallowed for a foul. There was another nervous moment for Cole as he dropped the ball a minute later but the Dover attacker had rightly been penalised for clattering into him.

A lively encounter then saw Newton go flying in the area as he chased a fine Payne ball inside the full back, with optimistic appeals for a penalty probably rightly being ignored. Two Woking corners followed in quick succession. The second, whipped in by Payne, was flicked on towards the goal by Rendell, with Sole applying a finishing touch (with his head again!) to deflect it past Mitch Walker in the Whites’ goal for a 10th-minute lead.

Having at last secured the early goal which they had failed to achieve in previous games, the Cards now pressed forward with even greater confidence. McNerney headed over and Walker saved after Orlu’s clearance cannoned off Sole.

But for all their fluency going forward, the Cards looked vulnerable at the back, struggling in particular to cope with Craig Stone’s long throws into the box, aimed at the towering Mambo and Elder.

A lovely quick break saw Newton play a beautifully measured through ball into Sole’s path but the ball skidded off him to Walker. But an even better move two minutes later saw Newton and Murtagh combine down the right flank, with Newton putting in a fine cross to the near post, where a determined Sole arrived first to fire the ball towards the opposite side of the goal to make it 2-0 with only 20 minutes gone.

Five minutes later it got even better for Cards fans. Morgan, out left, teasingly took his time to pick a pass into the area. Sole back-heeled deftly, Murtagh slipped but recovered sufficiently to poke the ball to Rendell, who side-footed it expertly just inside the post. 3-0.

Woking’s defensive uncertainty resurfaced as defenders failed to clear. Cole saved well and Clarke did even better to block the effort from the rebound. The Cards had another scare shortly afterwards after Clarke had lost possession, Chris Kinnear Jnr heading just wide.

The goal that Dover had threatened followed a minute later. Stefan Payne broke through a Clarke tackle and fired home, with the ball taking a deflection off Ricketts to confuse Cole.

Further Dover pressure briefly followed as more high balls were directed into the box but the home defence survived and, as half-time approached, the Cards regained their attacking momentum. Arthur had a header saved from a pinpoint Sole cross. Then the rejuvenated Woking striker spurned a great chance to grab a hat-trick. Rendell cleverly cushioned a pass to him but, with much of the goal to aim at, Sole steered the ball just wide of the far post.

Half-time: Woking 3 Dover Athletic 1

While the Cards had clearly been much the superior side, there was a worry that if Dover could get another goal back, the game might turn into a dog-fight, especially given the Whites’ aerial presence.

Elder’s back header was blocked before the powerful Arthur put Woking on the attack again, followed by another enterprising move which ended with Walker just foiling Newton after Rendell had picked out his run towards the far post.

But the shaky Dover defence cracked again in the 52nd minute as Sole wriggled past a couple of defenders in the box before squaring to Rendell, who gleefully fired home for his second goal and a 4-1 lead for the Cards.

Dover suffered their second disallowed ‘goal’ of the game after the impressive Christian Nanetti – the one bright star in Dover’s firmament on what was otherwise a thoroughly miserable afternoon for the Whites – curled over a free-kick which Elder headed in, but the referee had already blown his whistle for an infringement.

Dover’s afternoon became even worse as Rendell seized on a long ball on the edge of the box. He attempted to chip the ball through but it struck the unfortunate Sterling’s hand, with the referee immediately signalling a penalty – which Rendell duly despatched with aplomb to make it 5-1 to the Cards with 60 minutes on the clock.

Not surprisingly, the Whites by now looked a well-beaten side, and Woking were largely able to pass the ball around with ease. Joey Jones and Theo Lewis came on for James Clarke and Josh Payne. Jake Cole then appeared to twist his ankle, necessitating Aaron Howe’s introduction.

Rendell grabbed his fourth goal on 72 minutes to make it 6-1 to the Cards. Morgan slipped a ball through the back line to him and the Cards’ top scorer fired home, left-footed, in a clinical strike.

With no great urgency, the Cards continued to fashion some enterprising attacking moves. Newton nearly reached a superb floated cross from Morgan, whilst Murtagh, with a ridiculous amount of time from a short corner routine, side-footed just wide. Sole drove forward into the box in search of his own hat-trick but was just crowded out.

Lewis provided Dover with a chance to reduce the deficit with a badly-judged back pass. Howe and Ricketts did enough to delay substitute Jake Reid, enabling McNerney to head the eventual strike off the goal-line.

With the rain becoming more insistent again, the game wound down as five minutes of added time were played – mainly the result of the delay while Howe replaced Cole.

Garry Hill will no doubt be very pleased with the impact of the changes he made following Saturday’s game. Rendell and Sole combined well up front. Morgan looked much happier behind the front two, able to face, and take on, defenders and use his undoubted skill to create openings for his team mates. Murtagh looked more like the creative force of old, whilst Newton excelled again, taking up intelligent positions out wide on the right. Arthur, playing further forward, was able to demonstrate his ability to run powerfully down the left flank and to put in dangerous crosses or win corners.

So, this was a very pleasing display by Garry Hill’s side but they will need to be wary of over-confidence: it’s very unlikely that Wrexham next Saturday will be as accommodating as Dover were today.

Woking: Jake Cole (Aaron Howe 66), James Clarke (Joey Jones 62), Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Adam Newton, Josh Payne (Theo Lewis 62), Keiran Murtagh, Chris Arthur, Dean Morgan, Scott Rendell, Giuseppe Sole

Unused subs: John Nutter, Nick Arnold

Goals: Scott Rendell 25, 52, 60 (pen), 72 ; Giuseppe Sole 10, 20

Booked: Josh Payne

Dover Athletic: Mitch Walker, Craig Stone, Chris Kinnear Jnr, Richard Orlu, Nathan Elder (Jake Reid 77), Matt Lock (Tom Murphy 67), Stefan Payne, Tyrone Sterling, Yado Mambo, Tom Wynter (Nick Deverdics 31), Christian Nanetti

Unused subs: Barry Cogan, Brendan Owusu-Ansah

Goal: Stefan Payne 30

My MOTM: Scott Rendell (pictured)

Attendance: 1454

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