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Goddard's glorious strike sends Cards into FA Trophy 3rd Round

Haydn Cobb
9:57am, Wed 14th Jan 2015
Woking 2 Oxford City 1
FA Trophy 2nd Round Replay
13th January 2015

Woking came from behind to progress into the third round of the FA Trophy thanks to a thunderous 25-yard strike from John Goddard.

Josh Payne’s curling free-kick pulled the Cards level in the 34th minute after Oxford City defender Alejandro Adrian Santiago was given a straight red card for a pull-back on Dean Morgan.

The Conference North side shocked Kingfield Stadium by taking a third-minute lead thanks to Greg Pearson’s close-range conversion which caught out the Woking defenders. The home side slowly got themselves back into the contest and the game’s direction was dramatically altered when referee Nigel Lugg sent off Santiago for denying a goal scoring opportunity and Payne converted the free-kick seconds later.

Woking will face Dover Athletic at home in the third round of the FA Trophy on Saturday 24th January.

After Garry Hill’s men had been pegged back from 2-0 up in Oxfordshire, the two sides faced each other on a chilly Tuesday night for their second round replay.

Woking got off to a horror start as Oxford City scored with their first attack of the match. The Cards' backline failed to react to a quick low cross to the front post and Pearson drilled home from six yards, giving Jake Cole no chance.

The home side finally got going after ten minutes of Oxford City domination, when Jack Marriott lashed narrowly over from the edge of the box. A long ball forward from Adam Newton was excellently controlled by Dean Morgan and he shifted it to Marriott on the left wing. The striker ran with menace at the City defence but his effort failed to test goalkeeper Salva De La Cruz.

The Cards started to grow into the game with Josh Payne and Kevin Betsy linking well in midfield. A cute chipped through ball from Marriott sent Betsy down the right flank and his cross was met well by Goddard, who headed just past the right-hand post.

The cup tie was turned on its head just past the half hour mark, however, when Santiago was given a straight red card for hauling back Morgan on the edge of the penalty box when he was through on goal. Despite the Spaniard’s protests, presumably on the grounds that he wasn't the 'last man', the referee wasn’t moved and the visitors' defender trudged off disconsolately.

Moments later from the resulting free-kick, midfielder Payne slotted a delicately weighted curling effort into the left-hand side of De La Cruz’s goal for the equaliser.

With the Conference North side a man down, Woking totally controlled the rest of the half and continued to test De La Cruz.

Joey Jones and Goddard tore through the right side of City’s defence, which had a Santiago-shaped hole in it, and the ball fell to Marriott on the edge of the six yard box. The young forward smashed a fierce effort towards goal but his shot was palmed away by the goalkeeper.

Half-time: Woking 1 Oxford City 1

The Cards picked up where they had left off in the second period as the opposition played with a deep defensive line and tried to get at Woking with counter-attacks.

Betsy drifted unmarked into a central position and cleverly threaded the ball through to Morgan, whose cross was hacked away by City’s captain Darren Pond.

The home fans’ anxiety slowly began to grow as the hour mark approached with Garry Hill’s men still hunting a second goal. Marriott had two glimpses of goal in quick succession but was bundled over by defenders on each occasion and Woking’s appeals for penalties were waved away by the referee.

Despite playing with a man down for nearly an hour, Oxford City had their chances for a second goal of their own. Declan Benjamin’s diagonal pass split the Cards' defence open but they were saved by the linesman’s offside flag.

De La Cruz continued to frustrate the home fans with a series of outstanding saves but he could do nothing about Goddard’s thunderbolt. In the 74th minute, the midfielder cut in from the left and unleased a 25-yard blast which rocketed into the top right-hand corner of the net.

Having finally taken the lead, Woking saw out the remaining quarter of an hour for a victory which even the most die-hard of Woking fans would admit was far from convincing.

The home side had made very hard work of this win against a plucky Oxford City side. The sending-off clearly made a big difference to the direction of the game with the visitors looking relatively comfortable at 1-0 up at the time. The Cards, nevertheless, eventually made the most of their numerical advantage to proceed to the last 16 of the competition. After the game, Garry Hill said that he was pleased with the result but desperately disappointed with the performance, stating that it was time for a shake-up at the Club and hinting at bringing in some new players and injecting some freshness into the changing room.

Woking: Jake Cole, Chris Arthur, Joe McNerney, James Clarke, Adam Newton, Joey Jones (Keiran Murtagh 74), John Goddard, Josh Payne, Kevin Betsy, Jack Marriott, Dean Morgan (Giuseppe Sole 74)

Unused substitutes: Andy Little, Mark Ricketts, John Nutter

Goals: Payne (34), Goddard (74)

Booked: Newton (63)

Oxford City: Salva De La Cruz; Declan Benjamin, Paul Stonehouse, Ader Del Alamo (Bidemi Afolabi 76), Darren Pond; Alejandro Adrian Santiago, Marlon Jackson, Lewis Wilson, Javier Rodriquez; Greg Pearson (Adi Yussuf 69), Tom Winters (Felipe Barcelos 63)

Unused substitutes: Mark Scott

Goals: Pearson (3)

Booked: Benjamin (75)

Sent Off: Santiago (33)

Attendance: 555

MOTM: John Goddard – a wonder-strike goal worthy of winning any game

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