Holman the Hero as Cards cruise to second victory
7:28pm, Sat 15th Aug 2015
Woking 2 Altrincham 0
The Vanarama National League
15th August 2015
Woking made it two wins on the bounce thanks to a man-of-the-match performance from new loan signing Dan Holman, who had a hand in Giuseppe Soleâ€™s opener and sealed the victory against Altrincham with a debut goal.
Holman, whose loan from Colchester United had only been announced on the morning of the game, had instant impact in a dream debut which saw Woking fight off a spirited Altrincham side to record their second 2-0 home victory in the space of four days.
The 25-year-oldâ€™s first half long range effort on 32 minutes was spilled by Altrincham goalkeeper Stuart Coburn, allowing Sole to prod home for his first goal of the season. In the second half, Holman impressively linked up with the Woking midfield and grabbed his debut goal with 15 minutes remaining, firing low into the bottom right corner after clever interplay between substitutes Bruno Andrade and Kadell Daniel.
Despite a fightback from the away side, which saw James Lawrie hit the post and a late Damian Reeves effort cleared off the line by Brian Saah, the Cards looked largely untroubled as centre back pairing of Ismail Yakubu and Saah continued to flourish.
Woking will now look to make it three wins in a row when they travel to former League club Torquay United on Tuesday night and will be in a buoyant mood after recovering from the disappointment of losing star striker Scott Rendell to a season-ending knee injury on the opening day against Tranmere Rovers.
The home side started on the front foot with new signing Holman slotting straight into the starting line-up in attack, replacing Daniel, with Sole operating in a wide right position and John Goddard cutting in from the left.
Injured striker Rendell received a warm welcome from the crowd as he watched on from the dugout just a week after suffering his knee injury the previous week.
The home side began brightly with some excellent link-up play between the midfield and new man Holman. Sole had an early effort blocked by Altrincham defender Adam Griffin while at the other end centre back pairing Yakubu and Saah snuffed out any attacks and looked comfortable in front of Jake Cole.
After a quarter of an hour, Woking had the first good chance when Keiran Murtagh worked himself a yard of space on the edge of the box, shaped up to shoot but passed to Sole who was just to the right of the penalty spot, but his shot was again blocked by Griffin.
The Robins reacted strongly thanks to some trickery on the wing by Jordan Sinnott, who slalomed into the penalty box to tee up Michael Rankine but his first touch was poor, which enabled Murtagh to get in a challenge and clear the danger.
Despite being at the club less than 24 hours, Holman immediately showed his class by combining with his new team-mates as Wokingâ€™s frontline began to sustain some pressure on Altrincham.
Just past the half-hour mark, the Colchester United loanee unleashed a fierce strike 25 yards out which caught the goalkeeper Coburn off guard and he could only palm the ball towards the onrushing Sole, who calmly slotted the ball into the net for his first goal of the season.
Sole wheeled away to the Cards' technical area to celebrate with the injured Rendell and the pair were duly mobbed by their team mates.
The goal was the least Woking deserved approaching the interval as Sole once again went close as he attempted to steer in a dangerous cross from the left flank.
Half-time: Woking 1 Altrincham 0
After a sluggish start to the second half, the Cards soon picked up where they had left off and hunted a second goal to provide some breathing space.
Seven minutes into the second period the tireless Chris Arthur tore down the left flank and pulled the ball back to Holman, who went agonisingly close to a debut strike. After shifting the ball from his left foot and on to his right, the striker aimed to slot the ball into the right-hand corner but misjudged his angles and the ball drifted wide.
The away side, who were facing a third defeat in their opening trio of league games, made a substitution to refresh their attacking options with former Cards player George Bowerman replaced by Nicholas Clee and they slowly grew into the game.
Lawrie wriggled free of Woking captain Mark Ricketts 25 yards out and hit a powerful dipping effort which Cole palmed away at full stretch to concede a corner.
Altrinchamâ€™s attacks sparked Woking back into action and Holman made up for his earlier miss with a similar effort to score on his Cards' debut.
Clever work from substitutes Andrade and Daniel saw a quick switch of play stretch the away side out of position, which provided Holman the time to shift the ball on to his right foot and he made no mistake by driving a powerful shot in from 12 yards out.
With the two-goal cushion, Woking eased off slightly and were given a fright when Simon Richmon blasted an effort from the edge of the penalty box which had Cole beaten but the ball cannoned off the left-hand post and away to safety. Substitute Damian Reeves then stabbed an effort past Cole but Saah maintained his sideâ€™s clean sheet with an excellent goal line clearance.
After Wokingâ€™s opening three games, manager Garry Hill will be satisfied with his teamâ€™s results, taking six points from a possible nine while conceding just one goal, and in the shape of new loan signing Holman, he may have found vital cover for the injured Rendell.
Woking: Jake Cole, Chris Arthur, Brian Saah, Ismail Yakubu, Jake Caprice, John Goddard (Godfrey Poku 86), Joey Jones (Bruno Andrade 63), Mark Ricketts (c), Keiran Murtagh, Giuseppe Sole (Kadell Daniel 63), Dan Holman
Unused subs: Nick Hamman, Adam Newton
Goals: Sole (32), Holman (75)
Cautioned: Andrade, Ricketts
Altrincham: Stuart Coburn, Adam Griffin, Thomas Marshall, Scott Leather, Shaun Densmore, Jake Moult, Simon Richmon, James Lawrie, Jordan Sinnott, George Bowerman (Nicholas Clee 61), Michael Rankine (Damian Reeves 63)
Unused subs: Anthony Griffith, Tim Deasy, Josh Oâ€™Keefe
Cautioned: Marshall, Leather, Sinnott
Sponsorsâ€™ Man of the Match: Dan Holman â€“ a dream debut for the striker, who had a hand in Soleâ€™s opener and also grabbed himself a goal. Excellent link-up play and was a pain in Altrinchamâ€™s side all afternoon.