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Jones' late strike a mere consolation in Macclesfield reverse

Malcolm Wyatt - 6th September 2015

Jones' late strike a mere consolation in Macclesfield reverse Macclesfield Town 2 Woking 1

The Vanarama National League

September 5th 2015

A mighty late strike from Joey Jones wasn’t enough for Woking at the Moss Rose, as Garry Hill’s visitors slipped to their first league defeat since the opening day of the season.

Like that trip to Tranmere, it came down to a one-goal margin, and in the dying stages it seemed like Woking might still get something out of this often absorbing contest.

But a home win was the right result, the more inventive Cheshire hosts deserving all three points on a day when the Cards, who remain third in the table, were often second-best.

That is not to belittle the away side, who might just have nicked a draw. But it was a little too much to expect this patched-together collective – with so many key absences - to stretch an impressive six-game unbeaten run.

Macclesfield is not a happy hunting ground for Hill, Woking’s goalless draw in their first away meeting back in non-league’s top flight followed by two slim defeats before this encounter. But the visitors started brightly enough, an early spell of possession culminating in a Dan Holman cross which no one could quite get on the end of.

The Silkmen soon reciprocated, with Kristian Dennis - who bagged a brace in a commendable 2-0 win at Grimsby the previous weekend - at the heart of the home attack. A weightier, more driven midfield soon had Woking's formation stretched, and keeper Jake Cole had to react quickly to deny one effort, Dennis putting the follow-up into the side-netting.

Bruno Andrade was almost in at the back post after a searching cross from Kadell Daniel on the right, former Cards' keeper Shwan Jalal initially struggling to collect. Yet John Askey's hosts countered, Woking exposed, Cole denying Dennis at close quarters before Chris Holroyd misread the next neat delivery into the box.

Danny Rowe was proving a live-wire on the left, the Cards jittery and Macclesfield soon making capital, a Holroyd delivery not properly dealt with by Cole and Dennis the menace on hand to finish, Woking appeals for an infringement ignored.

The Cards made more of an impression from there, Andrade shooting from distance and winning a corner. And while Jalal got to Daniel's set-piece, the former Charlton midfielder centred again and on-loan Addicks' defender Terell Thomas was not far off with a powerful header from the edge of the penalty area.

The visitors’ defending was more convincing after another Rowe left-wing break caused problems, a decent counter-attack instigated by John Goddard’s launched pass, although on-loan striker Holman was unable to wrong-foot Jalal with his finish.

Paul Lewis was next to dazzle for the Silkmen, turning his marker before a fine volley that wasn't far off target. At the other end, Daniel finished poorly from way out, with better options around, while in the following attack Daniel and Andrade traded passes as Woking pushed again on the left, but without too much of a threat for the home defence.

As Macclesfield countered, Dennis fed Rowe, who took his time before firing on goal, Cole doing well to get down and save, with no one able to turn home the deflection. Woking pushed up again, with Holman unlucky not to get a better finish after a lay-off from Keiran Murtagh, while a deep Daniel free-kick from the right was dealt with by Jalal, and Holman was offside after a through-ball from Chris Arthur.

The visitors' defence then closed out a five-man Macc attack, while as Rowe and Dennis joined forces to win a corner, Paul Turnbull's centre found Tony Diagne for a free header, Cole making a superb one-handed save, turning around the post.

The danger wasn't over, but defender Neill Byrne flashed a header across the area that no one could reach, Woking eventually clearing, while Thomas headed away from Lewis after a further home break.

As another visitors’ midfield move broke down, the hosts sprung forward and won a free-kick just outside the area, the resultant strike from Turnbull – who scored the winner in last term’s 2-1 Macc win - beating the Woking wall but going just wide.

Half-time: Macclesfield Town 1 Woking 0

Woking switched formations at the break, skipper Murtagh – suffering a stomach injury – replaced by fellow midfielder Jimmy Keohane. Yet while there was an early visitors’ corner, Macc made the first real impression, Cole stopping a promising volley from Dennis, despite the in-form striker timing his finish well.

Kahane fed Daniel in the next attack, Woking more fluent on the offensive now, but he finally lost out, with Jake Caprice - outside him - perhaps a better option, while Joey Jones couldn't find a way through in the following right-wing raid.

It was a promising period, and from Woking's second corner of the half, Goddard's set-piece fell to Jones, who was twice blocked, Caprice also failing to find a gap as the hosts closed the Cards out. Meanwhile, Goddard drilled at Jalal then felt aggrieved at a perceived foul just outside the penalty box, the ref unmoved again.

Cole was again on hand to paw away a fine Rowe danger-ball, but pretty soon Macc had a killer second goal, just after another Dennis effort was kept out by Cole. Woking never properly cleared, a further lapse of composure leading to a Holroyd ball back in, tucked home from a few yards out by Neill Byrne on 62 minutes.

Woking fought on, a curling Goddard effort just over from a free-kick before the same man struck on the volley. But Jalal was hardly troubled, and Woking still had plenty to do. Daniel and Goddard worked well together to set up Jones next, but his effort was stopped, Daniel soon making way for Giuseppe Sole while Goddard was replaced by Ben Pattie.

The Cards finally had the ball in the net, Holman finishing well after good work by Pattie in the area, but the linesman’s flag was already up. Undeterred, Holman again showed promise as he strode forward, playing in Andrade, only for the Portuguese midfielder to lose possession in a promising position.

The roving Arthur remained an inspiration, and did well to block from Andy Hills at the other end, and while time was running away, Woking soon had their lifeline, Jones giving Jalal no chance in the 86th minute, his terrific 20-yard strike following good work by Andrade on the right and Keohane in the centre, playing it back to the ex-Yeovil midfielder.

The Cards had added hope, but Macclesfield took their time on the ball, three added minutes coming to nothing. A late Cole free-kick from halfway went behind for a goal-kick, while Caprice's final delivery was plucked out of the air by Jalal, the home contingent soon celebrating back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice, Chris Arthur, Terell Thomas, Brian Saah, Joey Jones, Keiran Murtagh (Jimmy Keohane 46), John Goddard (Ben Pattie 79), Kadell Daniel (Giuseppe Sole 74), Bruno Andrade, Dan Holman.

Subs not used: Godfrey Poku, Nick Hamann

No Bookings

Macclesfield: Shwan Jalal, Andy Halls, Neill Byrne, George Pilkington, Paul Turnbull, Paul Lewis, Chris Holroyd, Danny Rowe, Kristian Dennis, Tony Diagne, Danny Whittaker.

Subs not used: Ritchie Branagan, Theo Bailey-Jones, Dan Cowan, Danny Whitehead, David Fitzpatrick.

Booking: Tony Diagne

Attendance: 1,285 (83 from Woking)

My MOTM: Jake Cole – while arguably at fault for the opener, the Woking 'keeper kept us in the game for longer than we might have hoped.
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