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Holman at the double as Cards get back to winning ways

Malcolm Wyatt
10:19am, Sun 11th Oct 2015
FC Halifax Town 0 Woking 3
The Vanarama National League
10th October 2015

Two strikes from Dan Holman, sandwiched around a mighty free-kick from an equally-impressive John Goddard, saw Garry Hill’s Woking break a dismal run of four straight losses on Saturday.

Holman put the Cards ahead in the 11th minute, setting the tone for an encouraging 45 minutes in which the sole concern was that the visitors only finished the half one goal to the good.

But this performance will have done the Surrey side's confidence levels wonders, and Goddard doubled the lead on 58 minutes before Holman put the game to bed with his second two minutes later.

Woking were soon camped in the home half, with Holman a threat in the middle and a promising early build-up leading to a Jake Caprice centre which was just too strong for Keiran Murtagh.

The first of many roving runs from Goddard followed, Chris Arthur – back in the starting line-up after his hamstring injury – initially playing forward, but with Woking unable to take advantage of Goddard’s resultant corner.

Goddard caused flutters again a minute later, and from his next left-wing corner Brian Saah was unlucky, his header just off target.

When Halifax – beaten 7-1 by Cheltenham last weekend at The Shay - did finally push up, Terell Thomas, whose loan from Charlton had been newly extended, looked assured at the back and headed away the next two hopeful deliveries.

Then came Holman’s opener, a move started by Joey Jones – another Cards player full of invention and running on the day – leading to a Kadell Daniel run and a crisp cross which left the Colchester loanee with time and space to coolly finish, giving home keeper Matt Glennon little chance.

While Halifax struggled to find their feet - failing to show the form that saw them win 3-1 at Altrincham in midweek - the Cards’ confidence grew, a foul on Holman leading to a 30-yard Goddard free-kick. It proved similar to that from which he scored at Guiseley four weeks before, but this time 37-year-old birthday boy Glennon parried it away then just beat Daniel to the rebound.

As the pressure continued, the Shaymen looked increasingly fragile, and a powerful shot by Murtagh had to be punched away, the same inspirational midfielder soon in again, although this time Julian Banton cleared.

Daniel, a livewire in Woking’s attacks, fired over from a further free-kick, the Cards enjoying what was arguably their most one-sided half of the season so far.

Ex-Oldham boss Darren Kelly clearly has his work cut out at The Shay, his team seeming to lack confidence all over the pitch, despite the sterling efforts of Banton and Kingsley James on the day.

Shaun Tuton managed a shot on goal, but it was no problem for Jake Cole, who was better tested by a Saah back-header soon after.

A further free-kick followed as Jones was fouled on the move, 35 yards out, the resultant set-piece played in to Holman, whose shot was blocked.

Murtagh then won a corner on the left, Goddard and Jones combining before the former tested Glennon with a stinging finish the veteran could only gather at the second attempt.

A promising home break followed, but again the Cards proved solid at the back, despite a worrying moment when captain Mark Ricketts received treatment for a knock.

Home debutant Kieran Sadler was the first to properly concern Cole, the Eire Under-21 international – formerly with West Ham – unleashing from distance , Cole getting to it but the ball rebounding to Jordan Burrow, who should have done better from close range.

Woking were quickly on the attack again, great work by Arthur down the left and Holman in the middle leading to another Goddard corner that James had to head away.

Holman then saw his drilled effort go just wide after a deflection, following neat work by Murtagh, Caprice and Daniel on the right, while after a foul on Daniel, the next lofted free-kick again caused concern.

Halifax were faster on the break now, but still Cole and his defence were unmoved, Tuton’s promising run on goal halted by Saah.

Holman and Goddard then both had half-chances, while from a Daniel right-wing corner James again came to Halifax’s rescue. And after Thomas saw off Hamza Bencherif in the following home break, the ref blew for the interval.

Half-time: FC Halifax Town 0 Woking 1

Kelly‘s half-time team-talk clearly led to a more combative approach from the hosts, but the Cards quickly resettled and were soon back on top, Daniel testing home captain Glennon with a powerful effort, Murtagh taking a tad too long to react to the rebound.

Twice Caprice lofted promising deliveries into the danger zone, Goddard not far off from the second, while Holman’s next effort after a Daniel lay-off was easy pickings for the keeper.

As the Shaymen countered, Scott McManus struck just over, the ball deflected behind for a corner, from which Bencherif was unable to direct his header on target.

Ricketts looked back to his best for much of the afternoon, and was nearly on the scoresheet with a mighty effort from distance as the visitors pushed up again, Glennon tipping over this time.

And then, after good work by Daniel and Murtagh, Goddard’s next free-kick found its way around the wall and into the corner, Glennon again reduced to spectator status.

Goddard and Daniel remained a threat with their pace, and pretty soon the Cards had their third, Holman recovering from a slip to get up - his back to goal - and beat Daniel to a loose ball, turning and firing home from all of 25 yards, Glennon again left flat-footed.

Halifax still huffed and puffed, carrying gamely on, but Thomas denied James while Jones headed away from a corner after Matthew Brown’s effort was put into the side-netting.

Holman, chasing that hat-trick, was in on goal again, but this time Glennon pulled off a fine save, Giuseppe Sole soon replacing the Woking striker.

Bencherif headed just wide from a corner, while sub Connor Hughes did the same, while at the other end Jones and Goddard continued to frustrate the home defence, displaying the invention the hosts so badly needed.

Nice touches from Thomas and Caprice quelled the next attacks before they had a chance to develop, the Cards happy enough to just live off the odd loose ball, their midfield dominance a major factor.

Sole was nearly in from a late Daniel cross but was deemed offside, while the determined James gave the crowd something to cheer with a mighty run before being blocked at close quarters, the home fans soon drifting out.

There was still time for Daniel to break up one more home move, while late sub Jimmy Keohane and Goddard carved out one final Woking opening, the latter’s effort stopped by Glennon on a birthday he’d probably much rather forget, the Cards moving up to 12th place and their hosts – after a 10th defeat of the season – now second from bottom.

FC Halifax Town: Matt Glennon ©, James Bolton, Matthew Brown, Julian Banton, Kingsley James, Hamza Bencherif (Josh Macdonald 87), Shaun Tuton (Connor Hughes 54), Jordan Burrow, Kevin Roberts, Scott McManus (CJ Hamilton 54), Kieran Sadler

Subs not used: Jordan Porter, David Brooks

Cautions: none

Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice (Ben Pattie 89), Chris Arthur, Mark Ricketts © (Godfrey Poku 84), Brian Saah, Terell Thomas, Keiran Murtagh (Jimmy Keohane 87),Joey Jones, John Goddard, Kadell Daniel, Dan Holman (Giuseppe Sole 68)

Subs not used: Nick Hamann, Bruno Andrade

Goals: Dan Holman (11, 60), John Goddard (58)

Cautions: none

Attendance: 1,155

My MOTM: Dan Holman. There were great performances all over the pitch, with Kadell Daniel, John Goddard and Terell Thomas pushing him close, but Dan’s opener put the Cards on the way to victory, and a cracking second – Woking’s third - put the game to bed.

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