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Jones' strike not enough as Cards slip up in stormy Cumbria

Malcolm Wyatt
10:02am, Sun 29th Nov 2015
Barrow 2 Woking 1
The Vanarama National League
November 28th 2015

On a wet, windy and wintry afternoon at the end of the longest cul-de-sac in England, hosts Barrow left Woking with nowhere to go on Saturday, unable to capitalise on a dominant period at Holker Street.

Garry Hill's side showed plenty of fight, but were ultimately undone by a second-half decider from Steve Williams, the former Bradford City and Inverness Caledonian Thistle defender, who was on hand to ultimately decide this end-to-end encounter 17 minutes from time.

There were elements of galvanisation for a home team buoyed by the arrival of former Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox, in charge for the first time after the departure of last term’s National League North title-winner Darren Edmondson. But the Cards should have at least grabbed a point for their toils, and I’m sure that 300-mile journey home would have dragged accordingly.

The Surrey visitors got off on the wrong foot, Andy Cook putting the Bluebirds ahead within four minutes, Woking failing to deal with Dave Symington's cross from the right and Cook holding off his marker to nod down and beyond Jake Cole for his 13th league strike of the season.

Otis Khan then struck powerfully but wide from David Mellor’s lay-off as the hosts continued to pose a threat, while at the other end the lively John Goddard was looking sharp early on but couldn’t play in heavily-marked striker Joe Quigley, Barrow holding firm at the back.

Brian Saah held his nerve to deny debutant loanee Liam Hearn, who was with Cox at Mansfield, while a wild effort by Paddy Lacey failed to trouble Cole. And after home keeper Joel Dixon collected at the second attempt from the industrious Bruno Andrade (pictured), Joey Jones had to cut out a cross at the other end.

Mellor unleashed a mighty left-foot volley from 25 yards that rattled the crossbar, the home side seemingly brimming with confidence, but Andrade and Dan Holman gave Dixon and his defence a scare too, looking to make the most of a deep launch from Cameron Norman.

In another promising Cards move, Goddard couldn’t quite find the target from a searching Andrade cross, while Williams headed away Andrade’s next centre, this time from the opposite flank.

Andy Haworth was next to let loose for Cox’s largely-inherited outfit, but again Cole could rest easy, with the finishing wayward, the hosts struggling to make the most of a strong Cumbrian wind.

Combative Cards skipper Mark Ricketts did well to win out in midfield and feed Quigley, but again the Bluebirds looked rigid at the back and the chance was gone, the assured Saah then clearing the final hopeful home cross of the half.

Half-time: Barrow 1 Woking 0

The visitors had plenty to mull over at the break and came out determined to make the most of the strong wind now in their favour, Holman and Andrade soon stretching the home defence. The former struck wide before the latter won a free-kick on the right, from which Jones put the Cards level in the 48th minute, his glancing header wrong-footing Dixon and finding the bottom corner.

Barrow looked to hit straight back, but Jones and Andrade had vital touches from a home free-kick and the Cards took the initiative from there - Andrade drilling wide before a marauding run from Jones led to a further set-piece, from which sub Kadell Daniel, Quigley’s replacement, bent the ball around the wall but Dixon gathered.

The Bluebirds keeper made an important save to deny Andrade again, with Daniel lurking, but Woking were soon in trouble at the other end, Cole having to stop Hearn at point-blank range. A Khan cross was then cleared as Barrow pushed up again, and moments later Woking looked to be undone - the keeper well beaten - but Cook struck Cole’s right post.

Dixon was quick off his line to stop a swift counter-attack, second sub Jimmy Keohane’s pace key as he fed Holman, whose shot was blocked. Yet a spell of home pressure followed, Jones having to halt Khan, with Cole punching away the resultant corner, while Ricketts denied Cook.

Jones made the next intervention too - stopping Lincoln City loanee Hearn just outside the penalty area - but won a yellow card for his trouble. And from Khan’s set-piece Williams found the space to nod home, Cole stranded when it mattered.

Woking were far from done, and Keohane was unlucky with a 30-yard effort, Ricketts firing the follow-up wide, while as Barrow hit back Cole comfortably collected a Hearn cross.

Keohane had another shot blocked, while a mighty effort from Goddard was brilliantly held by Dixon, but the Cards looked susceptible on the break, Norman having to work hard at the heart of the resistance.

As Woking pushed up again, Holman drew his marker before creating a decent chance, again stopped by Dixon. The Cards’ final throw of the dice then saw Norman replaced by Jake Caprice.

After Jones nodded back to Cole, the Woking 'keeper launched a further visitors’ attack which resulted in a corner, but the flag was eventually raised for offside against Saah.

Andrade then won another corner, but it was delayed while sub Steve Rigg was carried off injured at the other end - six minutes into his debut following a loan move from Carlisle United. And when the action did resume, Dixon had no problem with Goddard’s finish.

There was genuine hope for the visitors as the fourth official indicated six extra minutes, but the Cards’ late show was ultimately confined to a hastily-taken effort from Goddard following a searching Caprice delivery, the visitors coming no closer from there to end a disappointing afternoon.

Barrow: Joel Dixon, Dave Symington, Nick Wilmer-Anderton, Simon Grand ©, Steve Williams, Paddy Lacey, David Mellor, Andy Haworth (Dan Pilkington 46), Andy Cook, Liam Hearn (Steve Rigg 80, then Alex-Ray Harvey 87), Otis Khan

Unused subs: Aaran Taylor, Ryan O’Reilly

Goals: Cook 4, Williams 73

Woking: Jake Cole, Chris Arthur, Mark Ricketts (c), Brian Saah, Joey Jones, John Goddard, Matt Robinson (Jimmy Keohane 62), Bruno Andrade, Joe Quigley (Kadell Daniel 55), Dan Holman, Cameron Norman (Jake Caprice 82)

Unused subs: Nick Hamman, Terrell Thomas

Goal: Jones 48

Bookings: Jones 72, Keohane 89

Attendance: 1,115

My MOTM: Bruno Andrade: while recent revelation Joey Jones pushed him close, Bruno also put in an inspirational shift in each half on a difficult day for flowing football when there were few gaps to exploit, his work rate vastly improved of late.

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