Whites worsen Woking's woes
9:07am, Sun 6th Mar 2016
Woking 0 Dover Athletic 1
March 3rd 2016
Vanarama National League
It was ironic for home supporters that the only goal of the game should come from ex-Cards midfielder Jack Parkinson, whose glancing header ten minutes before half time was enough to settle this encounter on a cold, early Spring day at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.
There were some bright spells throughout the game for the Cards with John Goddard providing a constant threat, but had it not been for Jake Cole making some miraculous saves, Dover might have been home and dry before the break. An improved second half showing from the home side, however, was unable to salvage a point from the encounter.
The first half was initially a cagey affair with neither side really pushing on to take control of the match.
Goddard sparked the game into life on the fifteen minute mark, breaking free of his marker, evading two tackles and bursting into the box, before seeing his low effort turned behind for a corner.
But Dover soon began to work the ball quickly through the centre of the park with Parkinson and Stefan Payne combining well to create a succession of chances.
The game became very open with several forceful challenges leading to penalty appeals from both sides, none of which were upheld by referee John Brooks.
The referee did however award a free kick to Dover shortly after the half-hour mark just outside the Woking box when Joe Robinson was adjudged to have fouled Ricky Modeste, who had been creating havoc down the wing. Modeste brushed himself off before lofting the free kick into the box, the ball pinging around the area before Woking old boy Parkinson leapt highest to head the ball low into the corner of the net for what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
The visitors might have extended their lead before the break had it not been for the lightning reactions of Cole. One save was particularly noteworthy as the Woking 'keeper made a miraculous save to keep out Dover captain Nick Deverdics' blockbuster from thirty-five yards.
Half time: Woking 0 Dover Athletic 1
The second half started much like the first, with very few opportunities created for either side, and once again it was Goddard who looked the most dangerous for the home team.
Despite the Cards now starting to keep possession of the ball much better, Dover still looked dangerous on the break.
Twice in as many minutes Cole once again came to the rescue, first blocking a point blank header from Modeste, before racing off his line to punch clear a cross under pressure from Liam Bellamy.
Keiran Murtagh then shot narrowly wide of a post before the final ten minutes of the game saw the home side come close to netting an equaliser on a couple of occasions. Firstly, Goddard broke free in the box yet again, before seeing his shot blocked on the line. Unfortunately, there was little Joey Jones could do as the resulting deflection hit him in the face and sailed over the bar from a few yards out.
Then, in the dying moments of the game Chris Arthur won a corner and Cole raced up to add his presence in the box. The ball skimmed the head of the Woking stopper before substitute Giuseppe Sole nodded goalwards, only for Deverdics to make a desperate goal-line clearance.
Manager Garry Hill was fairly upbeat after the match, having no complaints about the effort and commitment of his players. He acknowledged that form and results had been poor recently and that the team was low in confidence, although he had been encouraged the longer the second half of the game had gone on.
The result sees the Cards slip down the table to eleventh place, but with still ten games to go and sitting nine points off of the playoff spots, there is still time to fight for at least a place in the top half of the table.
Next up is a tough away game on Tuesday night against promotion hopefuls Eastleigh, who themselves are on a run of four defeats in the league.
But, if the team are to put a stop to their unfortunate run of results they will be looking to the shot-stopping ability of Cole and new England C international Goddard maintaining his good form, coupled with some assistance from elsewhere in the team.
Woking: Jake Cole, Chris Arthur, Mark Ricketts (c), Joey Jones, Keiran Murtagh, John Goddard, Joe Quigley (Giuseppe Sole 62), Daniel Carr (Jake Caprice 62), Cameron Norman (Alex Smith 82), Joe Robinson, Matt Butcher
Unused subs: Godfrey Poku, Nick Hamann
Booked: Chris Arthur 42, Mark Ricketts 74
Dover: Mitchell Walker, Sam Magri, Sean Raggett, Richard Orlu, Ricky Modeste, Liam Bellamy, Ricky Miller (Harry Crawford 87), Tyrone Sterling, Nick Deverdics (c), Jack Parkinson, Stefan Payne
Unused subs: Chris Kinnear jnr, Nany Diallo, Mitchell Pinnock, Tyrone Marsh
Goal: Jack Parkinson 34
Booked: Sam Magri 76
Man of the Match as selected by match sponsors Menzies: Jake Cole