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Cards fold to goal ace Holman

Ray Avards - 13th March 2016

Cards fold to goal ace Holman Cheltenham Town 4 Woking 0

March 12th 2016

Vanarama National League

Returning players and a more recognisable line-up could not turn the tide of Woking’s recent form. They fell to a sixth straight league defeat and are back into the bottom half of the table.

Woking’s bright start could not disguise their fragility at the back in a defence that has had more reshuffles than a minority government. Matt Robinson, Bruno Andrade, Jake Caprice, Chris Arthur and Joe Quigley came back in to start, displacing Cameron Norman, Joe Robinson, Godfrey Poku, Daniel Carr and the suspended Keiran Murtagh in a 4-4-2, the first three finding themselves on the bench. Bittersweet was the curse of the ex, more like the return of the hex, as Dan Holman took full advantage to score all four goals for the triumphant home side, a rapid brace in each half.

There was no hint of the outcome in the early exchanges. Matty Butcher scampered onto Chris Arthur’s pass, inside left channel, to float a left foot shoot narrowly over Wolves’ loanee keeper Jon Flatt’s crossbar. At the other end, Dan Holman was nearly on the end of Danny Wright’s flick. Joey Jones slipped half-way inside his half and only Arthur driving the loose ball away for a corner saved the Cards. For Woking, Bruno Andrade danced infield but shot well over from the penalty area edge.

Next, Asa Hall’s swinging shot had Jake Cole diving at full length but it was wide of his right upright. Holman then skied a right footer. Jones was closed down again, the Robins having done their homework on his skill out of defence, the breakthrough shut out at the expense of a corner.

Goddard wormed his way in superbly for the Cards and shot, but beyond the far post and the defence cleared the loose ball.

A debatable corner, with Jake Cole seeming to stop a loose ball off his own player right on the byline, was headed over by a free Cameron Burgess.

Giuseppe Sole then slipped twice in a moment in the opposition area, once on his own and next bringing down a defender and was lectured by the referee.

Hall’s shot was blocked by Caprice on the area edge. For the Cards, Goddard found space inside again and his right foot shot was tipped away by Flatt. Holman was played in deep in the Woking area but a last ditch tackle stopped him. Then he was blocked out of his shot on the edge of the box and resorted to a cross that Cole parried for Mark Ricketts to tidy up. The signs were there for the home side, however, and in seconds Hall helped on to Holman, 8 yards out, with the Woking backline very deep. He fired high into the right of the net for 1-0.

On the restart Wright fired over from six yards from Holman’s low cross, but was offside. Arthur let in Munns for a run at the heart of defence for the Robins. Luckily his effort was blocked for a corner. Munns took full advantage all the same, with his corner, which fell to Holman in the goal area to stab home his second in quick succession.

A slip by Robinson let in Wright to run at Jones inside the area but the Woking man stayed on his feet to win his tackle. Bartram got up from right back to shoot well over to close the first half.

Half-time: Cheltenham Town 2 Woking 0

Within a minute of the restart Munns was in on the right and dummied his marker to set up his shot but Jake Cole saved with his legs. At the other end Butcher’s left foot free kick, from an inside right spot, was just over the angle of the goal.

Jones somehow kept out Wright’s header, Cole needing that help for once, as the ball flew across the goal area. Arthur got bypassed and Holman belatedly got his shot away, but his hat trick chance flew over. He needn’t have worried.

Joe Robinson came on for Andrade, who had taken a knock on his right foot and Woking were now a three at the back. Mark Ricketts could only sky a clearance and the pressure was back on. Wright found space wide on the right and Holman’s flick header at the near post clinched it for him and his side.

The Robins closed ranks with McLennan on for Cranston and Garry Hill brought on Poku for Arthur, but little changed. Cole made yet another save low down to his right.
Johnny Goddard heel-flicked over his marker and was round him to get in a low shot but a deflection took the pace off it.

Munns helped Holman get round the back of the defensive three on the right and he finished low in the far corner of the net for his and Town’s fourth.

A series of substitutions followed with Robins’ Harry Pell for Hall, Billy Waters for James Rowe and the Cards' captain Mark Ricketts handing the armband over to be replaced by Cameron Norman.

Munns got in yet again but was not able to finish. Joe Quigley worked space on his own and had Flatt clawing his shot around the post to signal a late flurry of Cards’ corners. Cameron Norman was so close to his first Cards’ goal on as one of them fizzed across the six yard line.

Woking now have the respite of a Surrey Cup semi-final at home on Tuesday and then a break until they entertain basement boys Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday, March 26th. 

Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice, Joey Jones, Mark Ricketts (c), (Cameron Norman 74), Chris Arthur (Godfrey Poku 62), Bruno Andrade (Joe Robinson 57), Matt Robinson, Matt Butcher, John Goddard, Giuseppe Sole, Joe Quigley

Unused subs: Alex Smith, Nick Hamann

Cheltenham Town: Jon Flatt, Jack Barthram, Cameron Burgess, Dan Parslow, James Rowe (Billy Waters 69), Jack Munns, Kyle Storer (c), Asa Hall (Harry Pell 67), Jordan Cranston (George McLennan 60), Dan Holman, Danny Wright

Unused subs: Amari Morgan-Smith, Rhys Lovett

Goals: Holman 32, 38, 58, 64

My MOTM: Jake Cole – again, as he refused to give in and kept the score down with another resilient display. Without Holman’s marksmanship, the Woking 'keeper might have been the day’s hero. 

Attendance: 2,951
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