Goddard off the bench to secure Lincoln league double and back-to-back away Cards' wins

Malcolm Wyatt
9:02am, Sun 24th Apr 2016
Lincoln City 2 Woking 3
Vanarama National League
April 23rd 2016

Man of the moment John Goddard was there at the right time in the right place with a left-footed finish at Sincil Bank on Saturday, securing the Cards a league double over Lincoln City.

The roving midfielder, back after a four-game absence following a hamstring injury, popped up with a decisive strike three minutes from time, allaying the visitors' fears after their Lincolnshire hosts rubbed out Woking's early two-goal lead.

The home side enjoyed most of the early pressure, Woking goalkeeper Jake Cole (pictured) on fine form to keep his side in the game, having to turn over from Terry Hawkridge before Keiran Murtagh checked Jack Muldoon, the Imps striker's resultant 20-yard free-kick clearing the wall but also Cole's crossbar.

A glancing header from Callum Howe caused slight flutters, but Cole was equal to his finish, and eventually Woking had their first telling attack, and made it count.

A cross from the right by former Imp Jake Caprice found Danny Carr, who was inches away from netting, the last defender putting behind for a corner. And from Matt Butcher's in-swinger from the right flank, Murtagh headed home, with 19 minutes on the clock.

With the hosts somewhat stunned, Caprice's next cross left the hosts chasing shadows, Bruno Andrade in the danger zone, swivelling slightly left then tucking beyond Paul Farman within three minutes of the opener for his second goal in two matches.

The Imps soon hit back though, Cole having to make a great save from George Maris, while in the next home attack Matt Sparrow beat the Cards' 'keeper with a strong finish but the flag was raised for offside.

Barnsley loanee Maris drilled wide with his next attempt, the Cards working as a unit to retain their two-goal lead, while a floated free-kick from Hawkridge found Howe again, Cole collecting calmly on his line, with little room for error.

Murtagh headed away the next danger-ball from Hawkridge, Woking standing their ground again, while Muldoon further tested Cole, the busy No.1 collecting down low, his defenders circling him to deny the Imps any opportunity to pick up a deflection.

Half-time: Lincoln City 0 Woking 2

What was said by outgoing home manager Chris Moyses in his final Sincil Bank half-time pep-talk is debatable, but the Imps clearly came out fired up and within two minutes of the restart top scorer Matt Rhead had halved the deficit with a header from a deep Eliot Hodge cross from the right channel, the striker taking his season's tally to 23 goals.

Woking then somehow contrived to lose possession more or less straight away, Muldoon away and unleashing a mighty left-foot finish that gave Cole no chance, levelling the scoreline in the 48th minute.

Garry Hill's visitors had a chance to quickly regain their lead when Andrade broke down the left and unselfishly picked out Robinson at the opposite edge of the area, but the midfielder blazed over as the 'keeper scrambled across to cover.

Cameron Norman came twice to Woking's rescue from there, first stopping a promising home attack with a well-timed interception, and then cutting out from Maris.

Changes were soon afoot, Lincoln introducing two subs, sacrificing Maris for Shrewsbury winger James Caton and Imps player of the season Bradley Wood, who had picked up a booking after a melee involving Woking striker Carr, who was also cautioned.

It was the Surrey visitors who went closest next after good work by Robinson forced a corner, but Murtagh was unable to get enough direction on his header from a Butcher set-piece.

Norman again did well to deny Muldoon space the first time then keeping enough pressure on the same man to ensure he shot over.

The hard-working defender was soon replaced by Joey Jones though, Hill freshening things up by bringing on all three subs within three minutes, with Gez Sole on for Carr and John Goddard replacing Butcher.

A slight touch from Sole deep in the area following a Caprice cross was not enough to fool Farman in the home goal, while the crowd showed their frustration as referee Jason Whiteley ignored calls for a foul by Jones, who won out fairly under pressure and inspired the next visitors' break, Sole firing over as the 'keeper raced out.

Lincoln made their last change, with Muldoon withdrawn, Andrade soon winning another Cards corner, taking it himself and reaching Brian Saah but seeing a defender head behind. Goddard took the follow-up, but no one was able to tuck away his searching delivery.

Cole rushed out to clear the next home raid, while Chris Arthur was booked for a foul on the left edge of the area, Hawkridge's free-kick headed wide by Howe.

And the home side were made to rue that miss as Robinson set up a counter-attack, winning out in the middle of the park and feeding Goddard on the left, the final sub with a perfectly-timed run, expertly drawing the keeper then firing through Farman's legs with a left-footed finish for his 16th league goal of the season … and what could well be his farewell strike in a Woking shirt.

There were still a few jitters from there as Lincoln looked for the equaliser, but the visitors stood firm and kept possession when it mattered, and Andrade might even have added a fourth but for a neat save from Farman in the closing moments.

It wasn't important though, these three points keeping hopes of a top-half finish alive and meaning the Cards have lost just one of their five matches in April, a marked improvement on their early-year form.

Lincoln City: Paul Farman, Bradley Wood (Alan Power 62), Luke Waterfall, Jack Muldoon (Robbie McDaid 76), Matt Rhead, Terry Hawkridge, Elliot Hodge, Lee Beevers, Matt Sparrow, Callum Howe, George Maris (James Caton 62)

Subs not used: Alex Simmons, Aidan Grant

Booking: Bradley Wood 62

Goals: Matt Rhead 47, Jack Muldoon 48

Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice, Chris Arthur, Mark Ricketts (c), Brian Saah, Keiran Murtagh, Matt Robinson, Bruno Andrade, Danny Carr, (Giuseppe Sole 70) Cameron Norman (Joey Jones 71), Matt Butcher (John Goddard 72)

Subs not used: Godfrey Poku, Nick Hamann.

Bookings: Matt Robinson 36, Danny Carr 62, Chris Arthur 86

Goals: Keiran Murtagh 19, Bruno Andrade 22, John Goddard 87

Attendance: 2,518

My MOTM: Jake Cole - without the 'keeper's competence in goal early on, the Cards may well have been behind, and without the foundation to build this combative victory upon.

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