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Donnellan delights to see Woking outbox the Glovers

Haydn Cobb
8:01pm, Sat 25th Jan 2020
Woking 1 Yeovil Town 0
Vanarama National League
Saturday 25th January 2020

Shaun Donnellan’s superb strike midway through the first half secured Woking victory over Yeovil Town to return to within touching distance of the Vanarama National League play-offs.

Woking came into the game as underdogs against opponents who had only lost once since mid-November in the league, but a robust defensive display laid the foundations to keep hold of an early lead provided by Donnellan’s third goal of the season.

Donnellan, an ex-Yeovil Town player who slotted into right back in Woking’s defence, cut inside the right wing to unleash a curling effort which nestled into the bottom-left corner after 22 minutes.

In a game of high quality but few chances, Woking stood firm against the league’s second-highest goal scorers to keep a clean sheet and with it all three points. The win lifts the Cards to eighth place in the league and level on points with Notts County directly above them.

Alan Dowson made three changes to the starting line-up which fell to defeat at Wrexham last weekend, with new loan signing Jayden Harris slotting into midfield as Shaun Donnellan moved to right back in place of the absent Jack Cook. Manny Parry replaced Ben Gerring in central defence and Josh Neufville came in for the suspended Jamar Loza to play on the right side of midfield diamond.

Despite the contrasting form of the two sides coming into the game, the teams looked evenly match for the opening quarter of an hour with Woking showing a steeliness in the tackle to demonstrate they wouldn’t be pushovers for their high-flying opponents.

Following a competitive but uneventful start, the game sparked into life on 22 minutes as Donnellan scored with Woking’s first effort on target. The stand-in right back played a smart one-two with Neufville on the wing before cutting inside and unopposed he unleashed a left-foot curling effort which nestled in the bottom-left corner of Ted Cann’s net.

The intense midfield battle continued as Yeovil’s players grew visibly frustrated at the solid Woking backline. It meant opportunities were few and far between with Jimmy Smith’s 20-yard effort blocked by Manny Parry before a foul was called to relieve the pressure.

Half-time: Woking 1 Yeovil Town 0

The Glovers, still venting frustrations at the referee over first half decisions, came at Woking with a more direct approach at the start of the second half. An accidental handball by Godfrey Poku resulted in a freekick 25 yards out which Luke Wilkinson curled towards the top-right corner of the goal only to see Craig Ross push the effort away from danger.

But the pressure continued to grow on the Woking defence as Yeovil Town began to dominate possession, with top scorer Rhys Murphy getting his first sighting of goal with an edge of the area shot which was off target.

Dowse triggered changes to Woking’s attack with Alex Wall and Max Kretzschmar coming on for Dave Tarpey and Harris respectively. The Cards had the chance to make the game safe as Hyde’s charge down the channel and cross found Poku but his shot was blocked on the line.

With the match stretching in the final 15 minutes, Woking continued to have opportunities to double their lead. Neufville found himself in space on the edge of Yeovil Town’s box but his powerful strike kept rising over the crossbar.

Yeovil Town pressed on for an equaliser but couldn’t create a clear chance let alone a test for Ross in goal as Woking put in one of their best defensive performances of the season.

Woking are in league action again on Tuesday night with a trip to Ebbsfleet United.

Woking: 13 Craig Ross; 3 Joshua Casey ©, 4 Manny Parry, 6 Moussa Diarra, 16 Shaun Donnellan; 14 Godfrey Poku (90’ Nathan Collier), 8 Kane Ferdinand, 19 Jayden Harris (79’ Max Kretzschmar); 20 Josh Neufville, 7 Dave Tarpey (67’ Alex Wall), 9 Jake Hyde

Unused subs: 1 Sam Howes, 5 Ben Gerring

Goals: Donnellan 22’

Bookings: Poku 65’, Hyde 73’, Wall 90+4’

Yeovil Town 25 Ted Cann, 3 Carl Dickinson, 4 Lee Collins ©, 5 Jimmy Smith, 6 Luke Wilkinson; 9 Rhys Murphy, 11 Myles Hippolyte (65’ Chris Dagnall), 14 Courtney Duffus (59’ Marc Richards), 18 Albi Skendi; 24 Remeao Hutton (75’ Matt Worthington), 25 Charlie Lee

Unused subs: 27 Liam O’Brien, 19 Tom Bradbury

Bookings: Matt Worthington 90’, Marc Richards 90+2’

Referee: Gary Parsons

Attendance: 2,642 – including 878 travelling Yeovil Town supporters.

Sponsor's Man of the Match: Moussa Diarra – a rock in Woking’s superb defensive performance.

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