bradley bubb

Woking 5
AFC Telford 2

HAT-TRICK hero Bradley Bubb helped see Woking over the 50 point line in a game that threatened to turn sour.

Bubb fired Woking into a third minute lead before a Jayden Stockley strike doubled Cards’ advantage.

Bubb struck again before the break to the hosts a seemingly insurmountable three goal cushion but goals from Steve Jones and Aaron Williams meant Woking were sweating heading into time added on.

It all looked too close for comfort until Telford keeper Ryan Young fouled Jack Parkinson and Bubb completed his hat-trick from the spot.

Kevin Betsy added a coat of gloss to the score line when he intercepted a back pass and rounded Young to make it five and wrap up all three points.

Hill was thrilled to see his side smash the 50 points barrier which he believes will keep them in the division.

“That’s what me and Steve Thompson set out as number one,” explained Hill. “It is a good achievement there is no doubt about that.

“It’s guaranteed us going forward to next year and there’s still nine games to play so another 27 points on offer.”

“We made hard work of it. I can’t be too disappointed because we’ve got three points and five goals but we’ve played better this season and not got points out of matches.

“At the end of the day it’s a results business and we got what we needed.”

Woking 2
Cambridge 1

GARRY HILL admits he had almost forgotten what it was like to watch his side score first in a football match.

Woking have made an impressive start to life back in the Blue Square Premier but have only scored first in four games prior to Cambridge United’s ­arrival at Kingfield on Tuesday.

So it was a refreshing change to see Bradley Bubb and Kevin Betsy put the Cards in the driving seat with a goal either side of half-time.

And despite a late barrage from the U’s, kick started by Robbie Wilmott’s powerful header, Hill’s battlers held on to pick up their sixth win of the season.

“It was nice to be in front,” said Hill in a brutal examination of his team’s previous displays. “We’re not used to that and we were a bit shell shocked.

KNOTT'S BAD LANDING - Billy Knott was forced off on Tuesday

KNOTT’S BAD LANDING – Billy Knott was forced off on Tuesday

“I knew there would be chances for both teams and it certainly was never going to be 0-0.

“We got the important first goal and that seemed to settle us down a bit and at 2-0 we fancied ourselves to go on and win the game.

“But all credit to Cambridge. They worked very hard and got a goal back from a set-play and in the last 20 ­minutes they have put us under ­immense pressure.

“It was a big three points and a big response and I’m very pleased.”

The Cards dominated the opening quarter of an hour with Betsy and Lee Sawyer working feverishly in the middle of the park to keep Cambridge on the back foot.

And it was no surprise that Cambridge’sJonathan Hedge was the busier of the two keepers in the opneing stages.

Jack Parkinson was first to test Hedge with a ­swerving drive which the keeper pushed away for a corner.

Michael Gash flashed a low shot just wide of the post in reply.

But it proved nothing more than a  light reposte as Hill’s men took the lead in the 19th minute.

Betsy weaved his magic in the penalty area to reach the byline and clip a cross to the back post to Bubb, who clinically pounced to head home the opener.

And Cards’ leading scorer had a glorious chance to bag his second of the night in the 27th minute.

But he completely mis-judged ­Gavin McCallum’s cross and somehow managed to get the ball stuck under his feet with the goal gaping. Goalkeeper Sam Beasant, son of former Wimbledon and Chelsea No.1 Dave, was handed his full Woking debut in place of the suspended Aaron Howe.

And the 24-year-old showed no lack of confidence when, after a couple of early catches, he coolly Cruyff-turned Robbie Wilmott as the Cambridge man closed down a clearance.

Cambridge almost caught Beasant out when Tom Elliott capitalised on the keeper’s rash decision to leave his area.

But Woking were indebted to the youngster  when he got his outstretched fingertips to Rossi Jarvis’ deflected strike from the edge of the area.

Cards looked electric on the counter and always looked the most likely to grab the game’s second goal.

But as half-time loomed and the first shreds of anxiety began to surface the visitors had the chance to even things up, only for Rory McAuley to head Daniel Andrew’s in-swinging corner wide.

Cards thought they had steadied the ship when Betsy slid a shot under Hedge on the hour.

New loan star Billy Knott, who only signed from Premier League ­giants Sunderland hours before kick off, slipped past Cambridge full-back Josh Coulson and pulled the ball back for Betsy to apply the finishing touch.

But five minutes after giving themselves a two-goal cushion Woking threatened to implode.

The lead was cut in the 65th minute when Wilmott was allowed to escape at the near post to thunder in Andrew’s corner.

And Woking were dealt a major blow when lively debutant Knott ­hobbled off with what initially looked to be quite a serious injury.

“Hopefully it’s not too bad with Billy,” said Hill. “He’s a good young player but we’ll have to take it easy and see where we can go from here.”

Deflated by the loss of midfielder Knott, Woking retreated on to the back foot as Cambridge sought an equaliser.

Sub Ricky Wellard thought he had earend the visitors a point when his deflected effort hit the post and ricocheted off the back of the Woking keeper ­before dribbling out for a corner.

Beasant added to his side’s apprehension when he spilled two teasing crosses in quick succession.

But Cards survived the onslaught to secure their first win in four and climb up to 10th ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Southport.

Woking 6
Nuneaton 1

CARDS went on a goal-scoring frenzy but were indebted to the magnificence of Bradley Bubb and Aaron Howe as Garry Hill’s men stopped the rot to claim their third win of the season in unbelievable style.

Defiant Howe laid the foundations for Woking’s first win in five with a string of wonderful saves, including a second-half penalty stop from Kyle Perry.

At the other end four-goal hero Bubb added to first-half strikes from Gavin McCallum and Lee Sawyer to set up the Cards’ most emphatic league win since a 7-1 hiding of Altrincham in November 1996.

After watching his side run riot at Kingfield, Hill was undoubtedly in awe of loan star Bubb’s astonishing display.

LOVELY BUBBLY - Bradley Bubb scored four

LOVELY BUBBLY – Bradley Bubb scored four

He said: “The dividing line at this level is in the final third and it is a tremendous achievement for Bradley Bubb to score four goals in one game.

“All his finishes were of the highest standard and he deserves all the accolades.

“We’ve not been getting the rewards we deserve recently and we’ve been a little unlucky. But we found ourselves scoring at important times when we’d usually be punished. The goal on half-time killed them and you get those days when everything you hit goes in.”

Andy Brown tapped in a late consolation for the visitors.

Pick up Thursday’s Woking News & Mail for the full report and reaction.

 

UNPLAYABLE - Barrow could not handle Loick Pires

UNPLAYABLE – Barrow could not handle Loick Pires

Woking 3
Barrow 1

GARRY HILL praised the character of his determined Woking side as they battled from a goal down in a Kingfield furnace to see off Barrow.

The Cards showed great resilience in blistering temperatures to hit back after Garry Hunter’s placed strike had given the visitors a 15th-minute advantage.

Joe McNerney, promoted to free-kick duty in the absence of Giuseppe Sole, conjured a goal the injured striker would have been proud of to pull Woking level after 20 minutes.

We really took the initiative and showed them that we wanted to win this match – it was a big win today

And despite twice being saved by the woodwork, Cards never looked back, securing victory with second-half goals from Bradley Bubb and Loick Pires as Hill revelled in a second Kingfield triumph in five days.

And the delighted manager believes his side have what it takes to give anyone a run for their money this season.

He said: “We knew it was going to be a tough game but I think we showed a great deal of character.

“They were the better team in the first 20 minutes and they got the goal they deserved.

“They hit the post before that, the warning signs were there but I think the big thing in this league, which we’ve already started to show, is we’ve got character.

“I know the league, I’ve been in the game a long time and I’ve instilled into the players that they’ve got to have character, desire, passion and they’ve got to be winners.

“For periods in the second-half it was all one way, we really took the initiative and showed them that we wanted to win this match – it was a big win today.

“If we put our honesty and commitment into every game then we can make it hard for teams. You can’t have days when you fancy it and days when don’t at this level – you’ve got to be up for it every game.

“I think it’s a very good start but it’s no secret that we want 50 points. When we get to that 50 points I’ll punch the air because that will be the first hurdle.

“We play against clubs in this league that are far superior financially to us but they can only put 11 out on the park at once.

“If we are at it in respect of commitment and honesty then we’ll give anybody a game.”

In an electric opening period Woking had the chance to take the lead as early as the second minute.

Persistent pressure from Pires forced Danny Hurst into picking up Mike Pearson’s heavy back-pass inside the penalty area.

The keeper received a caution for his troubles and the Cards were awarded an indirect free-kick eight yards from goal.

Bubb failed to force Lee Sawyer’s lay-off through a wall of black and white shirts and the danger was eventually cleared.

Aaron Howe needed to be alert to keep out James Owen’s deflected shot from 18-yards, but there was nothing the Woking stopper could do to prevent Barrow taking the lead.

A sweeping surge forward resulted in Hunter curling an effort back off the foot of the post.

But within 30 seconds the lively midfielder did have the ball in the net, measuring a fine effort from the edge of the area past the static Howe.

Pires rattled a fierce drive against the near post after being released down the left channel by Brett Williams two minutes later.

And having only trailed for a matter of moments Woking released the Beast to drag themselves level.

Kevin Betsy’s marauding run was unfairly hacked short and, in the absence of Sole, McNerney stepped up to take set-piece responsibility.

What the defender produced would have received the seal of approval from Cards’ injured dead ball specialist.

From fully 25-yards, McNerney found the smallest of gaps in the wall, bending a stunning strike into the bottom left corner.

With the contest well and truly at its peak both teams had chances to take the lead before half-time.

Barrow went close with Sean Hessey’s thundering free-kick that flew just wide.

For Woking, Pires had a shot cleared off the line by the stretching Gavin Skelton following Williams’ smart pass.

But the woodwork had to come to the Cards’ rescue a second time when Adam Boyes’ masterfully crafted volley beat Howe.

Under the scorching sun the tempo took an understandable knock in the second-half.

But with Barrow flagging in the Kingfield furnace, Woking got their noses in front thanks to Bubb’s second goal in three games.

Pires, who led the line excellently from start to finish, was hauled to the ground down the left.

Sawyer stepped up to flight in a cross and it was on-loan Aldershot man Bubb who applied the vital touch to help the ball loop over Hurst and into the far corner.

Buoyed by the breakthrough, Cards chased a decisive third.

Brett Johnson did his best to turn an awkward header into the top corner but was denied by Hurst’s safe hands.

But Barrow would have been on an even keel if not for the timely block of substitute Gavin McCallum.

A quick free-kick found substitute Vinny Mukendi in a pocket of space at the back stick, but his close-range stab at an equaliser was foiled by the outstretched leg of McCallum.

It was fitting that Pires would seal the points after such a tireless, selfless shift.

Betsy picked the ball up in the middle of the park and surged forward on a trademark run.

His threaded pass was to perfection and after a neat touch and a moment to compose himself, Pires drilled home a 79th-minute clincher, much to the delight of his manager.

Hill added: “Loick has shown why we’ve fetched him into the club.

“He’s not the finished article just yet but he’ll get goals in this league if he is prepared to listen to Steve Thompson and myself.

“He’s a big unit, he’s mobile, he’s got a left-foot on him and I expect Loick to go and get 15-20 goals this season.

“He’s a good player but he can be better and he will be better.”

Wrexham 3
Woking 1

GARRY HILL reckons it could have all been so different for Woking as the Cards took their first tentative steps back into the Blue Square Premier.

Woking looked to be crumbling in the heat of the Racecourse Ground and trailed to first-half goals from Rob Ogleby and Dean Keates.

But invigorated after the break thanks to the introduction of Bradley Bubb and Giuseppe Sole, Cards hit back and reduced the deficit in the 65th minute when Bubb slotted past Joslain Mayebi.

Kevin Betsy saw a diving header flapped off the line moments later before Mark Creighton’s powerful header 15 minutes from time killed off the visitors’ hopes.

We were a little bit nervous in places which I understand with it being the first game of the season

And Hill believes Betsy’s miss was the turning point, insisting Woking’s momentum at the time could have turned the opening day fixture on its head.

The manager said: “We had a chat at half-time and the thing we wanted most was a response – I said if we can get a goal early in the second-half how will Wrexham react?

“We got the goal we wanted and we were much better in the second-half, we started playing football and there was a big turning point in the match at 2-1. We were certainly on top for a 10 minute period.

“Giuseppe Sole has put in a fantastic cross and Kevin Betsy has hit the target but – whether he got a clean connection with it – the keeper has stopped it.

“Within five minutes of when it should have been 2-2 and us being in the ascendency we’ve been punished and it’s 3-1. It was a big five minutes in the game.

“It would have been interesting to see how the game would have gone with the momentum with us. We’ll learn lessons as we go through the fixtures but I’ve got no complaints at the final whistle.”

The Cards reeked of opening night nerves and their hesitancy and lack of conviction in the final third only acted as encouragement to the promotion candidates and their 4,000 strong support.

Joe McNerney was caught napping as early as the 11th minute by Ogleby, and was lucky to escape punishment when Danny Wright sent his turn and shot just wide from the edge of the area.

Wright – whose aerial presence caused Woking’s back-line all types of trouble in a shaky first-half – was at the heart of Wrexham’s next assault, but Ogleby contrived to send his defence splitting pass into the side netting.

But the U21 Welsh international made amends just 90 seconds later and fired the Dragons into an 18th minute advantage.

Neil Ashton was left in acres of space down the left and was allowed to cross. Ogleby held off his man to steer a wonderful volley over Aaron Howe and into the Woking goal.

The classy finish highlighted the gulf between the two sides in the opening period and only a timely block from Brett Johnson denied Jay Harris a clear cut chance moments later.

It was not until the 32nd minute that Woking registered their first strike at goal – Kevin Betsy earning a corner with a fierce shot but the visitors remained void of inspiration in a flat first-half.

And with time ticking away Wrexham doubled their lead with a goal that twinned their obvious craft with their underlying graft.

Ormerod exchanged passes with skipper Keates before sending a searching low cross into a congested six-yard box.

Ogleby’s attempted volley was blocked in the melee, but Keates had continued his run and was ideally placed to rifle across Howe and into the bottom corner.

Hill added: “It’s a big blow for us to concede on half-time.

“As a manager you hope your side can get out there and settle into the game but I think we showed them a little bit too much respect.

“We were a little bit nervous in places which I understand with it being the first game of the season. They got an early goal and that settled them in front of the home crowd and we were hoping to get in at half-time 1-0.

“I thought if we can get in at half-time at 1-0 we’d have a lot to play for after the break.

“It was a big goal at a big time in the game and Wrexham probably went in thinking they’d go on to win it comfortably.”

But reinvigorated after the interval, the Cards came out swinging.

Gavin McCallum snapped a shot high over the bar, while substitute Bubb flashed a header just wide from Mike Cestor’s whipped cross.

And it was Wrexham’s hesitancy that gave Woking a life-line.

A mistimed header sparked confusion between Joslain Mayebi and the rest of his static defence and Bubb – on the pitch for a matter of minutes – slotted the ball under the on-rushing keeper.

Betsy should have buried Sole’s inch-perfect cross six minutes later but his diving header was just kept out by Mayebi.

And his profligacy was punished within moments as a man nicknamed the Beast roared in at the back post to restore Wrexham’s two goal cushion.

Mark Creighton was left unmarked in the penalty area and did not need a second invitation to thunder home a simple corner.

Adrian Cieslewicz came off the bench and almost added a fourth for the hosts, but the Polish winger struck the woodwork after rounding Howe.

It was far from the roasting a newly promoted side may have been given on entering the Dragons’ den on the opening day, but Woking will be looking to come back strong and get their first points on the board when Dartford visit Kingfield on Tuesday.

 

BIG MAC - Joe McNerney towers over everyone to head home Woking's second

BIG MAC – Joe McNerney towers over everyone to head home Woking’s second

JOE McNERNEY gave Garry Hill some food for thought after thundering home the decisive second goal in Woking’s 2-1 win over AFC Wimbledon.

McNerney, on as a second half substitute, rose highest to head home Jesse Waller-Lassen’s corner to double his side’s advantage after Bradley Bubb’s 19th minute volley had given the hosts the lead.

Jack Midson reduced the deficit ten minutes from time after the Dons were awarded a controversial penalty.

But Woking were rarely threatened and eased their way to victory in a game that honoured the memory of former player and chairman Phil Ledger.

It was nice to be able to honour a real legend at the club with a performance like that

After the game Hill admitted an additional friendly with Hornchurch had been arranged to give every member of his squad the chance to prove their worth before the start of the season.

And McNerney, who faces stiff competition from Jack Parkinson, Brett Johnson and Adam Doyle to secure a place in the starting XI, confirmed he will keep working hard to force his way into the manager’s plans.

He said: “Hopefully the goal will stick in the gaffer’s mind but I’m sure he will be focusing on my performance at the back.

“There is competition in every position and everyone is looking to stake their claim.

“The extra friendly is another chance to impress but pre-season is all about fitness, no one is really worried about results yet.

“All the lads will want to get out there and make sure the impress they manager.

“We’ve got a strong core of players at the club now and the spirit in the dressing room is positive – everyone is getting on and working hard.”

McNerney also hailed the way his side outplayed and outclassed their Football League opponents.

He described the performance as a fitting way to celebrate Phil Ledger’s outstanding service to both Woking and AFC Wimbledon.

“I was actually really impressed with the way we played last night. We kept the ball well, played some good football and controlled the game.

“It was nice to be able to honour a real legend at the club with a performance like that and it’s brilliant that we could host the cup against a top team in AFC Wimbledon.”

PROLIFIC - Bradley Bubb averaged just under a goal every other game for Farnborough

PROLIFIC – Bradley Bubb averaged just under a goal every other game for Farnborough

THE foundations for Bradley Bubb’s loan switch to Kingfield were laid more than a year ago, according to the striker.

Bubb briefly crossed Garry Hill’s path during a three year spell at Farnborough and claimed the Woking chief predicted a future move to Kingfield in the summer of 2011.

He said: “I met the manager a number of times when I was at Farnborough and he said that he would get me one day – now he has. It’s going to be great to play under Garry.”

I’ve got a bit of pace, strength and hopefully they’ll help me get the goals needed to push the team forward

The 24-year-old hitman joins Woking on a season-long loan from Aldershot and hopes to make a big impact after impressing in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to a QPR select XI.

Bubb added: “I’m always looking forward to playing games and the conference premier is a good level – Woking are a good team and we’ll have to see what happens during the season.

“I’ve got a bit of pace, strength and hopefully they’ll help me get the goals needed to push the team forward.

“Garry has told me he wants to play a 4-3-3 set up which suits me because I can play anywhere across the front line. I can cut in from the left, cut in from the right and enjoy playing nice football.

“There are a couple of young players coming in and with one or two new faces I think the team will be ready for next season – I can’t wait to get going.”

Capped eight times by Grenada, Bubb’s prolific record in the depths of non-league earned him a contract with Farnborough in 2009.

During his time at Cherrywood Road he averaged just under a goal every other game and was influential in Boro’s play-off semi-final victory over Woking.

His impressive goals to game ratio secured him a move to Aldershot and the Football League just a month later.

But after failing to find the net in nine appearances for the Shots, he was loaned out to Basingstoke and subsequently to Ian Baird’s Eastleigh.

The striker recaptured his potency in front of goal to net 10 times in 18 appearances for the Spitfires and claimed the Blue Square South player of the month award for February 2012.

Of his new forward, who is committed to the Cards for the entirety of the 2012-13 campaign, Hill said: “I’ve got a lot of admiration for Bradley – he has a lot to offer.

“He is very sharp and strong and at this level of football he gives us great options across the front line, I’m very pleased he will be with us next season.”

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