cards

SOMEONE up there did not want this game to be played.

Despite the unparalleled effort of fans, the expert and precision decision making of the ground staff, plus all the will in Woking, Cards could not fulfil their Blue Square Premier meeting with Newport County on Tuesday.

A blanket of snow was carefully rolled off the Kingfield turf on Tuesday and, when match officials arrived at the ground at around 5.30pm, the pitch was deemed playable.

But a violent and unrelenting snow storm arrived to ruin the party, undoing all the volunteers’ efforts in a matter of minutes.

By 7pm the game had been chalked off – just the latest casualty in a long list of matches to be claimed by the freezing temperatures.

Garry Hill’s hopes were dashed as the green turf disappeared under a fresh coat of powder.

He also expressed his gratitude to the fans who helped give this fixture a fighting chance.

He said: “I feel so sorry for the supporters and everyone who have put in so much hard work earlier in the week. What I have learned at Woking is that we are all in it together.

“You’ve seen that response and that effort in the fans trying to get this game on. They all played their part and that is an encouraging sign for Woking.

“It’s unfortunate because there has been a lot of work put into this game by everyone connected with the club.

“The chairman, the directors, the supporters – everyone has put in such a great effort – and the groundsman has done brilliantly to get the pitch in perfect playing order at 6pm. It looked a treat – but all of a sudden the sky opened and the snow came down.

“It’s disappointing that we’ve now got to arrange the game for a later date.”

Hill’s primary concern is the prospect of a trip to in-form Kidderminster on Saturday, having not played a competitive game since the 1-0 win over Ebbsfleet on January 13.

Steve Burr’s Harriers will not be the same team who shared the spoils at Kingfield in November – but Hill urged fans not to forget Cards’ recent run heading into Saturday.

Kidderminster have rocketed up the table after losing their first five games of the season.

Burr’s side now occupy the final play-off place, and sit just six points off top spot.

But Hill pointed to the Cards’ recent upturn in fortunes and said: “They are a good side and are arguably as good as any we’ve played this season.

“It will be a very tough game for us because I think they’ve only lost something like two in their last 20 league games.

“They are flying but we’re not going too badly ourselves at the moment so hopefully we’ll get a good result.”

Woking 1
Stockport County 0

ADAM DOYLE glanced home an 85th-minute winner as Cards made it back-to-back victories and clean sheets in the Blue Square Premier.

The defender’s header five minutes from time kept Garry Hill’s men on the road to recovery, ensuring they followed up the midweek victory at Lincoln with another three points.

Brett Williams could have put Woking in control as early as the second minute but a rasping drive cannoned back off the underside of the bar.

WINNER – Adam Doyle celebrates his late goal against Stockport County

The Reading loanee then blazed well over with the goal at his mercy and it looked as if the Cards, for all their productivity in the final third, would fail to find the crucial goal.

But with time ticking away Doyle popped up to lift his side back into the top half of the table.

Hill said: “We are starting to realise that we have to do the ugly side of the game.

“We’ve had to work hard and sort a few things out this week but I’m well chuffed.

“It was a result we thoroughly deserved – I don’t think any club at any level can come off a result like we did last Saturday and get the two results that we’ve got.”

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

 

Gateshead 2
Woking 1

FIREWORKS were predicted on Tyneside – but this defeat was hardly a spectacle for Garry Hill to behold.

Gateshead were toppled 2-1 at Kingfield earlier this season thanks to goals from Jack Parkinson and Gavin McCallum.

But they got their revenge to end a run of 10 games without a win at the International Stadium on Saturday.

Parkinson’s opener was cancelled out by Josh Gillies’ driven effort and Liam Hatch’s precision header.

GOAL - Jack Parkinson scored for the Cards

GOAL – Jack Parkinson scored for the Cards

Hill had no excuses for his team’s lacklustre showing.

He said: “We knew it would be tough but we got the ideal start with an ideal goal but all of sudden they start to come out.

“They are probably the first team we’ve played this season where the level of fitness showed.

“They looked a little bit stronger, sharper and fitter than us and they had opportunities to completely bury the game which they didn’t take.

“We tried to change it but we can’t have any complaints – it was there day here and our day when we beat them at Kingfield.

“I’m disappointed not to take anything out of the game but if we had it would have been unjust on them.”

The fuse was lit in the opening two minutes when only successive goal line clearances from Adam Newton and Mike Cestor stopped the Heed starting with a bang.

But that scare sparked Woking into life and Parkinson confidently volleyed home Lee Sawyer’s precision cross to give Cards a sixth-minute lead.

The visitors dominated for much of the first-half but were pegged back in the 32nd minute when Gillies rifled past Aaron Howe.

Carl Magnay was stronger into a 50/50 challenge with Cestor and the ball broke for Lee Bullock.

The forward slipped in Gillies down the right and after storming into the area, ripped a low shot just inside the far post.

Gillies should have doubled his tally inside 60 seconds but headed Ryan Donaldson’s cross inches wide.

Donaldson was a thorn in Woking’s side all afternoon and was instrumental as Ian Bogie’s side took the lead right on half time.

The striker rolled in Bullock down the left who stood up a cross at the back stick for the unmarked Hatch.

With all the time in world the returning striker planted a header back across goal and past the stranded Howe.

Cards fizzled out after their restart and rarely pressured the Gateshead goal.

Substitute Nathan Fisher should have scored twice within three minutes of coming on but screwed wide with his first touch before firing harmlessly wide when played through by Gillies.

Howe saved well from Magnay’s header before the same player nodded wide from Paddy Boyle’s corner.

And the Woking keeper made an excellent save from Fisher in the final minute to stop Gateshead extending their lead.

Newport County 2 Woking 3

MAGNIFICENT Kevin Betsy had the league leaders looking like a bunch of plonkers as wonderful Woking tarred Newport’s unblemished Rodney Parade record.

The table-topping Exiles have been untouchable at home this season, racking up five wins and two draws from their opening seven games – conceding just two in a formidable start to their title push.

But their unbeaten record came to an unexpected end as the brilliant Betsy gave them a battering.

YOU BET-TER BELIEVE IT - Kevin Betsy ran riot at Rodney Parade

YOU BET-TER BELIEVE IT – Kevin Betsy ran riot at Rodney Parade

The veteran winger struck twice inside 16 minutes before Andy Sandell curled in for Newport bang on half time.

Bradley Bubb came off the bench to nab a precious third after 69 minutes.

But there was still time for more drama as Michael Flynn headed home in the 88th minute.

After hanging on to secure a rare away win, Betsy beamed: “It was a tremendous team performance.

“We were all disappointed with the performance and result last week but we dusted ourselves down and came out fighting.

“We are a good side on our day and we’ve got to put in these kinds of performances on a more consistent basis.

“If we cut out the errors and are more clinical when we are attacking then we can do OK in this division.

“In a few games we haven’t done ourselves justice and we’ve got to find that little bit of consistent form now.”

Full report and match reaction in your weekly Woking News & Mail

Woking 2
Southport 3

GARRY HILL locked his Woking players in the dressing room at full-time as he and Steve Thompson ruthlessly dissected Cards’ worst-ever performance under their stewardship.

Hill blew his top as goals from Andy Parry and Chris Lynch, plus Chris Lever’s late penalty, gave Southport all three points at Kingfield.

Cards had led through Kevin Betsy and, despite allowing the visitors to level before half-time, looked to be on course for back-to-back home wins after Liam Willis was sent off.

But the 10-men took the lead before Gavin McCallum hit back with just over quarter of an hour to play.

OVER BUT OUT - Gavin McCallum levels for Cards but Garry Hill was still left furious by the defeat

OVER BUT OUT – Gavin McCallum levels for Cards but Garry Hill was still left furious by the defeat

Again it appeared as if Woking would go on to win but Brett Johnson’s horrific error allowed Darren Stephenson to race through on goal.

Joe McNerney tried to make up the ground but was sent off after bringing down the forward in the area.

Lever converted the 82nd-minute spot-kick to leave Hill blind with rage.

Hill stormed: “Collectively they haven’t done their jobs and the players know that more than anybody.

“There are no excuses. You lose together and you win together in football, you stand up and be counted together and we’ve not done enough – no complaints no excuses.

“I’m very disappointed – the players have let themselves down and they’ve let the club down.

“You can’t be 1-0 up after 15 minutes and then turn around and think ‘job done’.

“That is the worst performance from a Woking team that I’ve seen in 18 months. I’m fuming at the moment.”

Dean Sinclair almost scored his first Woking goal but his 20-yard effort sailed over the bar after five minutes.

Cards did not have to wait long for the opener and after a confident start it was Betsy who came up trumps to capitalise on his opponents’ lack of attacking endeavor with the opener on 11 minutes.

In trademark fashion he skipped past three challenges down the right before clipping a cross into the area.

On the slick turf, the delivery avoided everyone before finding its way to McCallum on the left wing.

With a shimmy and measured square ball, McCallum found Betsy in the box and the forward had all the time in the world to sidefoot the game’s first goal past Tony McMillan.

And the Cards should have extended their lead but failed to apply the finish to a couple of tantalising crosses from Betsy and Lee Sawyer.

Southport’s leveller five minutes before the break came from nothing.

Russell Benjamin was allowed to squirm his way round Jack Parkinson on the edge of the area and roll off for Parry to drill past Sam Beasant.

Parkinson almost made amends for his soft piece of defending with a fierce left-foot drive that flew just wide, but the sides went in 1-1 at the interval.

Cards were slow out of the blocks in the second half but received a huge slice of good fortune when Southport were reduced to 10.

Betsy used all his experience to draw a foul from Willis who harshly received a second yellow after clattering into Mark Ricketts in the first half.

With Southport fighting an uphill battle and the 10 men there for the taking Cards were dealt an instant sucker punch.

Shaun Whalley’s near post corner could only be helped on by Mike Cestor and arriving at the back post was Lynch to volley in from close range.

A fantastic spin and snap shot from sub Loick Pires drew a good save from McMillan but the Cards struggled to settle into any rhythm against their depleted opponents.

Cards’ second goal was very similar to Southport’s first – a bolt from the blue in an otherwise lifeless second-half display.

A short corner allowed Bradley Bubb to smash a shot towards goal.

The strike hit a body and fell kindly to McCallum who, much like he did against Tamworth, fired off an effort that was hacked away from the goalmouth.

This time round the officials ruled in his favour and Woking were all square with 16 minutes to play.

But their hard work was undone eight minutes from the death when Johnson’s dreadful mistake allowed Stephenson to race through.

McNerney did his best to get across to make a challenge but the defender used too much force and bundled the Southport player to the ground.

McNerney was sent off and Lever coolly converted the resulting spot-kick in what Hill described as a real low point in his Woking career.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Ebbsfleet 2
Woking 2

WOKING were held to their first draw of the season after failing to capitalise on a dominant 45 minutes of football at Stonebridge Road.

It was a major disappointment for the Cards who had recovered from the early setback of falling behind to Joe Howe’s piledriver to lead at the break through Jack ­Parkinson and Brett ­Johnson strikes.

But that hard work was undone 15 minutes from time when Fleet snatched a share of the spoils through Phil Walsh’s headed effort from Ben ­Greenhalgh’s corner.

EQUALISER - Jack Parkinson smashes home to make it 1-1

EQUALISER – Jack Parkinson smashes home to make it 1-1

Boss Garry Hill admitted his players were guilty of switching off in a sub-par second-half.

He said: “We didn’t play at all after the break – it feels like a defeat and I’m very disappointed.

“We were cruising at half-time and against a very average side we were cruising.

“We could have wrapped the game up and if we had found a third goal the game would have been over.

“We gave the ball away far too cheaply, lacked discipline, invited pressure and as a result they grew in confidence as the game went on.

“Ten points from the last 12 is a good run and we haven’t been beaten but this feels like a loss.

“We should be beating teams like Ebbsfleet comfortably – this is two points dropped.”

And there was further woe for Hill who will be without Lee Sawyer after the midfield ace picked up his fifth booking of the season.

The manager raged: “It doesn’t help when you are working with such a small squad to see your players needlessly suspended.

“I’m a bit disappointed with Lee and I’ve told him how I feel about the booking. It gives the opposition a lift, gets their tails up and limits the influence Lee can have on the game.”

For full match report and reaction pick up your Woking News & Mail today.

Stockport 1
Woking 2

GARRY HILL reckons Woking have shown their mettle after surviving their Blue Square Premier baptism.

Cards were dealt a daunting run of away fixtures to kick-off the campaign and failed to take a single point from any of their first four games on the road.

But defeats to Wrexham, Forest Green, Mansfield and Hereford were finally banished with a commanding victory over 10-man Stockport.

CLINCHER - Loick Pires fires in Woking's winner

CLINCHER – Loick Pires fires in Woking’s winner

“We were deserved winners,” said Hill. “No game is easy in this division so to come to Edgeley Park and beat Stockport is a great lift for the players.

“We’ve had a tough baptism to this league but I feel we’ve done better than results suggest. Even though we found ourselves behind we showed great desire to get back into it.”

Alex Kenyon gave County the perfect start with a headed goal inside 15 minutes.

But Gavin McCallum levelled things up with a mazy run and finish just nine minutes later.

Hill rolled the dice in the second-half and having already sacrificed Mark Ricketts for the more attack-minded Dean Sinclair, brought off McCallum and threw on Loick Pires.

And the change worked a treat as just two minutes after coming on, Pires cut in from the right and fired a low shot past Ian Ormson to give Cards the lead.

Honestly, I was relieved at the final whistle because I wanted it for the players

On the switch that acted as a catalyst for Woking’s first away win of the season, Hill said: “As a manager you’ve got to take responsibility and make the big decisions.

“I felt today that we could build on our first-half display and go on and win the game.

“Loick is a little bit low on confidence at the moment and is still raw at this level but he’ll be alright.

“He knows which part of his game he wants to improve and I have no doubt he’ll do just that.”

In contrast, Stockport’s second-half substitutions proved disastrous.

With his side chasing the game, Jim Gannon made a 77th-minute double switch, hauling off Sam Sheridan and Danny Rowe for Jon Nolan and Alex Meaney.

But just three minutes after coming on, 20-year-old Nolan was trudging back to the dressing room.

The midfielder was immediately cautioned for a tug on Kevin Betsy as the Cards threatened to break forward.

And he was given his marching orders moments later after flying in on Adam Doyle as he made a clearance down the line.

Woking had  two great chances to make the points safe through Betsy and Lee Sawyer.

But poor finishing meant Hill had to endure five tense minutes of time added on before breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Hill added: “Honestly, I was relieved at the final whistle because I wanted it for the players – they’ve worked very hard in our away games and not quite got their reward.

“Not winning can soon add up but we got the break and the points here which we totally deserved. It’s a very, very big three points for us.”

 

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.

 

GARRY HILL has described Giuseppe Sole’s lengthy injury lay-off as “the worst thing in the world”.

Record-breaking Sole, who scored 15 goals in 11 consecutive games at the end of last season, is out for 12 months after seriously damaging ligaments in his knee against Dartford last month.

And with Hill’s wafer thin squad struggling for goals, losing his star striker for the entirety of the campaign comes as a real kick in the teeth.

LOSS - Giuseppe Sole will be out for 12 months

LOSS – Giuseppe Sole will be out for 12 months

Hill said: “Giuseppe Sole is a big loss and we were very disappointed for him when we heard the news.

“When you talk about losing a player with Gez’s scoring ratio in the second game of the season it’s always going to be a big blow -but that’s football.

“It’s the worst thing in the world when you are working with 17-18 lads to get a major injury to one of your players.

“To lose Gez the way we have is a blow but at the end of the day all clubs get their injuries.

“We knew it was going to be tough for us this year but I’ve got to be upbeat as a manager and we’ve got to try and be upbeat as a club.”

Lady luck has not been kind to Woking on the injury front under Hill’s reign at Kingfield.

Captain Mark Ricketts was side-lined with a broken leg for more than six months last season, while now departed Paris Cowan-Hall was also a frequent visitor to the treatment room.

But the manager is convinced the tide will turn and bring with it an upturn in fortune both on and off the pitch.

He said: “What goes around comes around and hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.

“It’s been a little bit awkward at the moment but there won’t be any additional pressure on the players.

“We’ve played some lovely football on the road but things haven’t quite gone our way and we are getting punished.

“People can’t forget that we’ve had a real hard start away from home.

“We’ve played three really fancied teams in Wrexham, Hereford and Mansfield and given a good account of ourselves.

“Our other away game was against Forest Green and they are top of the league so we are taking the positives out of those fixtures. “

Though he likes to keep his dealings in the transfer market hushed, Hill suggested his hands could be tied when it comes to finding a replacement.

The manager added: “Unfortunately we are not over blessed financially and we’ll have to have a think about what we now can and can’t do.

“Sometimes setbacks can make you a stronger person and we’ve got to be strong now.

“I’m upbeat about the situation, I’m trying to be positive and we are going to push on.”