garry hill

Cambridge United 1
Woking 0

A heartbreaking late winner dashed Woking’s hopes of edging closing to the 50 point survival target manager Garry Hill set at the start of the season.

It seemed as though the Cards were heading for a first at Cambridge – a first 0-0 draw of the season.

The last time they recorded that score was way back in October 2011 against Salisbury City, but Tom Shaw capitalised on Seb Brown’s error to hand the U’s all three points deep into added time.

The home side’s goal rubbed more salt in Woking’s wounds as moments before the Cards should have been awarded a penalty after Jayden Stockley was brought down.

Ref Robbie Whitton’s decision not to point to the penalty spot left Hill furious. He said: “You could see quite clearly from our end that the Cambridge player grabbed him (Jayden Stockley).

“I cannot believe what I have seen in respect of the referee just waved his arms as if nothing had happened. Why didn’t he book him for diving? It was a very, very bad decision from the referee. Any person in the ground today would say that it was an out and out blatant penalty. I just cannot believe what I have seen.”

Cambridge had all of the play in the first 15 minutes. Nathan Blissett’s flicked shot was held by Brown at his near post before the former Kidderminster man, who had troubled Woking at Kingfield earlier this season, headed wide from eight yards.

Lee Sawyer returned to the starting XI following his four game ban but even the exuberant creative midfielder couldn’t weather the U’s early storm.

But the former Chelsea and Southend youngster put in a put in a good performance to satisfy his boss.

Hill said: “He’s a good player (Lee Sawyer) and everyone knows that. There’s no secret about it, Lee let himself down in a bad way. He’s been disciplined by the club, disciplined by myself and he’s taken his punishment and accepts it.

“We’ve had a meeting and a chat with him and told him the standards we expect and need on and off the field.”

John Nutter put in a low cross out of Sawyer’s reach which was as close as Woking struggled to have an impact in the opening 45.

Hill knew his side were in good shape to come away with three points going into the second periods but rued his side’s missed chances.

The gaffer moaned: “I felt confident we could go on and win the game. Second half we had some good opportunities and we were trying to win the game, there’s no doubt about that.”

Kevin Betsy should have put Woking ahead when he found some space at the back stick – but his effort only found the side netting.

Then came the game’s flash point as Cards were denied a spot kick after being bundled to the ground when free in the box.

Hill was seething at Whitton’s decision and waited around at full time for an explanation.

He raged: “I’m disappointed with the referee. I’ll go and see him but that’s not going to achieve anything. I’d like to know how he’s made his decision, why he’s made his decision and if he can explain it to me I’d like to hear what he says.”

And it went from bad to worse for Woking in the third of three added minutes when Brown failed to punch the ball clearCurtis Haynes-Brown’s cross.

The delivery fell to Tom Shaw who with all but the last touch of the game headed into the far corner to give the U’s the three points.

Hill made it clear his keeper should have dealt with the situation.

“From where I am he should have dealt with it better. We’ll have a look at it, I’ve got a view at the moment but I’d like to see it again. It does hurt, there’s no doubt about that but when you see the events in the last two or three minutes of the game it is hard to accept.”

Woking: Brown,  Newton (Frith, 67mins), Ricketts, McNerney, Parkinson, Bubb (McCallum, 76mins), Betsy, Sawyer, Johnson, Stockley, Nutter.

Attendance: 2054

Woking 2 Forest Green Rovers 0

JACK PARKINSON thundered in a second-half beauty to lift Cards up to ninth on a night when Garry Hill was quizzed about the vacant manager’s post at former club Dagenham and Redbridge.

Parkinson, usually known for his defensive qualities, rattled home a 79th-minute gem after Kevin Betsy had drilled Woking into a 1-0 lead.

JACK THE LAD - Parkinson celebrates his wonder strike

JACK THE LAD – Parkinson celebrates his wonder strike

And after claiming a sixth win in eight games to gatecrash the top half of the table, Hill moved quickly to assure fans his future lies at Kingfield.

The gaffer said: “Dagenham is a club I have had some great times with and some great memories. All chapters move on in life and I’m very happy with where I am.”

Hill had nothing but praise for his industrious team who ran themselves into the ground to secure back-to-back wins.

He added: “There is a big gulf between part-time and full-time in this league, but if you’ve got heart and if you want it bad enough, it’s surprising how far you can go.”

Full report and pictures in this week’s News & Mail – out Thursday.

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

 

Hereford 2
Woking 1

GARRY HILL is suffering from an awful case of déjà vu as his trouble on the road shows no sign of slowing.

Cards fell to a fourth successive league defeat for the first time since February 2009 and are yet to collect a single point on their travels this season.

An early strike from Ashley Sammons and Sam Clucas’ curling effort just before half-time gave Hereford an unassailable lead at Edgar Street.

Kevin Betsy bundled home an 81st-minute consolation but it was the recurring manner in which Woking are shipping goals that is of most concern to their manager.

Woking have now conceded six goals in the final five minutes of either half in their first seven games.

CONSOLATION - Kevin Betsy scores Woking's goal

CONSOLATION – Kevin Betsy scores Woking’s goal

A frustrated Hill said: “We are giving a good account of ourselves but things aren’t quite going our way at the moment.

“We found ourselves 1-0 down early on – same old story. We gave a present away on the stroke of half-time – same old story.

“But we showed a lot of character for a side that is thin on numbers, we dug in deep and I’m disappointed with the end result.

“I thought we were worth half a loaf and deserved a point from the game.”

Cards were punished for a sloppy start when Sammons blasted Hereford into a 5th-minute lead.

Sean Canham showed great desire to hunt down Joe McNerney as he was about to clear.

The striker stole possession in Woking’s box, shifted on to his right and launched an effort at goal.

I couldn’t have had any player available tonight who could have given more commitment and more effort than what the lads showed in these second-half

The danger was only half cleared and Sammons, who pulled all the strings in a busy first 45, rifled a 25-yard effort into the bottom left corner.

Woking’s first real chance of the half arrived in the form of Jack Parkinson in the 30th minute.

Gavin McCallum’s whipped corner fell to the former Welling man inside the six-yard box and only a combination of keeper Dan Hanford, Stefan Stam and Harry Pell was able to stop the ball going over the line.

Two minutes later Loick Pires took a great opportunity off the toes of Lee Sawyer who was storming in to smash home Gavin McCallum’s low cross.

But as Woking’s presence in the game grew so did the influence of Sammons.

The midfielder’s disguised pass sent Ryan Bowman clean through but the striker failed to apply the finish to a wonderful move and clipped wide from just inside the area.

But, just as in previous away fixtures with Wrexham and Mansfield, Woking surrendered the vital second goal right on the verge of half-time.

Mike Cestor was the guilty party this week, dwelling on the ball in his own 18-yard box and inviting Clucas to steal possession.

The winger’s curling finish into the top corner was sublime, but Cestor’s criminal defending leaves Woking with it all to do in Saturday’s now must-win meeting with Nuneaton.

But despite being shorn of key personnel and with injuries taking their toll, Hill hinted that he will not be dipping into the loan market just yet.

The manager added:  “Where we are sitting at the moment is a little frustrating but I still believe that we’ll get to the 50 points we need and that we’ll be a conference club next year.

“We’re thin on bodies which is no secret but I couldn’t have had any player available tonight who could have given more commitment and more effort than what the lads showed in these second-half.”

On the hour Hill threw McNerney up front in an attempt to give Woking a presence in the final third.

Sawyer’s one-two with Betsy resulted in an effort that was tipped just wide by Hanford.

But the Bulls always looked a rampaging threat on the break and Pell could have extended their lead, only to steer a low cross into the side netting with Aaron Howe rooted.

McCallum stung the hands of Hanford and with nine minutes to play Woking dragged themselves back into contention from a corner.

McNerney’s header was well saved by Hanford, but the keeper could only parry the ball into the path of Betsy who bundled home from a yard out.

McCallum’s deflected effort forced a smart stop from the keeper as the game moved into the final minutes.

But it was Hereford who came closest to netting the fourth goal of game when substitute Tom Nichols struck the outside of the post.

CLOSE - Gavin McCallum hit the bar

CLOSE – Gavin McCallum hit the post

Mansfield 3
Woking 1

WOKING had no answer to non-league’s Rory Delap as the Stags left the Cards high and dry at Field Mill.

Deadline-day signing Exodus Geohaghon and his prolific long throws caused the damage as goals from Louis Briscoe and Matt Rhead gave Mansfield a two-goal cushion at the break.

Woking hit back six minutes from time through Joe McNerney to set up a grandstand finish.

But substitutes Nick Wright and Jake Speight combined in time added on to seal the points and consign Garry Hill to a third straight defeat.

And the manager admits Mansfield’s timely acquisition of Geohaghon had a huge bearing on the course of this goalfest.

Hill said: “We were very unlucky not to get a share of the spoils – the scoreline has flattered them.

“I think apart from the long throw, which acted as a great weapon for them, we bossed the game.

“It’s a throw which everyone has to deal with so I won’t make excuses but if he had signed a day later it might have been handy.

“We go away disappointed with the result but not with the performance, we were upbeat and very creative.

“What’s important now is to get out of this rut, if we get in a bit of a rut confidence can get low but that wasn’t the case against Mansfield.

“It doesn’t help us but anybody who watched the game will say we were unlucky, with the chances we created, not to get a point.

“We aren’t getting that little bit of luck at the minute and everything seems to be going against us but I’m sure in time it will start to go our way.”

Cards were by no means outplayed by their hotly-favoured hosts but what Woking lacked in the final third Mansfield possessed in abundance.

A self-assured conviction in front of goal served the Stags well and they took the lead in the 10th minute.

Woking failed to deal with Geohaghon’s laser-guided missile of a throw and Briscoe was allowed to drill a low shot past Aaron Howe from inside the area.

Cards were neat and tidy in position and, after being handed a place in the starting line-up, Gavin McCallum rewarded his manager’s faith with a series of penetrating runs.

But Woking were blunt in the final third and rarely threatened Alan Marriott in the Mansfield goal.

Luke Jones blazed over from inside the six-yard box as Geohaghon’s bullet throws continued to cause the visitors problems.

After setting up the opener Geohaghon almost got himself on the score sheet with a powerful left-foot volley that was cleared off the line by Kevin Betsy.

McNerney’s curling free-kick and McCallum’s 35-yard effort drew saves from Marriott, but it was Mansfield who made the most of their chances, doubling their lead with the final kick of the half.

Cards looked to be springing a counter attack when McCallum lost possession to Colin Daniel deep inside his own half.

The defender found Matt Green whose slide rule pass tripped the Woking offside trap releasing Rhead to coolly prod home a second.

Reflecting on what proved to be a huge moment in an otherwise even contest, Hill admitted his players need to cut out the mistakes in an unforgiving division.

He said: “We got punished when it looked like we were on the breakaway.

“We had players breaking out of the box but we gave the ball away cheaply, they slipped the ball in behind us and we got punished.

“That’s the difference at this level, a bad pass can be very costly whereas in the Conference South, we might have been able to get away with it.

“I thought in the second-half we bossed it but it wasn’t meant to be.”

McCallum came close to making amends for his earlier error when he hit the inside of the post – only the faintest of touches from Marriott denied the winger.

Howe spread himself brilliantly to keep out Briscoe after the forward had bundled through a cluster of Woking players.

Marriott got a strong hand to Jack Parkinson’s swerving free-kick but watched thankfully as Brett Williams sent the rebound into the side netting.

Cards dragged themselves to within one goal of a dramatic turnaround when Lee Sawyer’s scooped pass was converted from a narrow angle by McNerney.

But with Woking pressing for an equaliser Mansfield were able to break and secure the points through Speight’s powerful shot.

FOCUS - Loick Pires is determined to build on his latest performance

FOCUS – Loick Pires is determined to build on his latest performance

LOICK PIRES is keeping his feet firmly on the ground after running Barrow ragged on Saturday.

Cards’ level-headed hit-man turned in the performance of the season as Woking crushed the Cumbrian’s 3-1 at Kingfield.

Pires drilled home a decisive third in 79th-minute as Garry Hill’s men battled back from a goal down to make it six points from a possible nine this season.

And despite rave reviews from his manager and fans alike, Pires refused to get caught up in the hype, instead focusing only on Saturday’s game with Forest Green Rovers and the chance of another three points.

If the manager believes in a player then they are already halfway there

After netting his first competitive goal for the Cards, the forward said: “It’s always good to get off the mark as I striker – scoring goals is what we are bought to do and I felt good against Barrow.

“It was a massive relief on my part but now I can look forward to the next game and try to build on that.

“It was always going to be a battle with the heat but I finally showed what I can really do.

“In the first two games I was a bit quiet by my own standards but things started happening for me on Saturday and I was pleased to get the three points.

“As a young player I’m looking for consistency and to try and improve in every game.

“I know what football is like – there are games when we all look good, but then there are some days when that might not happen.

“The minimum you’ll get is hard work and determination from me and my team-mates.”

His bullish performance, coupled with a result that lifts Woking up to seventh in the table, had Hill swooning come full-time.

In his post-match interview the Kingfield boss backed Pires to bag a minimum of 15 league goals this term, a prediction that did not faze the striker.

Pires said: “If the manager believes in a player then they are already halfway there.

“I know what I can do, the manager knows what I can do and it’s up to me to play my part in the team.

“If I get 10, 15, 20 goals then great but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself.

“My main focus is to contribute to the team in order for us to get where we want to be.”

Pires revealed the Woking dressing room was oozing with confidence after a superb start to the season and that there was no chance the Cards would settle for just a point in their next fixture.

He added: “We go into every game wanting to win, we are an ambitious team and an ambitious football club.

“There isn’t a team in this league that we’ll sit back against and try to consolidate for a draw.

“Once it’s eleven vs. eleven we know we can beat anyone on our day.

“I think you can see with the signings the gaffer has made that although we want to be solid defensively, we want to show what we can do in attack.

“I think that was reflected particularly in the second-half against Barrow.”

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.

 

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