kingfield

Woking 1 Mansfield 2

CONTROVERSY reigned at Kingfield last night after an attack on the away team dressing room.

A Woking fan was believed to have thrown a brick through a window and into the room where Mansfield were celebrating a smash and grab victory over the Cards.

But Woking chairman Mike Smith later issued a statement confirming that no brick had been hurled and the supporter had used his hand to break the glass.

SPOT ON - Bradley Bubb celebrates his penalty leveller Picture by: David Holmes

SPOT ON – Bradley Bubb celebrates his penalty leveller Picture by: David Holmes

Mr Smith said:  “Following last night’s Blue Square Bet Premier home game against Mansfield Town, an individual home supporter, who was exiting the stadium broke the window to the away team dressing room with his hand.

“Stories about a brick being thrown are untrue. Mansfield officials and players were inside the room and thankfully, no one was injured.

“For reasons of personal safety and in the interests of wider safety and crowd management, ground operations staff and security removed the individual from the situation, as Mansfield players and officials understandably reacted. Order was quickly restored.

“On behalf of Woking Football Club and its supporters, I apologised to the directors, players and officials of Mansfield Town, which was accepted.

“The individual responsible is known to the club as a season ticket holder and has had the privilege removed. In addition, he has also been informed he is no longer welcome at the club. Woking Football Club has also referred the matter to Surrey Police.

“This kind of behaviour is repulsive and deplorable to all proper fans of football. It has no place in football or at Kingfield.”

Mansfield keeper Alan Marriott, who allegedly suffered a small cut, tweeted: “Something defo came through the window and got me!”

But he also said he didn’t believe the object used to smash the glass was a brick.

Mansfield manager Paul Cox said: “Thankfully Alan was facing the other direction and only suffered a small cut. The shards of glass were huge and someone could have been blinded or scarred for life.”

Cox claimed he had also been spat at and said: “It went straight into my eye. I wouldn’t accept that on the street so I am not accepting that just because I am a football manager.”

Bradley Bubb’s 69th-minute penalty cancelled out Louis Briscoe’s strike but Matt Jones popped up with a winner 13 minutes from time to leave Woking empty handed.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.”

BRAWL - a fan was ejected from the stadium after entering the pitch

BRAWL – a fan was ejected from the stadium after entering the pitch

Woking 1
Dartford 0

THOUGH he refused to admit it, Garry Hill will be mightily relieved to have escaped this feisty encounter with all three points.

It took a Giuseppe Sole penalty eight minutes from the end to separate ­Woking and old Blue Square South adversaries Dartford at Kingfield.

And even that came from a foul on Loick Pires that looked to be more outside the box than in.

But the late drama of the winner does not even begin to scratch the surface of a fixture teeming with chaos.

Add to the mix the fact Dartford were reduced to 10 men when Lee Noble was dismissed midway through the first-half.

Not that Hill was expecting anything less than a brutal examination from a Darts side that tirelessly chased the Cards for so much of last season.

He said: “There are no games in this league where you can turn around and expect to win.

“What you can expect, whether it is home or away, every game you play is going to be hard.

“Dartford certainly had the upperhand in the first 20 minutes and we knew they were going to be a tough, competitive team.

“We knew that it would be hard – even more so as we were both beaten on Saturday.

“One goal was always going to win it and that’s the dividing line.

“But we got the breaks and I don’t think there is a better man under pressure in a penalty situation than
Gez Sole.

“I’ve said it before, it doesn’t matter who you play, every game in this league is going to be tough – it was a big three points.”

Woking looked all at sea in a woeful opening half-hour as they failed to create any chances of note against a solid looking Darts backline.

At the  other end, the visitor’s decision to go with two target men up front gave them the early edge.

A sliced clearance over his own crossbar was the only way Joe McNerney could relieve the pressure caused by Adam Green’s dangerous ball across the face of goal.

The subdued Pires was hacked to the ground twice in the opening 15 minutes but it was Dartford who were benefitting from Woking’s set-pieces.

Noble was allowed to break from deep inside his own half and threaded a pass to Jacob Erskine down the right channel.

The lumbering forward had the beating of Brett Johnson, but Aaron Howe was more than equal to his tame shot at the near post.

Bradley Bubb eventually tested Louis Wells in the Dartford goal on the half-hour mark, jinking into the area before drawing a smart save.

But it was five minutes of madness from dangerman Noble that turned the tide and handed Woking the initiative.

After scything down Kevin Betsy on the edge of the area, the Dartford midfielder then arrived late on Mike Cestor and was duly dismissed by  referee Dean Treleaven.

On the sending off, Hill said: “It was a big decision but it was the right ­decision – both fouls were bookable ­offences.

“Dartford know they can have no complaints and the boy knows he can have no complaints. He had a mad five minutes where he lost it.”

The dynamic of the match shifted and Woking ended the half in the ascendancy.

Bang on half-time Lee Sawyer travelled almost 50 yards before releasing a shot straight at Wells.

And a minute into stoppage time, on-loan forward Brett Williams produced a gut-busting run of his own before releasing a shot at the keeper.

A reluctance to recycle possession stifled Woking’s progress at start of the second-half.

But when Sawyer’s corner was headed clear by Jacob Erskine, Adam Newton controlled the ball on his chest and unleashed a swerving strike that seemed destined for the top corner until the fingertips of Wells intervened.

Bubb was lucky to see Danny Harris toe-poke well over from a narrow angle after the Woking winger surrendered possession in his own box with an hour played.

And with 23 minutes left on the clock Hill rolled the dice, hauling off Bubb and throwing on last season’s top
goalscorer Sole.

As the game moved into the final 10 minutes, Sole stepped up to demonstrate why a player of his calibre should not be warming the bench.

Pires latched on to McNerney’s incisive long throw and was pulled to the ground as he surged into the area.

The linesman raised his flag and the referee pointed to the spot, although it looked as if Pires had been fouled
outside the box.

Dartford players disputed the decision, none more so than Wells, who picked up a caution for moving the ball from the spot as Sole readied himself.

Unfazed, the classy forward sent the keeper the wrong way, slotting the penalty into the bottom left corner.

But there was more chaos for officials to address after the goal as Wells and Sole squared up before dragging a melee of players into the advertising hoardings.

One fan, who entered the pitch, was ejected from the stadium and play finally resumed.

One sour note was the sight of match-winner Sole hobbling out of the ground on crutches.

Hill will be praying his star forward makes a speedy recovery.

POTENTIAL - Hill has secured the services of Brett Williams on loan

POTENTIAL – Hill has secured the services of Brett Williams on loan

GARRY HILL has snapped up nomadic midfielder Dean Sinclair just a day after announcing that Reading forward Brett Williams had joined the club on loan.

Sinclair will get a crack at the Blue Square Premier after impressing Hill and assistant Steve Thompson during his trial at Kingfield.

The versatile 27-year-old started his career with Norwich before going on to score 19 goals in 125 appearances for Barnet.

He secured a switch to Charlton in 2007 but spent much of his four year stay at the Valley on loan at either Cheltenham or Grimsby.

Sinclair dropped into non-league football with Arlesey Town in 2011 but was picked up by Hayes & Yeading and then Lowestoft Town before Hill offered him the chance to make his mark at Kingfield.

The Cards chief also adds hot propspect Williams to his attacking arsenal after finalising a long-term loan deal for the striker.

Williams – who led the line in the 2-1 win over Aldershot on Saturday – came through the ranks at Eastleigh before sealing a switch to the Madjeski in January 2011.

He found the net twice whilst on loan with Rotherham last season before finishing the campaign with three goals in 18 appearances for League Two Northampton.

Reaction to follow

ON THE GOAL TRAIL - Loick Pires now has two goals in two games for the Cards

ON THE GOAL TRAIL – Loick Pires now has two goals in two games for the Cards

GARRY HILL has stoked the fire ahead of the season curtain raiser and warned Wrexham: “We’ll be ready.”

Speaking after his side outgunned Aldershot 2-1 in their final pre-season friendly, Hill declared himself happy with the way preparations had concluded.

He said: “I expect every team in the Blue Square Premier to be competitive but we’ll be ready – I’m sure of that.”

I’m sure there will be a certain degree of excitement next Saturday at 3pm for sure

Defeat to minnows Windsor in July was quickly rectified with subsequent wins over Crawley and AFC Wimbledon, while a spirited display against a QPR select XI will have given the manager huge encouragement.

Cards were held to back-to-back 1-1 draws at Carshalton and Hornchurch, but goals from Loick Pires and Jack Parkinson ensured Woking’s pre-season ended on a high against the Shots.

Attention now turns to the opening day trip to the Racecourse Ground and Hill believes the Cards – who are still looking to bring in three more players before the start of the campaign – must adapt quickly or risk a harsh culture shock.

Hill added: “We know it’s going to be tough going up to Wrexham but we’ll look forward to it – it’s something we’ve been waiting for since we won promotion. I’m sure there will be a certain degree of excitement next Saturday at 3pm for sure.

“We’re level-headed at the club and I’ve always been quite reserved on things so the number one aim is to get 50 points – I think that gives you the first cushion to build with going forward.

“I think we are going to go to some places and get a rude awakening and we’re going to learn a certain amount as we go along in the league.

“The boys have worked hard and we’ll be at the level we need to be next week – we’ve just got to go through a few things to make sure we are ready for Saturday.”

Pires bagged his second goal in as many games to give Woking a third minute lead against old foes Aldershot.

Kevin Betsy’s deep corner was kept alive at the back post by Parkinson and in the resulting melee Pires was able to hammer home a loose clearance from close-range.

And it was Woking’s Welling-connection that helped double their lead midway through the second half.

Lee Sawyer’s deflected cross sparked confusion in the Aldershot area and Parkinson was alert to smash in from inside the six-yard box.

Shots pulled one back minutes later when Michael Rankine got on the end of Jordan Roberts’ in-swinging corner, but that was to conclude the afternoon’s scoring.

The goals may have stopped but the drama was far from over and after the break Sawyer was amazingly denied by the woodwork at both ends.

A long back pass eluded Aaron Howe and hit the upright before a controlled effort at the other end grazed the outside of Jordan Clement’s post.

Doug Bergqvist should have seen a late red for a tug on trialist Kurtis Guthrie with the striker clean through on goal but he escaped with a caution.

Tackles flew in from both teams but Woking came through the tussle unscathed, victory over the old enemy teeing them up perfectly for the clash with Wrexham.

ON YOUR MARKS - skipper Mark Ricketts is desperate to make up for lost time

ON YOUR MARKS – skipper Mark Ricketts is desperate to make up for lost time

MARK RICKETTS has vowed to become Captain Fantastic as he bids to put last season’s nightmare behind him.

Cards’ no-nonsense leader has been waiting patiently for his return to first team action for nearly eight months.
During his absence Woking have celebrated a return to the Blue Square Premier and basked in the glory of a Surrey Senior Cup final triumph.

And though the skipper remained a prominent figure around the club, watching from the sidelines has left the captain craving a return to the limelight.

With the start of the new season just days away, Ricketts says the frustration of missing so much of last season will drive him forward into the new campaign.

Missing so much of last season definitely fuels me going into the new campaign. I’ve been really excited about every pre-season game so far

He said: “I’ve been away quite a while and I’ll be doing all I can to make sure Woking have a good season – I hope I can be Captain Fantastic.”

Speaking to the Woking News & Mail, Ricketts said that time away fro football had reignited his love for the game.

He reckons the manager has done a tremendous job nursing “an excitable kid” back up to full-fitness, and said he  is looking forward to getting back into the heart of Woking’s engine room.

He said: “I feel good and I feel like I’m at 100 per cent now.

“The gaffer has been careful with the amount of minutes I’ve been playing in games and built it up gradually.

“I’ve felt good in every game I’ve played and post match I’ve felt fresh which is very positive.

“Missing so much of last season definitely fuels me going into the new campaign. I’ve been really excited about every pre-season game so far.

“It’s been like playing football as a kid again. I’m excited for every game anyway but even more so this pre-season – I’m just so happy to be out there and kicking a ball about.

“I have been doing a lot of extra work in my own time to try to get back to max fitness and I want to make sure we achieve something as a club next season.”

Garry Hill has bolstered his rearguard in a bid to make Woking’s defence impenetrable next term.

Ricketts will anchor the midfield infront of new-recruits Brett Johnson and Jack Parkinson – two players the captain believes will play a vital role against the Dragons.

“I’m really looking forward to see how we cope in the league above. The team is taking shape really well which is nice and the strength we have in the squad at the moment is another reason to be excited.

“Brett has come in and done fantastically well, he’s been a great signing for the club as has Jack. They’ve both looked incredibley solid and adding to that is Joe and Doylie who are top-draw centre-halves.

“In those areas we are really strong and, depending on what formation we play next season, I think we’ve got a great core to build around and provide the foundations for when we break forward and go on the attack.

“I like playing in the hole, breaking up play and trying to get the ball rolling again so we can break – that’s an important job.

“All over the world you see players in that role especially when a team plays three in the centre of the park.” And though avoiding relegation remains the club’s top priority, Ricketts is adamant Woking are not just there to make up the numbers.

He firmly believes Hill’s new-look Cards can upset the odds and challenged his team mates to help him banish the personal pain of last season and achieve something truly memorable.

“I want to win something. It would be nice to come away with something next season be it a trophy or a major finish – something big to make up for missing such a large chunk of last season.

“We know it’s going to be a very tough league but we’ll be giving it everything week in, week out.

“There are a lot of top players out there and clubs with bigger budgets than us.

“But the squad the gaffer has put together so far is brilliant and hopefully we can really compete and cause a bit of a surprise.”

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