HAVING arrived back from Torquay in the early hours after Tuesday night’s late 1-0 loss, 276 Cards fans filled up their tanks and headed west once again for their first league visit to a lively Memorial Ground.
Darrell Clarke’s Pirates seem to have adjusted to Conference football, winning four on the bounce after taking just one point from their first three games.
Although this season’s Conference giants, and their large following, will be hoping this is merely a temporary adjustment as they look to bounce straight back to League football.
Visiting Cards fans might dare to dream of a reunion in League Two next season, with Woking still sitting in the play-off places in fourth, after a dream start to the current campaign, taking 21 points out of a possible 33.
Although with ambitious Rovers’ plans for a 20,000-seater mega-arena on the table, this could well be Cards’ fans’ only chance to sample the pasties at the famous old ground.
The Pirates, also known as the Gasmen, stepped on the gas from the first whistle, flinging in some dangerous crosses before the Cambridge United loanee, Adam Cunnington, volleyed a deep cross past the Cards’ very own loaned player, Ross Worner.
Boss Garry Hill said the week’s tough travel schedule had caught Woking sleeping early on.
“We didn’t get going the first 15 minutes today which was a bit disappointing really.
“We found ourselves one goal behind in the first 10 minutes,” said Hill.
“We’ve had a disappointing, frustrating four days, done a lot of miles, and so have all the supporters.
“I think the game on Tuesday against Torquay was a tough one to take in the last minute and conceding the goal early today hasn’t helped us.”
England ‘C’ call-up Josh Payne headed off to the St George’s Park training camp after another stand-out shift in Cards’ midfield – almost equalising just a minute after falling behind, but sent a cut-back wide.
Despite being under the cosh early on, Woking were denied what Hill and the visiting contingent saw as a stonewall handball by midfielder Stuart Sinclair.
The only problem was that the officials didn’t see it.
“He didn’t (just) handball it, he had it in his hands. I think the ref must have been unsighted because the player that handballed it must have looked at every destination on the ball to see where he was going on his holidays for the next 10 years,” said Hill, trying to make light of his side’s bad luck.
Woking got a handle on the game themselves either side of half time, bossing the possession against their illustrious hosts, although not quite cutting through into the final third. Payne, Dean Morgan and Goddard all went high, wide and handsome when trying their luck from distance.
Cards’ leading scorer Scott Rendell couldn’t add to his eight goals as he nodded a deep centre from the left into the side netting after the hour mark; the ex-Gasman having played a handful of games for Rovers in 2011.
But it was to be déjà vu for Rendell and his team-mates as they drew a blank and were killed off by a free-kick in the dying minutes for the second time in a whirlwind week.
Forward Lee Mansell this time was the man driving the clincher high into Worner’s top corner.
“Torquay and Bristol Rovers have both shown their intent to get back in the Football League,” was Hill’s assessment of his week down west.
“But it’s no disgrace to be where we’re sitting after 11 games. We’ll be determined to put it right next week.”