DELIGHTED Woking supporters were bowled over by this resounding FA Trophy win as the Cards hit visitors Maidenhead United for six at Kingfield.
The Magpies have become something of a bogey side for Garry Hill’s side in recent years – never more so than in the FA Cup 3-0 horror show last Halloween.
Woking trailed 1-0 at half-time, as they had in October, but a revitalised Cards showed they would not accept another knockout blow from their local rivals – with six second-half goals raining down at a sleety Kingfield to send the hosts through to Round Three.
Having pulled themselves level thanks to Giuseppe Sole, a Keiran Murtagh brace, an own goal from United’s Alan Massey, one from Joe Quigley and the pick of the bunch from Chris Arthur in stoppage time sealed Cards’ safe passage into the draw hat.
In his programme notes, Hill said his players simply ‘didn’t turn up’ for that sobering cup clash – after which the manager and the Kingfield hierarchy infamously transfer listed the entire squad, so inept did they deem the display against their lower league opponents.
Both bosses, Hill and United’s Alan Devonshire, agreed in the lead up to this rematch that the tables have turned with the seasons in the intervening months – with Hill’s prediction of a ‘harsh winter’ proving a false forecast.
Maidenhead were the team in form heading into that headline-making cup win, but this time around they were without a win in five matches.
Meanwhile, the Cards were favourites with the bookies on the back of a seven-game unbeaten streak.
Six of Hill’s squad that travelled to Berkshire in October have since taken up the club’s invitation to ply their trade elsewhere – while coming in were former Cobham youngster Gary Abisogun for his debut from the subs bench, and former trialist Alex Smith, who made the matchday 16 having signed on a free transfer earlier in the week.
Despite the new faces, it had seemed as if Devonshire would once again outfox his Essex mate Hill as forward Dave Tarpey netted for the National League South outfit – just as he had in the side’s previous encounter.
A mix up in the back line between Murtagh and Mark Ricketts – the skipper deputising in defence for the tonsillitis-stricken Joey Jones – allowed Tarpey to steal in to open the scoring on the half hour mark.
Trailing again to their nemesis at the break, not many inside an icy Kingfield would have taken a flutter on six goals finding their way into the back of former Woking goalkeeper Carl Pentney’s net in the second half – home boss Hill admitting that he and assistant Steve Thompson had to fire up their frozen players during the interval.
“We got into them at half time, me and Steve Thompson, and told them a few home truths… and we had the ideal start to the second half by getting ourselves level,” said Hill. That precious leveller arrived just two minutes into the second period: Sole on hand to slam home on the rebound from strike partner Quigley’s header.
Hill and Thompson urged their men forward from the sidelines, keen to press home their new-found momentum – and the tie was turned on it’s head on the hour mark as Murtagh got his head to a Bruno Andrade corner to beat Pentney from close range.
Five minutes later and it was double joy for Murtagh as he volleyed in his second – Woking’s third – to finish off an excellent run from his midfield pal John Goddard.
Cards playmaker Goddard epitomised this slow-burner of a performance by the home team – the Woking No11 taking until the final quarter of the tie to really get the upper hand on marker Ryan Peters and the visitors’ back line.
It was Magpies centre-back Alan Massey who gifted Woking their fourth goal – to kill off any faint hopes of a late Maidenhead rally to force a replay – as the United captain put through his own net with 10 minutes to go.
There was still time for Quigley to notch his sixth Woking goal: volleying in from close range after Brian Saah had headed a Sole corner back across the face of goal.
With the Maidenhead players dead on their feet, Hill threw on young forward Abisogun for his bow in the closing stages.
And, while the 19-year-old couldn’t make his a scoring debut, he did have one of the best views in the house for what must surely be the leading contender for goal of this year’s FA Trophy tournament – from the unlikely boot of full-back Arthur.
Collecting the ball in the centre circle, the pacy wide man drove straight at the heart of the United defence, breezing through the midfield with a step over before rifling a blockbuster of a left-footed hit into the top corner of Pentney’s net from fully 35 yards out.
Post-match boss Hill described the effort as ‘a wonder strike’, adding: “We’ve had to live with the disappointment and the embarrassment of our performances against Maidenhead in the past but we’ve sent the fans home happy.”