Basingstoke 0 Woking 3
RED-HOT Giuseppe Sole propelled Woking to the brink of promotion with a double against the team that helped rejuvenate his flagging season.
Sole was teetering on the edge of Kingfield obscurity when Basingstoke sounded out Garry Hill about the possibility of a one-month loan deal for the former England C ace.
Since returning to the league leaders, Sole has netted a staggering 11 times in seven games to give the Cards’ title push a timely boost. And he gave his ex-team-mates little reprieve on Saturday as two first-half strikes set Woking on their way to a comfortable win.
Kevin Betsy added a third after the break before Stuart Lake received a straight red card for kicking the ball at Tom Davis who was lying injured on the floor.
After the win that extends Woking advantage at the top to eight points ahead of Dartford’s clash with Chelmsford tomorrow, boss Hill beamed: “To go and win 3-0 at Basingstoke, who have won their last five and are pushing for the play-offs, is great.
“Gez has done brilliantly and been absolutely first class but I think he is the first to acknowledge the rest of the lads.
Gez has done brilliantly and been absolutely first class but I think he is the first to acknowledge the rest of the lads“They put him in areas of the field where he enjoys his game, where he wants to ask questions and deliver the goods.
“I was very pleased with how professional we were – I’d go as far as to say it was probably our best professional away performance all season.
“At this time of the season there is added pressure. Everyone is aware Basingstoke had been going very well so we’re very pleased.
“The key at this time of the year is having fresh players, a good squad, which we’ve got.”
Cards keeper Aaron Howe had to be alert in the opening moments as Shaun McAuley raced on to a hoofed ball forward, while at the other end Elvis Hammond grazed a post with a smart turn and strike.
Woking did take the lead in the 14th minute, however, when Betsy surged forward on a trademark run.
He was eventually bundled out of possession but the ball bounced kindly for Sole who ripped a powerful volley past the static Ashley Bayes.
Moses Ademola rattled the bar with a long-range strike before a Woking fan was carried out of the ground on a stretcher after taking a tumble over the advertising boards.
Keiran Murtagh survived a handball appeal when a bouncing ball skipped up into his midrift and moments later Woking doubled their lead with Sole’s second of the afternoon.
Glenn Wilson released Ademola down the right and he clipped a dangerous ball towards the near post.
Elvis Hammond’s close-range effort was well saved by Bayes but the keeper could only parry it to the feet of Sole who made no mistake from a yard out.
More than 600 travelling Woking fans danced for joy as Sole’s stock continues its meteoric rise.
Basingstoke never threatened after the restart and despite McAuley volleying wide, failed to register a meaningful effort on target.
A great give and go between Sole and Betsy produced a third – the ex-Wycombe man coolly sliding his shot through the legs of Bayes on 56 minutes.
It would have been four if not for some superb goalkeeping from Bayes who first denied Sole a hat-trick when clean through before getting up to smother Ademola’s rebound.
Lake was given his marching orders for booting the ball at Davis after the whistle had been blown and despite two late efforts from substitue Paris Cowan-Hall, the Cards couldn’t extend their lead.