FOOTBALL: WOKING made it two wins and two clean sheets in 72 hours at Kingfield as they forged full steam ahead up to second in the Conference table.
After a battling 1-0 win over Braintree Town at the weekend, Woking doubled their efforts to see off Altrincham by two goals to nil, courtesy of second-half Jack Marriott and Scott Rendell strikes.
And with results going their way elsewhere on Tuesday night, Woking powered past third-placed Bristol Rovers after the Gas were held at Wrexham, and also leapfrogged second-placed Grimsby – over who Garry Hill’s men still hold the ace of a game in hand.
The Cards started like a steam train on a chilly evening, but were hoping that they wouldn’t be made to rue stray attempts on goal – with John Goddard passing up a hat-trick of gilt-edged chances within the opening 10 minutes alone.
Credit to 17th-placed Altrincham, they weren’t to be steamrollered. Lee Sinnott’s part-time side have shown great staying power in recent games, with all nine of their November goals coming in the second-half of games as the Robins plucked points from full-time opponents, Grimsby, Lincoln City, Wrexham and Kidderminster Harriers.
It looked as if Woking had run out of puff, until the opening minutes after the break that is, when Marriott bundled a Josh Payne corner over the line. Fans will be hoping that Marriott’s goal will fire the speedy 20-year-old back to his locomotive best form of 12 months ago when the youngster was scoring for fun.
Top scorer Rendell – without a goal in four matches himself before Tuesday night’s fixture – all but sealed the points as he stretched to net a 14th goal of his prolific season.
Like fellow scorer Marriott, Rendell owed a debt of gratitude to midfield schemer Payne for the assist; who somehow threaded the pass of the night through a packed penalty area full of yellow shirts. Boss Hill had said pre-game that his part-time side were ‘still punching above their weight’.
They have now reached the half-way mark having amassed a formidable tally of 42 points in 23 games. Only pre-season title favourites Barnet on 49 points can boast a better return than the Cards, although alongside Grimsby, Woking still hold a game in hand over the Bees in what is shaping up to be a highly competitive second-half of the 2014/15 Conference season.
Gaffer Hill and assistant Steve Thompson will no doubt be stoking the coals on the training ground ahead of Saturday afternoon’s trip to fifth-in-the-table Macclesfield Town at Moss Rose.
The management duo will want to ensure that the profligacy in front of goal which has crept in at crucial times in recent games – with Goddard, Marriott and defender James Clarke all guilty against Alty on Tuesday night – isn’t going to derail form as they head into the coal face of the season.