GARRY HILL reckons Woking have shown their mettle after surviving their Blue Square Premier baptism.
Cards were dealt a daunting run of away fixtures to kick-off the campaign and failed to take a single point from any of their first four games on the road.
But defeats to Wrexham, Forest Green, Mansfield and Hereford were finally banished with a commanding victory over 10-man Stockport.
“We were deserved winners,” said Hill. “No game is easy in this division so to come to Edgeley Park and beat Stockport is a great lift for the players.
“We’ve had a tough baptism to this league but I feel we’ve done better than results suggest. Even though we found ourselves behind we showed great desire to get back into it.”
Alex Kenyon gave County the perfect start with a headed goal inside 15 minutes.
But Gavin McCallum levelled things up with a mazy run and finish just nine minutes later.
Hill rolled the dice in the second-half and having already sacrificed Mark Ricketts for the more attack-minded Dean Sinclair, brought off McCallum and threw on Loick Pires.
And the change worked a treat as just two minutes after coming on, Pires cut in from the right and fired a low shot past Ian Ormson to give Cards the lead.Honestly, I was relieved at the final whistle because I wanted it for the players
On the switch that acted as a catalyst for Woking’s first away win of the season, Hill said: “As a manager you’ve got to take responsibility and make the big decisions.
“I felt today that we could build on our first-half display and go on and win the game.
“Loick is a little bit low on confidence at the moment and is still raw at this level but he’ll be alright.
“He knows which part of his game he wants to improve and I have no doubt he’ll do just that.”
In contrast, Stockport’s second-half substitutions proved disastrous.
With his side chasing the game, Jim Gannon made a 77th-minute double switch, hauling off Sam Sheridan and Danny Rowe for Jon Nolan and Alex Meaney.
But just three minutes after coming on, 20-year-old Nolan was trudging back to the dressing room.
The midfielder was immediately cautioned for a tug on Kevin Betsy as the Cards threatened to break forward.
And he was given his marching orders moments later after flying in on Adam Doyle as he made a clearance down the line.
Woking had two great chances to make the points safe through Betsy and Lee Sawyer.
But poor finishing meant Hill had to endure five tense minutes of time added on before breathing a huge sigh of relief.
Hill added: “Honestly, I was relieved at the final whistle because I wanted it for the players – they’ve worked very hard in our away games and not quite got their reward.
“Not winning can soon add up but we got the break and the points here which we totally deserved. It’s a very, very big three points for us.”