Written By Declan McCarthy
Woking progress into the round of 16 in the FA Trophy after winning their replay fixture against Conference North side Oxford City as Greg Pearson scored for Oxford but the goal was cancelled out as Josh Payne & John Goddard scored two spectacular goals to sail Woking into the next round, whilst at the same time pocketing £6,000 for the Surrey based club.
Woking went into the game on the back of a poor run of results, one win in 9 games to be exact! So when the team selection came out it was no surprise that Gary Hill only made one change as Kieran Murtagh was dropped to the bench and the explosive John Goddard would come into the side after his goal from the first game between the two sides last weekend.
However, the game didn’t go to plan as Woking conceded within 2 minutes, when a ball came in from the right hand side and it was Oxford striker Pearson who was quicker and sharper to find space in between the Woking defence and slotted home into the back of the Woking net from two yards out and to say the least everyone around Woking were a bit stunned but from an Oxford point of view, it couldn’t have started better.
Woking’s first chance of the game started with Jack Marriott, who didn’t stop running all night, as he picked up the ball from Morgan and shot high and over the bar but from this opportunity it opened up the gateway for more chances for Woking in the half.
With chances flying wide from a Jones header, the game had a pivotal moment which really changed the game and it was the sending off for Alejandro Adrian Santiago who denied Dean Morgan running forward by pulling his shirt and referee Nigel Lugg was quick to reach for his card and issued a straight red. Before Oxford were given time to re-group, Josh Payne had the ball in the back of the net from a delicious free-kick, 20 yards out and Woking were back in the game and more importantly the momentum was with the Cards as Goddard came inches away nearly making it 2-1 shortly after Woking’s first goal.
Oxford did have their chances with Paul Stonehouse shooting from 30 yards out forcing Jake Cole to make a fine save but going into the half time break, there was a sense of frustration from both sides. Oxford frustrated for being a man down in players and Woking for not performing like they know they can and Gary Hill would have said a few words about the level of performance and it showed in the second half as it was by far a lot better.
Woking started the second half brighter than the first as Goddard came close to scoring after beating his man Declan Benjamin, cutting inside, twisting and turning the ball was stuck just wide of the post. The early intentions to attack showed Woking were not stepping of the gas as they did in the first half and Oxford were going to have to dig deep if they wanted to win this tie.
Later in the second half Woking were looking better going forward and of course Chris Arthur played a key role in going forward from the left as he crossed in a ball to Marriott who just pulled the shot wide again, Woking coming very close to scoring their second of the night
Jack Marriott who worked very hard on the night, pressing the high line of Oxford City received the ball in the box only to be brought down as the trigger was about to be pulled but referee saw different as he waved away the decision and play continued.
The Woking players looked frustrated as they spoke to referee Lugg in protest for the penalty that was never given and leading from their conversation it was McNerney and Jones who faced being booked as they were both cautioned.
Pressure in the last twenty minutes of the game on Wokings behalf was exactly what they needed to do from the start as goalkeeper Salva De La Cruz produced some fine saves and had a very good game in between the sticks but what was coming up next not even the Spaniard could save.
John Goddard hit home a rifled shot as he received the ball on the left hand side, with his trickery he beat his man Benjamin running into the centre of the pitch and hit an absolutely beautify struck shot! Tipping just inside the cross bar. Woking fans and even the man himself John Goddard were jubilant. It was exactly what Woking needed as everything that Woking threw at Oxford City, they dealt with, so it was a bit of excellent that was needed and Goddard provided the goods, and scored his second goal in two games.
From the goal substitutions were made by Gary Hill with Joey Jones and Dean Morgan making way for Giuseppe Sole and Kieran Murtagh and with the extra fresh legs, Woking slowly started the keep possession, play football on the ground and control the game across the pitch.
With Oxford pressing for a goal late on and with an extra striker up front they found themselves vulnerable at the back and Goddard found the space to take his time and produce a fine shot but once again De La Cruz met it with an even better save keeping Oxford in the game.
However, Woking were in firm control of the last 10 minutes and despite another 4 minutes added time they held on and secured victory for the first time in 6 games but more importantly Woking confirmed that they will progress into the next round of the FA Trophy where they will play Dover Athletic at home, next Saturday. But before that game, this Saturday at 3pm. Woking will take on second place Bristol Rovers in an exciting game for the cards as with the huge following Bristol bring, the atmosphere should be great, so get down to Kingfield this Saturday.
On Radio Woking we will have all the action, reaction and interviews in and around the game. Do join us Saturdays 2pm till 6pm.
Woking: Jake Cole, Chris Arthur, Joe McNerney, James Clarke, Adam Newton, Joey Jones (Keiran Murtagh 74), John Goddard, Josh Payne, Kevin Betsy, Jack Marriott, Dean Morgan (Giuseppe Sole 74)
Unused substitutes: Andy Little, Mark Ricketts, John Nutter
Goals: Payne (34), Goddard (74)
Booked: Newton (63)
Oxford City: Salva De La Cruz; Declan Benjamin, Paul Stonehouse, Ader Del Alamo (Bidemi Afolabi 76), Darren Pond; Alejandro Adrian Santiago, Marlon Jackson, Lewis Wilson, Javier Rodriquez; Greg Pearson (Adi Yussuf 69), Tom Winters (Felipe Barcelos 63)
Unused substitutes: Mark Scott
Goals: Pearson (3)
Booked: Benjamin (75) Sent Off: Santiago (33)
(Photo from Woking football clubs photographer David Holmes)