Written By Declan McCarthy
Woking got back to winning ways last night thanks to Giuseppe Sole after he scored a fantastic free-kick in the 90th minute, which proved to be pivotal as it got Woking back to winning ways after losing three games in a row.
With Josh Payne suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card on Saturday against Kidderminster, Gary hill made one change from Saturday’s line-up and it was Theo Lewis who came into the team but more noticeable it was Kevin Betsy on the bench that surprised the home fans after having surgery on his knee keeping him out of action for two months.
With Andy Brown coming of injured against Dartford on Saturday new manager Liam Daish had to make a few changes himself, dropping Geohaghon making way for Ben Hutchinson starting up front in a 4-2-3-1.
Nuneaton’s away record speaks for itself, failing to win away since February the 4th and Woking were in full swing to take full advantage of that. The home side started brightly with a Dean Morgan free kick, headed just wide by Scott Rendell. It was very noticeable that Gary Hills game plan was to frustrate Nuneaton, not let them have the ball, Keep possession but in the final 3rd it never really broke through for the cards and when it did the quality of the finish was not good enough.
John Goddard, who played on the right hand side was a breath of fresh air, creating problems for the Nuneaton defence down the right side of midfield and came close as he hit a low, well driven shot only for goalkeeper Charles-Cook to palm the ball out and Rendell found himself unlucky not to have had a touch on the rebound.
With Jack Marriott playing in his second home game since coming back on-loan to the club, he was up-front alongside Rendell, with Morgan just behind the two, it worked really well with Rendell in the air, Marriott every time looking for the run behind.
On the opposite flank to Goddard, it was Chris Arthur who ran Nuneaton defender Mcsweeny round rings all night and was providing great balls into the box, most noticeably when after beating his man, Arthur crossed low and hard into an in-coming Marriot who hit well over the bar.
Shortly after, Marriott was back in the thick off it, after some nice build up play from the Woking midfield, passing to Marriott, who looked up and really went at the Nuneaton defenders, beating two markers, breaking free but just over-powering the shot.
Woking went into the half more frustrated than anything, on another day and with a bit more quality, Woking could have found themselves at least two nil up, but it was still 0-0 going into the dressing rooms.
The second half started slowly and this didn’t help Woking as you felt, the longer the game went on the harder it was going to be for Woking to score, and it didn’t help with the strange and very bizarre referee decisions during the second half.
To the delight of the fans it didn’t take Woking long to get back to their ways creating chance’s and a few penalty appeals rose, albeit it didn’t seem referee Mark Pottage had any notion to what was going on. However, Woking pressed on and great opportunities went by with Morgan delivering in a great corner to an unmarked Joey Jones, who headed straight at Charles-Cook, who produced a double save cancelling out Jack Marriott’s half volley on the rebound.
Frustration grew around the Woking camp and with Hill demanding more from the team it was getting tense towards the end as this would have certainty would have been 2 points dropped rather than a point gained on Woking’s behalf.
On the 65th minute, a change was needed and it came as Lewis who had been on a yellow card was taking off and Newton was introduced, but with even more defenders on the pitch Woking were being caught on the break as they pursued in finding a goal.
It was a great chance and Woking found themselves very lucky not to be one nil down as Adam Walker played in a great lofted ball into unmarked Ben Hutchinson, who headed wide of Ross Worners right post. Woking were caught too far up the field and without the likes of Josh Payne(Suspended) and Mark Ricketts(Injured) gaps appeared in front of the back 4 causing all sorts of problems as it was easy for Nuneaton to break on the counter, as Walker produced another fine shot but Worner matched it with an even better one-handed save.
After a few tense moments for the Woking fans, they finally had something to cheer about as Veteran Kevin Betsy, who had recovered from surgery on his knee only two months ago was back in action and also Giuseppe Sole entered the field in place for Marriot and Morgan.
So it was a change upfront and straight from the off Betsy was involved and after clearly being brought down inside the 18 yard area by Theo Streete, the ref blew his whistle for a penalty only for it to be dismissed, as the linesman flagged offside on Betsy’s behalf.
Newton and Sole were both booked along with Nuneaton Keeper Charles-Cook after a few unheard exchanged words but this rallied the team on and the moment of magic came from none other than Giuseppe Sole. As a free kick was awarded in the 90th minute and with everyone’s attention turning to Sole he stepped up and produced a fantastic, over the wall and into the top right hand corner, free kick and the staff, fans and stadium erupted into celebration, so much could be said for Liam Daish who had only been with his team for a week and would have been happy with a point.
Did we really deserve the 3 points, of course we did! Having the majority of the possession in the game chances came, 13 of them in fact but what the stats do tell you is that with only 4 of them chances being on target, albeit we won, we are struggling to be more clinical in front of goal. The midfield looked very open and the presences of Payne/Ricketts was certain missed throughout the game. The game plan was to frustrate Nuneaton, keep the ball and play the Woking way, fast attacking flowing football and in some stages of the game it worked but the final pass/shot didn’t. So once again it was excellence from Sole which gifted us 3 points but it really summed up the match, all that was needed was that bit of excellence, bit of quality when the chance arose. No doubt it was a sour journey home for the very few Nuneaton travellers but we look on now to a tricky away tie against Southport on Saturday, who beat Grimsby Tuesday night.
MOTM: John Goddard- Fantastic on the night, created problems all night on the right side of midfield.
Woking: Ross Worner, Mike Cestor, Joe McNerney(c), Joey Jones, John Goddard, Theo Lewis (Adam Newton 66), Keiron Murtagh, Chris Arthur, Dean Morgan (Kevin Betsy 76) Jack Marriott (Giuseppe Sole 76) Scott Rendell
Unused Subs: Jake Cole and Nicholas Arnold
Bookings: Theo Lewis (63), Gez Sole (88) and Adam Newton (89)
Goal: Giuseppe Sole (90)
Nuneaton:Reice Charles-Cook, Leon McSweeney, Theo Streete, Gareth Dean, Connor Franklin, Anton Brown, Lee Fowler, Craig Curran (Jorrin John 75) , James Armson, Adam Walker, Ben Hutchinson
Unused Subs: Ben Starosta, Delroy Gordon, James Wren and Ryan Quinn
Bookings: Anton Brown (31) and Charles-Cook (88)