4 November 2006.
ON THE ROAD WITH JIM TUCKER
Saturday 4th November 2006
Woking 0 Exeter City 2
Just right for me, this trip, 40 minutes driving through leafy Surrey, no M25, no motorway at all, in fact, So with son George and a couple of mates I went over after lunch, hoping for a better result than we have got there before. We took our place on the open side which is the away fans area, with what must have been at least 600 other City fans.
We kicked off towards the large, newish stand at the far end, on a gloriously sunny, but quite cold afternoon, with Paul Jones replacing Martin Rice, Patrick Ada making his first start in place of the suspended Woodards, and Jon Challinor preferred in midfield to Dean Moxey.
Jamie Mackie soon ignored a circling police helicopter to win a free kick on the left, while Woking's first venture forward was a long punt safely taken by Jones. Neither side had settled quickly, a one-two between Mackie and Lee Phillips looked promising, but the keeper got there first. Jon Challinor won the first of a couple of corners on the left, then an Andy Taylor free kick was headed over by Paul Buckle. City were playing some football now, with a lot of good Jamie Mackie netted City stuff coming from Challinor as the home defence struggled to contain him and the front runners.
Ada was looking confident at the back, carrying on where he left off at Grays a month ago,and the line was holding well. Challinor and Mackie combined again a good move, but we could have used more men up. The home strikers, led by Sole, made little impression. And just before 20 minutes, City went in front. Delightful passing on the left involving Challinor, Mackie and Phillips saw the ball eventually reach Paul Buckle just outside the box on the left hand side, and he found the target with a sweet strike. A hint of a deflection maybe, but a very nice goal and a well-deserved lead.
It was almost two immediately afterwards, when Phillips strong header was put over for a corner. The City were clearly on top now, with the front runners in full flow and proving a real handful for Woking's back four, whose shape was not much in evidence. Next lee's powerful run ended with a shot just over, as was Mackie's effort soon after, with only a Woking free kick way off target in between.
And just past the half-hour it was 20, with as sweet a goal as you could wish to see. When the ball broke forward to Phillips, he and Mackie were more than a match for 4 defenders. Lee's pass to Jamie saw him leave the last defender floundering, round the home keeper, and slot home from left of the goal. Huge celebrations followed on and off the pitch, and it was clear that our terrible run against Woking- no wins, ever
- might be about to end.
City were, not surprisingly, full of confidence now. Patrick Ada was tripped, but was allowed to play on for a promising run, which came to nothing. And the referee went back to book the Woking player. The home side just weren't getting for, nearly 40 minutes passed before their first corner, which was wasted, and when the ball bobbled around in the City are soon after, the shot went harmlessly wide. Still City came through strongly again, for Ada to shoot over, so that the half- time whistle finished an excellent 45 for the visitors, with that large supporters' contingent in very good heart.
I would imagine their Mr Cockerell will have had some choice words over the interval cuppa, as this was well below the standard we have seen from Woking previously. So it was no surprise when the home team came at City more after the break, and this time the pattern was quickly set. Woking went forward a good deal, without really threatening the City rearguard, and we continued to look dangerous on the break. And that was the pattern that continued more or less throughout he second half, not wonderful to watch but with the prospect of the win getting closer and closer, and next week's cup tie against Stockport to look forward to, you didn't hear many complaints. City had plenty of lively runs from Mackie and Phillips, and the defence continued to do a good job. Midfield had a good afternoon all round, providing that vital link between attack and defence without any substitutions at all. Jones tipped a header on to the bar, and made a couple of decent saves, but otherwise the Woking heading and shooting was poor. We had several worthwhile attempts before Phillips and Mackie gave way to Adam Stansfield and Bertie Cozic just over 10 minutes from the end.
The home faithful never stopped backing the team, to their credit, but their side seemed to lack confidence and cohesion, and the City refused to be put off their game by a succession of niggly free kicks, and some real comedy refereeing over a trip on Cozic. The assistant flagged, but the ref, who was on the blind side, waved play on. Woking obviously thought it was a foul, because one of their defenders picked the ball up. inside the area, only to be penalised for handball outidel
But now it was just a matter of time, with Woking knowing they were beaten, and the final whistle brought City 3 welcome points and a creditable clean sheet. Well done to all, especially the returning Paul Jones and debutant Patrick Ada. A rare St James' Park visit for me today, and on this display it cannot come quick enough. What about this Paul? Leave Ada at rightback, and use Danny Woodards' running and crossing ability in right midfield.
Woking 0 Exeter City 2.
Saturday 4 November 2006.
Woking: Jalal, Bunce, Hutchinson, El-Salahi, Murray, Smith, Berquez (Ferguson 46), Evans (Sankoh 74), Oyedele (Jackson 46), McAllister , Sole.
Subs Not Used: Howe, Ruby.
Booked: Evans, Smith.
Exeter: Paul Jones, Billy Jones, Todd, Edwards, Ada, Gill, Taylor, Buckle, Challinor, Mackie (Stansfield 78), Phillips (Cozic 78).
Subs Not Used: Rice, Richardson, Moxey.
Booked: Gill, Buckle.
Goals: Buckle 19, Mackie 31.
Referee G Lewis (Cambridgeshire).