PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT!
Woking march on in a thrilling Non-League Day
WHAT A DAY! Woking celebrate after Regan Charles-Cook’s winner against Dagenham. Below, left to right: York saw off Brackley; Billericay toppled Hendon; while Dartford were too strong for Bognor Regis
VERDICT: A moment of magic from Regan Charles-Cook won the points for Woking against a Dagenham & Redbridge side who, unusually, just weren’t clinical enough in the final third
NON-LEAGUE Day? Regan Charles-Cook’s Woking winner at Kingfield wouldn’t look out of place in the Premier League.
Anthony Limbrick’s young Cards seem to have caught everyone by surprise in the early stages of this remarkably tight National League season.
Charles-Cook’s 77th-minute winner oozed class as he placed an unstoppable shot past Daggers keeper Mark Cousins to make it five wins in six games for the third-place side.
“It was a great goal,” boss Limbrick said. “We see him do that in training a fair bit and have challenged him to have better end product with his final pass or shot.
“But for him to come up with that at such an important time of the game – they could have scored up the other end, but we made sure we finished it off.
“This league is so crazy at the moment, I’ve never seen a league that is so tight. Going into today’s game it was something like five points between first and 12th.
“When it’s that tight it will take a lot more games to settle down. All we’ve got to try and do is keep our home form good, pick up as many points as we can away, and that’s all we focus on.”
Speak to Dagenham and they’ll say the match-winner shouldn’t have been on the pitch after his late challenge on defender Scott Doe on 60 minutes.
Daggers boss John Still said it was “definitely” a red, but the referee chose to show only a yellow.
Still was generally pleased with his side’s performance. They had their chances, Doe flashed a header wide early on after Morgan Ferrier had called Woking stopper Nathan Baxter into action.
But there was no way past the on-loan Chelsea man with Fej Okenabirhie and substitute Elliott Romaine both finding their way to goal blocked in the second-half.
Still says they miss a player like injured striker Michael Cheek and had they been able to capitalise on one of their 13 corners they probably would have got something from the game.
That they stayed level on 66 minutes was down to a brilliant save from Cousins. Substitute Inih Effiong’s looping header looked certain to finish up in the net. But Cousins stretched to get a big left hand on the ball and claw it out.
There was nothing he could do about Charles-Cook’s strike, though. Running across the box, the attacker unleashed a scintillating shot that flew into the top corner to delight the home contingent of the 2,500 crowd.
Romaine was booked for simulation inside the box as Dagenham chased a late equaliser but the Woking rearguard stood firm.
“I thought we dominated the game near enough from start to finish,”
Still said. “Our forward and box play wasn’t good enough. They scored a great goal, can’t do anything about that, Mark made a great save, but for most of the game it was one-way traffic.
“We needed one of two things. A little bit of luck, or a little bit of magic. We got neither.”
STAR MAN: Jordan Wynter (Woking) ATT: 2,509 ENTERTAINMENT: ★★★★★ REFEREE: Christopher O’Donnell 5/10