Wok­ing march on in a thrilling Non-League Day

The Non-League Football Paper - - FRONT PAGE - PIC­TURES: David Holmes, Shut­ter Press, Nicky Hayes & Ed­mund Boy­den

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

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