Cards book their place in play-off final, but only just. 5th May 2019

 In Recent, WOKING FC

Woking   3       Wealdstone   2

                             Vanarama National League South Semi- Final

                                 Attendance:  2,917  (602)

                                    Peter Moore at the Laithwaite Community Stadium

Woking staged a dramatic second-half comeback to book their place in the National League South play-off final against Welling, after falling behind to two first half efforts from the visitors.

With almost fifteen minutes to go Woking looked destined to be playing National League South football next season before goals from Moussa Diarra, Max Kretzschmar and an injury time winner from Jake Hyde denied the Stones their place in the final.

Despite contrasting form from both sides leading into today’s play-off semi-final, Woking- One win in their last eight league games, compared to three consecutive victories from The Stones- the visitors bought in goalkeeper Mark Scott from Bracknell on an emergency loan for the unlucky Jonathan North who missed out due to concussion that the stopper picked up against Bath City on Wednesday.

The Stones were certainly up for this game, and within the opening couple of minutes were almost ahead when Rhy’s Tyler’s goal bound effort was blocked by Mousdsa Diarra. From the resulting corner Wealdstone took the lead when Freddie Grant was allowed plenty of time and space to run in and send a powerful header past Craig Ross.

Woking were stunned in the 20th minute when from another set piece, Wealdstone doubled their lead, with an unmarked Connor Stevens sweeping home. The hosts had their first chance of the game after half an hour when Reise Allassani was one on one with Scott but was denied by a fine block from the debutant. Despite the Cards having more possession in the latter part of the half, the visitors went into the break with a two-goal cushion.

The first clear cut chance of the second half fell to the Cards when Jack Cook sent a header wide of the mark from a Max Kretzschmar corner. Woking had a glorious chance to somehow get themselves back into the game in the 62nd minute when Ben Gerring rose highest to send a header crashing against the bar from a corner.

Following a succession of corners, the Cards pulled a goal back in the 76th minute when Moussa Diarra rose highest and nodded home. With the momentum right back with the hosts, in the 84th minute Woking took a quick free kick which found Kretzschmar who turned inside the area and drilled the ball past Scott to level the contest.

Deep into added time, with 93 minutes on the clock, Paul Hodges played in Jake Hyde who calmly lifted the ball over Scott and watch the ball seeming to take an ages to drop into the net, to send the home fans into rapture. The Cards saw out the remaining few minutes to hang on and complete an unbelievable turnaround to book themselves into the National League South Play-Off Final against  Welling  at the Laithwaite Community Stadium next Sunday.

Max Kretzschmar
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