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Woking 2 Accrington Stanley 2

MANAGERS like to think that luck evens itself out over a season.

DOWN BUT NOT OUT... Jon Kennedy falls to the floor after a challenge from Woking’s Chris Giles.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT... Jon Kennedy falls to the floor after a challenge from Woking’s Chris Giles.

MANAGERS like to think that luck evens itself out over a season.

And Woking boss Glenn Cockerill must have thought justice was done with Raphel Nade's injury-time equaliser.

After all, Lutel James had denied them three points by equalising in the 90th minute at the Interlink in the reverse fixture.

But Reds manager John Coleman must feel every ounce of luck has deserted his side at the moment.

Two late goals last week denied them three points against Dagenham and it was a case of deja vu at Woking.

The Reds looked on course for only their third away win of the Conference season, a big confidence boost and the play-off chase back on track. Instead, the late blow left Coleman shell-shocked.

"I am devastated, we worked our socks off and this is as bad as I have felt," he said after the game.

"It is a sickener - we didn't get what we deserved. Their reaction at the end was like they have won the FA Cup and that is no disrespect to them - I would have been the same. I was the same when we drew at home to them. It shows how highly we are regarded that teams think a draw at home to us is a good result - and I don't mean that unkindly to them as when you come back from 2-0 down you are made up anyway."

"We can get better and we are going to. We have got a few out with suspensions and injuries and when we get everyone available and I have my full squad to pick from, then it will be a good end to the season."

Despite the downbeat mood immediately after the game, there were plenty of positives to take from it. On loan signing Darran Kempson was outstanding - he had a great game in the centre of defence and was a handful up front, his header leading to the second goal.

And another loan man Lee McEvilly had to slot into the right back slot when Ged Brannan injured his thigh again after just 10 minutes and he too was a revelation playing out-of-position.

"Darren had a great game," said Coleman. "And Lee, he was oustanding at the back. He won his headers, he was strong and played really well."

"Every player was great until the last minute. Then we went to sleep."

That was when Neil Smith took a quick free kick on the edge of the area, Ben Townsend fired in a cross and Nade raced in unmarked at the far post for an easy goal.

But what really upset Coleman was the five minutes of injury time. There hadn't been many bookings after the break, or injuries and it seemed Jon Kennedy was being punished. The crowd continually booed him, feeling he was taking too much time over the goalkicks - and the referee did have a word about it.

"There was never five minutes," said the boss. "Jon has 15 seconds to put the ball wherever he wants in the six yard box. It isn't his fault he had to chase after the ball - he didn't kick it there in the first place."

"I think when he held up five minutes it was like a shot in the arm to them when they needed it. But saying that we should have defended the free kick better."

"They hadn't looked like they would score up to that point - JK hadn't had a save to make - and it wasn't a free kick although I would say that."

Coleman had to reshuffle his squad with no Paul Howarth, he failed a late fitness test, and Brannan hobbled off on 10 minutes. Striker McEvilly had been dropped to the bench but got a quick introduction into defence.

But Stanley were quickly ahead when Robbie Williams' looping ball forward was flicked onto Andy Gouck by Paul Mullin and he in turn sent Prendergast charging to the left of the penalty box. The winger then played in a perfect cross with Lutel James turning and firing home from six yards on 15 minutes.

Kempson had to clear a Murray header off the line after Kennedy dropped a looping ball but it was a rare first half chance for Woking.

On 26 minutes, Prendergast pinched the ball off the dithering Jon Boardman and, with only the keeper to beat, he shot inches wide from 18 yards out. James then had a great chance when he got on the end of Mullin's blocked shot, twisted but spooned the ball onto the crossbar and over.

Woking did pose a threat though towards the end of the half when Michael Johnson sent Murray through but he took too long and Kempson and Kennedy blocked the effort.

After the break, Prendergast once more stole the ball off the Cards' defence and set up Gouck whose shot was only kept out of the goal by the feet of keeper Ashley Bayes.

But, by 57 minutes, Stanley found the back of the net. Prendergast's free kick found Kempson whose header was saved by Bayes but it came out to Mullin who fired home his 18th Conference goal of the season.

However, Woking did then begin to pile on the pressure for a nervy finale. Nade had an overhead kick just wide before, on 68 minutes, Murray's fierce 20 yard effort bounced off the crossbar and Amos Foyewa followed up to slot the ball home.

The Reds still had chances with sub Steve Flitcroft's right foot effort just wide from 22 yards but it was back-to-the-walls for the Stanley defence.

McEvilly was booting the ball forward, Mullin was back defending and Kempson made a last ditch tackle to stop Nade running clear.

And then, after the ref gave a free kick on the edge of the area, Nade pounced to equalise in injury time.

"We have got to take our chances better," added Coleman. "At 2-0 up we should have closed the game out and we didn't. We were sloppy defensively for the first and caught cold for the second. But we have got to be positive and not sulk."


Stuart Pike
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