November 24, 2014
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(Match Report below is courtesy of getSURREY with many thanks.)
Rarely among the scorers, Mike Cestor popped up with one at each end as Woking FC came from behind to force a worthy and much-merited draw against league leaders Barnet.
Unlucky centre-back Cestor turned in Elliot Johnson’s cross after just 90 seconds – though Bees midfielder Luisma Villa may claim the final touch – before making amends later by slotting the 57th minute equaliser as the third versus first Vanarama Conference tussle ended 1-1 at Kingfield in front of 2,617 entertained fans.
Satisfied Cards boss Garry Hill reflected afterwards: “I felt we could have cleared our lines, didn’t, and it was a great ball into the penalty area and I’m afraid Cestor’s got on the end of it. He can’t do anything about it.”
But desolation turned to delight during a much more intense Woking display in the second half, Cestor staying up following a corner and was in the right place at the right time to find the net with a cool, low finish after Scott Rendell had teed him up inside the penalty area from a Chris Arthur cross.
After witnessing only Cestor’s third goal for the club in more than 100 appearances, Hill said: “I’m pleased he put it away. He’s been the culprit at one end by given them the head start and then he’s got the equaliser.”
Earlier, Martin Allen’s table-topping Bees had controlled the tempo of an absorbing clash, without seriously bothering their former keeper Jake Cole.
They kept it tight in defence restricting Woking’s attacking threat, but the Cards played with much more vigour after the interval and a battle of few clear chances could have gone either way.
Hill’s men certainly looked the more likely in the closing stages, Bees boss Allen changing his formation to protect what he clearly viewed as a decent point.
Hill summed up: “When you draw at home and it’s against the league leaders and you come out of three games playing Wrexham, Halifax and Barnet not being beaten and you’re hanging in that group where you want to be, it’s a good point.
“We had a go and it’s a thin dividing line sometimes as a manager whether you stick or twist. You either go for it and get punished or you stay as you are. I must be honest, with five minutes to go Martin Allen went 5-4-1 so paid us the compliment that a point is a good one for them. We turned round and said it was a good point for us after being 1-0 down at half time.”
(Match Report below is courtesy of HENDON & FINCHLEY, BARNET & POTTERS BAR, EDGWARE & MILL HILL TIMES with many thanks.)
Barnet are nine points clear at the Conference summit, despite being held to a 1-1 draw at Woking, after results elsewhere went in their favour.
Grimsby Town lost 2-0 at home to Kidderminster Harriers, whilst Gateshead were held to a 2-2 draw at Torquay United.
Allen’s league leaders wasted little time in reiterating their title credentials, taking the lead after just 90 seconds at Kingfield via a Mike Cestor own goal.
However tthe former Leyton Orient defender secured a point for the hosts after the break by scoring at the correct end.
Charlie MacDonald and Bondz N’Gala came into Barnet’s starting XI as Martin Allen made two changes for the Bees.
Club captain MacDonald took the place of Bernard Mensah, who started in last Saturday’s win over AFC Telford United, whilst N’Gala returned after being rested in the same game; Jack Saville dropping back down to the bench.
Graham Stack began in goal, with Mauro Vilhete, David Stephens, N’Gala and Johnson in front of him.
In midfield, Luisma and Lee Cook were on the flanks, with David Hunt and Curtis Weston paired together in the middle. MacDonald partnered John Akinde up front.
Fast starts have been a trademark of the Bees’ season so far, and a week after scoring within a minute against Telford United, the Bees were ahead inside two at Kingfield.
Johnson’s cross from the left caused panic in the Woking penalty area and with Luisma lurking, the ball was turned home by a defender at full stretch.
Luisma was almost able to provide a second when his inswinging corner was cleared off the line by Cards defender Joe Clarke following a spot of penalty area pinball.
The Spaniard also went close with an audacious 40-yard free-kick which had former Bees goalkeeper Jake Cole scrambling, whilst Lee Cook fired wide with the aid of a deflection.
However the visitors could not add a crucial second before the break and went in only a goal ahead, despite their superiority.
Woking forced the first chance of the second period; Stack having to be alert to deny Joe McNerney a header from a corner.
Barnet failed to heed that warning, and just a couple of minutes later, a ball in from deep on the left was knocked down by Scott Rendell and slotted home by Cestor to pull the Cardinals level.
The Bees promptly went in search of a winner; Cook firing wide following a mazy dribble and MacDonald seeing a strong penalty appeal turned down after he stretched to jab the ball beyond Cole. Luisma picked up the loose ball, but saw his effort blocked by a sea of bodies with the goal gaping.
MacDonald’s involvement was ended with ten minutes remaining after he took a blow to the face but the man who replaced him, Jack Saville, almost headed the winner from a corner, only for Cole to gather.
Cardinals full-back Adam Newton and forward Jack Marriott both saw chances go astray for the hosts as the Bees held on to extend their lead at the top of the Conference.
Tuesday will provide another stern test for Allen’s side, who make the trip to the West Country to face sixth-placed Bristol Rovers.
Woking: Cole; Newton, McNerney, Clarke, Cestor; Betsy, Payne, Lewis (Jones 55), Arthur; Rendell, Sole (Marriott 73).
Subs: Howe (GK), Goddard, Morgan.
Barnet: Stack; Vilhete, Stephens, N’Gala, Johnson; Villa (Mensah 65), Hunt, Weston, Cook; Akinde (Nurse 90), MacDonald (Saville 80).
Subs: Gambin, Mekki.
Referee: Robert Whitton.
Attendance: 2,617 (382 away).