Woking made it three wins on the bounce with a brilliant result away to playoff chasers Dagenham & Redbridge. A brace from Rohan Ince was enough, as his side has now won five away league games in a row for the first time since 2019.
The Cards had the game’s first chance when skipper Josh Casey found Rhys Browne with a clever set piece. He turned his marker well and forced a good save from Elliot Justham in the Daggers net.
They took the lead when Peterborough loanee Charlie O’Connell found Ince at the back post from a corner and he finished well to put Woking in front. The former Brighton man, who was sent off at Victoria Road a year ago, has already doubled his goal tally this season from last year, with three of his five goals this campaign coming against Dagenham.
Just ten minutes later, Ince had scored again as he arrowed the ball home on his left foot, from outside the box. It was a great goal from the midfielder, to give The Cards clear daylight going into halftime.
Before the second half got underway, Ince was replaced by Dan Moss, for reasons yet to be explained. Hopefully, it’s not a serious injury as with him being on a hat trick, it definitely wouldn’t have been tactical. Moss returned from his one-game suspension and O’Connell pushed forward into his regular midfield position.
Dagenham came out with a better intent to score in the second 45 minutes and was challenging the visitors’ back line. Joe McNerney (making his 300th appearance for the club) and Scott Cuthbert were constantly aware of the danger though and their fantastic defending kept Woking ahead.
Solomon Nwabuokei was announced on the morning of the game, as the midfielder returned on loan to the club from League Two side Barrow until the end of the season. A fan’s favourite from last year, now wearing the number 16 instead of eight, went straight into the starting line-up and tore apart Dagenham from minute one.
His partnership with Ince had reignited like it had never left and continued with Kellermann in the second half. Padraig Amond came close when a cross from deep found him, but his volley was saved by the ‘keeper. Such fine margins.
Moss didn’t have a quiet half, to say the least, but dealt with everything that came his way. On this occasion he defended well inside his own box, to come away with the ball and subsequently be caught on the end of a poor challenge from Josh Walker, who was booked for his challenge.
Just past the hour mark, a lack of concentration saw Dagenham pull a goal back with their first real bit of quality during the entirety of the game. Myles Weston had donesuperbly on the right-hand side to tease a cross at the near postand Walker was there to poke it past Craig Ross.
Despite this, Dagenham posed no threat to the score line and Woking decided to keep pushing for a third, rather than sit back and park the bus. They brought on a second recent addition in Marcus Dackers, a 19-year-old six-foot-seven inches striker, on loan from another League Two side in Salford City. He was booked at the death for a professional foul, which manager Darren Sarll had full praise for at full-time, due to him putting his new teammates and supporters before himself.
This squad, staff and board is giving everybody associated with Woking Football Club the chance to dream and if you ask me, that’s all you can really ask for in football. We know we don’t have the biggest budget or the biggest fan base but what we do have is heart, passion and desire and by all means, we believe that we can do the unthinkable.
The league is a bit out of shape with games played due to postponements over the last couple of months, but Woking now has a 14-point gap to eighth place and is level on points with Chesterfield in third, just behind them on goal difference. Putting the pressure on and staying focused is enough for others to potentially start spiralling and go a couple of games without maximum points.
Woking has passed the early runner’s stage of everyone expecting a natural collapse, as they have shown that they can keep up and fight with the big boys. Now it’s just about managing expectations and the noise that good results keepbringing, by remaining calm and dedicated to one game at a time. #COYCards
Dagenham & Redbridge Starting XI: Justham, Weston, Hare, Longe-King, Johnson, Taylor (46), Rance, Robinson, Sagaf (68), Walker, Morias (46)
Subs: Mussa, McCallum (46), Saunders (68), Phipps (46), Bird
Woking Starting XI: Ross, Casey, Cuthbert, McNerney, O’Connell (70), Nwabuokei, Ince (46), Kellermann, Daly, Browne (78), Amond
Subs: Lofthouse (70), Johnson, Moss (46), Dackers (78), Vokins
Man of the Match: Rohan Ince