A headed goal from Jack Parkinson was enough for Dover Athletic to seal three points on their travels, as well as keep them well and truly in the hunt for a play-off spot. The Whites lie five points off the final play-off place, but possess three games in hand on their rivals. The loss for Woking was a fifth in a row in the National League, a run which also includes no win in seven in the league, as their slide down the table continues.
Dover started off proceedings with plenty of endeavour, and they were the ones to produce the first effort on target in the ninth minute. Stefan Payne guided a header on goal, but in truth it was a tame one, as it was easily caught by Woking goalkeeper, Jake Cole. Dover looked the more comfortable team in the opening stages, but they almost endured a calamitous moment within their own box shortly after the quarter hour mark. Tyrone Sterling took matters into his own hands when he tried to clear a cross out of the grasp of his goalkeeper, Mitchell Walker. Fortunately for the centre-half, the ball looped over the bar for a Woking corner.
Sam Magri had an excellent game at right-back for Dover, but he did slip up on one occasion in the first half, when he let John Goddard turn inside to shoot at the near post. It was a decent effort, but Walker was equal to it to generate the save. Dover were still the team creating the better chances, as Parkinson saw a header go wide, then soon afterwards Ricky Miller almost bundled the ball in, with 29 minutes on the clock. This followed some good work from Payne on the byline to set up the opportunity within the six-yard box, but Miller could not divert the ball home.
Dover did eventually find themselves in the scoresheet in the 35th minute, thanks to a headed goal from former Woking man, Parkinson. Ricky Modeste played an inviting free-kick delivery into the box from the left wing, from which Parkinson guided a precision header into the far corner, past the outstretched arm of Cole.
Going into the interval there was no let up in terms of chances from a Dover perspective, as they looked to double their lead before the break. Nick Deverdics is a man capable of a spectacular strike, and he almost added another to his tally with a fantastic shot from the edge of the area, but Cole was equal to it as he flung himself to the ball to palm it away. With half-time fast approaching, Dover almost scored again after good work from Payne, who chipped a delightful pass into the path of Miller, but his effort narrowly missed the target.
The gameplan from Dover appeared to change in the second half, with Woking controlling more of the play as they chased a leveller. With Dover pinned back, Sam Magri had to be the man most alert as he cleared the ball away from inside the Dover box midway through the second half, with danger looming. Had Magri not produced a clearance, Woking would have been almost certain to capitalise on the loose ball for a shot on goal. Magri again played a crucial role for his side moments later, when he was involved in a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge with Goddard. The Woking fans appealed for a penalty, but strong defending won on this occasion.
Modeste almost made it 2-0 on just before the 70 minute mark in a rare second-half foray on goal for the visitors. Deverdics floated a free-kick into the box which was flicked on towards Modeste at the far post. He could only hit the ball straight at Cole however, as they keeper spread his body to deny him.
It took until the 71st minute for Woking to test Walker in the second half, and even then he managed to easily catch an effort from Goddard at his near post. Then it was chances at both ends as Payne failed to divert a Deverdics free-kick goalwards at the far post, before Kieran Murtagh missed a golden chance down the other end for Woking. A cross from left-back, Chris Arthur, found it’s way to Murtagh, but the midfielder placed his shot wide of the post after he was gifted space in the middle of the area.
Woking applied a barrage of late pressure with substitute, Giuseppe Sole, curling a free-kick over the crossbar, as well as Joey Jones seeing a header saved. The host’s best chance came in the final moments of the contest, as they saw an effort cleared off the line, but it was not meant to be for The Cards. It will surely now be a case of mid-table consolidation for Woking now, whilst Dover are setting their sights towards an extended season after gaining a third successive away league victory.
Woking: Cole, Jones, Robinson, Arthur, Norman (Smith 83), Murtagh, Ricketts, Goddard, Butcher, Quigley (Sole 62), Carr (Caprice 62)
Dover Athletic: Walker, Magri, Orlu, Raggett, Sterling, Bellamy, Parkinson, Deverdics, Payne, Modeste, Miller (Crawford 87)
Report by James Hunt