Changes pay off for slow-starting Woking

Non-League football
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Woking, runners-up to Stevenage Borough in the GM Vauxhall Conference last season, had been among the favourites to challenge for the title this season, but they have struggled to make an impact at the top of the table so far. That could be about to change, though, after Tuesday's impressive 3-1 win over the champions.

The Woking manager, Geoff Chapple, retained only five of the side beaten 3-2 at home by Macclesfield in their last league outing on 5 October. Poor home form had been keeping the Cards in the middle of the pack chasing the leaders - and the changes paid off, much to the manager's relief.

"This has kick-started our season - now we have a platform to build on," Chapple said. "It was not the ideal match for so many changes, and I like to keep a settled side, but we had to do it." In came three players signed this week: two forwards borrowed for a month, Grant Payne from Wimbledon and Guiliano Grazioli from Peterborough, plus Steve Foster, a defender bought from Telford United for an undisclosed fee.

Terry Howard, the former Wycombe and Leyton Orient midfielder who joined the Cards in the summer, also made his Conference debut, having recovered from a foot injury that had kept him out all season, while in at wing- back came Shane Wye, who has returned to Woking after a spell in New Zealand.

Chapple's much-changed side led Stevenage 2-0 at half-time, with goals from Steve Thompson and the evergreen Clive Walker, in front of a Kingfield crowd of 2,466. Payne added a third after the break, before Neil Trebble struck a late consolation goal for Borough.

Woking travel to Halifax tomorrow, with Chapple determined to claim another three points. "One swallow doesn't make a spring," he said. "We've got to build on this." Woking are 12 points behind the leaders, Kidderminster Harriers, who beat Rushden & Diamonds 1-0 on Monday in front of 2,603 at Aggborough. The veteran Kim Casey scored the decisive goal at the start of the second half. Stevenage have slipped to third place after Macclesfield beat struggling Stalybridge 2-0 on Tuesday to claim second spot.