Football: Woking join the modern world: Chapple's craft brings a 2-1 Trophy triumph to Surrey. Henry Winter reports from Wembley

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The Independent Online
WOKING was more famous for producing The Jam until Geoff Chapple came along to get them out of one. The Surrey town's football club were non-League nonentities when Chapple arrived, but within 10 years this engaging, astute manager dragged Woking into the modern world.

Saturday's FA Trophy victory over Runcorn was, Chapple insisted, better than the Cards' run from the Second Division South of the Isthmian League to third place in the GM Vauxhall Conference; more pleasing even than their famous FA Cup exploits of 1991 captured in the delightfully entitled video 'From Kingfield to Goodison.'

Chapple's delight at the Wembley win was heightened by the knowledge that town councillors, whose permission is needed for a ground relocation, had been present to witness the deep enthusiasm Woking generate.

In a modest but vociferous crowd of 15,818, the Chapple choir outnumbered Runcorn's entourage by 2-1. Such loyalty, which must have impressed the town-hall suits, was rewarded with a slightly fortuitous result over opponents from Cheshire who controlled large tracts of an entertaining final.

Woking secured non-League's premier pot by defending tightly, after an uneasy start, and taking chances when they materialised. Dereck Brown stroked in the first, following fine work by Scott Steele, the game's outstanding individual in a free-roving role behind Woking's attack.

The pair combined again to set up Darran Hay on the half-hour and, at 2-0 down, Runcorn appeared doomed. To their immense credit, John Carroll's side kept passing and gained a modicum of reward when Nigel Shaw punished Gwynne Berry's handball.

While Runcorn return to rebuilding their fire-hit Canal Street ground, Woking aim to emulate Wycombe Wanderers, who rose into the League having erected a fine stadium first.

'Wycombe did it the perfect way - only when they were ready for it. They took their time before getting a new ground, and then went for it,' Chapple said. 'We want to get in the League, but we need a new ground too. We've found a place in Egley Road which is only three-quarters of a mile away, but there are rigid green-belt regulations. I hope the council back us.' Saturday must have showed the dignitaries the club's potential.

Goals: D Brown (19) 0-1; Hay (29) 0-2; Shaw pen (75) 1-2.

Runcorn (4-3-3): Williams; Bates, Lee, Brabin, Robertson; Shaw, Anderson, Connor; McKenna, McInerney (Hill, 72), Thomas. Substitute not used: Parker.

Woking (4-3-1-2): Batty; Berry, K Brown, Tucker, Wye; Clement, D Brown (Rattray, 32), Fielder; Steele; Hay (Puckett, h/t), Walker.

Referee: P Durkin (Portland).

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