Before the Flood hit the Ark...
12:00am, Tue 18th Jul 2017
Basingstoke Town 0 Woking 1 - Match Abandoned at Half Time
18th July 2017
Woking set up as a 4-3-3 effectively, wearing white shirts and red shorts against â€˜Stoke, in their usual all blue with yellow trim. Changes were few from the Leatherhead game. Richard Orlu started alongside Joey Jones at the back with Chelmsford trialist Matt Young at right back, who has had spells at Barrow and Dover in the last two years. In midfield Chez Isaac and Charlie Carter allowing Fabio Saraiva opportunities to get forward.
The Camrose looks a good playing surface, perhaps not entirely flat, but it would be tested later. There were few opportunities for either side in the opening exchanges until Joe Ward let fly over the cross bar from a neat Inih Effiong lay off.
Stoke countered with attempts to play the ball through the middle, Terry Brownâ€™s young side looking to work the ball especially through their own play maker No. 11, Ashleigh Artwell. They were not getting a sight of goal and Woking had short spells of possession without really sparking.
Midway in the half Charlie Carter got in close on the left hand side of the penalty box and forced keeper Oualah to save with his right foot at the expense of a corner. Carter picked up another opportunity from further out and shot right footed wide of the left hand post. Nathan Ralph, playing as an orthodox left back, joined the attack and slid a shot just wide of the far post.
The lack of drama on the pitch was offset by activity in the heavens, a darkening sky being the back drop to ominous flashes of fierce light over the horizon in the west. Heavy rainfall began and Basingstoke sought to ride the tide with several neat attacks prompted by Artwellâ€™s close control and running through the middle. These moves foundered on the Cards defence but not without some anxiety, Ralph at one point having to clear from the penalty spot.
Switching duties, the Cardsâ€™ left back threaded a ball through for Offiong to bend his right footed shot over the right angle of post and bar. Ward scampered away on the right and his low cross was just too near the keeper. Saraiva bent a free kick won on the right, onto Jonesâ€™ head, but keeper Oualah was well positioned centre goal.
Mild pressure told on the young home side as Ward again created an opportunity to cross and Effiong was there close in to head down, the ball squeezing home under the keeper and in. Immediately Effiong was set free on the right inside the area and fired his shot against the onrushing Oualah for the save of the game. Saraiva also tried his luck but was wide with his effort.
Stoke sought to counter but when they did set up a move that came back for No. 10 Callum Collins, his effort was horribly high and wide of Nathan Baxterâ€™s goal. In the closing minutes of the half Ward shot from wide right when weaving his way in. His effort went away across goal. Saraiva tried his luck low for the bottom the corner of the net and won a corner. Joey Jones then shot well over as Saraivaâ€™s flag kick was flapped out to him.
Lightning and thunder followed and with it a curtain of water fell in torrents leaving the players and staff looking at the referee and desperate to get off the pitch as half time was reached. That was the last action as Mr Robinson drew his own curtain across proceedings.
Half-time Basingstoke Town 0 Woking 1
Match was abandoned through apparent heavy rain and a lightning storm.
Basingstoke Town: Zaki Oualah, Marcus Johnson-Schuster, David Ray, Dan Bayliss, George Bennett, Jordan Aghatise, Sam Deafield, Charlie Kennedy, Ashleigh Artwell, Callum Collins, Aaron Jarvis.
Subs: Ben Badou, Will Shaw, Charlie McCann, Jordan Goater.
Woking: Nathan Baxter, Matt Young, Joey Jones, Richard Orlu, Nathan Ralph, Chez Isaac, Charlie Carter, Fabio Saraiva, Joe Ward, Bobson Bawling, Inih Effiong.
Unused subs: Joe Nâ€™Guessan, Jake Eales, Declan Appau, Ivan Nsimbi, Luke Sheldrick.
Goals: Effiong 36
Attendance: Not known
Man of the Match: Difficult to decide from only half a match. Game but limited opposition meant judgements were not easy. Young looked tidy at right back, Orlu assured at the back and comfortable to play out of defence. Joey Jones careered forward form his defence duties to launch occasional attacks and Ward showed clever touches and crosses. Probably it was Inih Effiong as he did make inroads in attack despite often being surrounded and also found his team mates.