3:00pm - SaturdaySat 25th SeptemberSep 2021
Silverlake Stadium | Att: 2521

3 - 2


Cards return to action after two-week break

Glen Harrington
4:57pm, Wed 22nd Sep 2021
Eastleigh vs Woking
Vanarama National League
Saturday 25th September 2021

Woking will make their eagerly anticipated return to action on Saturday as they travel to Eastleigh in the club’s fifth National League game of the season.

A combination of scheduling quirks and two enforced postponements due to a positive COVID-19 test have seen the Cards play just one game since the thrilling 4-0 thrashing of last year’s runners-up, Torquay United, back on the August Bank Holiday Monday. That came against title favourites Wrexham where, despite giving a good account of themselves, Alan Dowson’s side fell to a narrow one goal defeat. The visitors were left to feel particularly aggrieved after having a late penalty shout turned down but will reflect on a failure to create many other clear-cut chances, particularly with the home side playing the last 15 minutes with ten men.

Dowse has named an unchanged team for the last three games, with a back five of Kyran Lofthouse, Josh Casey, Tom Champion, Joe McNerney, and Moussa Diarra playing in front of goalkeeper Craig Ross, a midfield duo of Rohan Ince and Solomon Nwabuokei, with Tahvon Campbell and Jordan Maguire-Drew playing wide of George Oakley. The boss has plenty of options should he wish to shake things up, including forwards Tyreke Johnson, Jamar Loza and Inih Effiong, as well as midfielders Kane Thompson-Sommers and Tarryn Allarakhia. Max Kretzschmar is still recovering after being injured in the warm-up ahead of the FC Halifax Town fixture last month.

Opposition Watch

Eastleigh have endured a challenging start to the season, taking five points from their first six games, with just one win. They started their campaign with a 2-0 home defeat by Wrexham, before a 3-0 thrashing at Bromley. They won their first point with a 3-3 draw against King’s Lynn Town, but were left disappointed not to claim all three, having led 2-0 at the break and 3-2 with five minutes to go. They were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Barnet before thrashing Dover Athletic 4-1, scoring four times in the first-half, before going down 2-0 at in form Grimsby Town last time out.

The Spitfires are in their sixth consecutive season at National League level and are looking to build on last year’s ninth place finish. They have also twice finished seventh in 2016 and 2019. A busy summer of transfers has included the signings of Bristol Rovers defenders Josh Hare and Michael Kelly, Bradford City midfielder Harry Pritchard, as well as striker Danny Whitehall from Kilmarnock – a previous scorer against the Cards for Maidenhead United. Notable departures have included Jack Payne (Crawley Town), Joe Partington (Bromley) and Adam Marriott (Barnet).

Manager Ben Strevens has been in charge since October 2018, initially taking over as caretaker following the departure of Andy Hessenthaler and has won 53 of his 131 games in charge. He previously enjoyed two spells with the club as a player, scoring 27 times in 160 games, and was part of the National League South title winning team in 2014. He previously played in the Football League for the likes of Dagenham & Redbridge, Brentford, Wycombe Wanderers and Gillingham.

Recent Meetings

• Eastleigh 0-0 Woking – 10th April 2021, National League
• Woking 0-0 Eastleigh – 28th December 2020, National League
• Eastleigh 2-0 Woking – 1st February 2020, National League
• Woking 1-1 Eastleigh – 26th October 2019, National League (Loza)
• Eastleigh 2-2 Woking – 30th December 2017, National League (Carter, Effiong)

On the Day

Eastleigh’s home ground is the Silverlake Stadium. The postcode is SO50 9HT.

Tickets can be purchased online here. The cost is £15 for adults, £10 for concessions (60 and over), £5 for students (aged 17-21) and £2 for juniors (aged 12-16). Under-11 tickets are free. Tickets can be bought on the day but are subject to a £3 premium per ticket. Away fans are housed in the Mackoy Community Stand, in blocks 1, 2, and 3, with the option of terracing along the wing. Seating is unreserved and fans can move between the two different stands.

The Cards Trust is running a coach to this game. For full details please click here.

Cards Surrender to Spitfires' Second Half Silverlake Strikes

Nigel Beesley
5:38pm, Sun 26th Sep 2021
Eastleigh 3 Woking 2
Vanarama National League
25th September 2021

Woking made the short trip down the M27 for their first outing since the 1-0 reverse at Wrexham a fortnight ago. The cards showed two changes with Tyreke Johnson replacing Moussa Diarra, who failed a fitness test, and Inih Effiong instead of George Oakley who dropped to the bench.
It was heartening to see a healthy sized crowd under cloudy skies at the Silverlake Stadium, including a fair number of Cards fans, as last season’s goalless draw was played out with fake crowd noise behind closed doors.

The match itself was a breathless affair in the first half, with Woking taking a 2-0 lead inside 16 minutes and Eastleigh gradually coming back with a goal of their own on the half hour to keep them in the game. The second half started in similar fashion; the Cards thought that they had restored their two-goal cushion from a corner, only to be denied by the referee’s whistle, who then took centre stage by issuing yellow cards willy-nilly to the visitors as well as awarding two penalties to the home side (the first of which was dubious) to allow them to complete a comeback victory when they should have been out of sight long before the deciding goal.

In the third minute of the game Woking took the lead. Tahvan Campbell turned on Inih Effiong’s flick-on before driving into the box and putting the ball through the keeper's legs from a tight angle (0-1) This was just reward for the Cards as they had started the brighter of the two sides and were eager to make the most of their early dominance.

Campbell drives home the first of two
Campbell drives home the first of two
David Holmes

Not content to rest on their laurels, the Cards constructed a beautifully worked move up the pitch to double their lead in the sixteenth minute. Rohan Ince fed Effiong and he found Tyreke Johnson on the overlap before he put in an inch-perfect cross onto the toes of Tahvan Campbell who finished with aplomb in the far corner of the net (0-2).
This was a goal that deserved to grace any stage and sent the travelling contingent into wild delight and evoked memories of the game in South Devon against Torquay at the end of August.

Clearly stunned, the home side took a while to rally but pulled a goal back on the half hour.
From a free kick some 30 yards out, the set-piece was floated towards the back post where it was headed in by Whitehall giving Craig Ross no chance (1-2). This was the lifeline that they were looking for and visibly roused the crowd of over 2,500 who had been disgruntled with the performance thus far as the visitors had threatened to run away with it.

The final fifteen minutes of the half continued to be end-to-end with chances for both sides; a great save from Craig Ross and a disallowed goal for an obvious offside against Effiong, but no change in the score line as the teams disappeared down the tunnel to earn a well-earned breather after a thoroughly entertaining first 45 minutes.

Half-time: Eastleigh 1 Woking 2

The players emerged from their break to be greeted by light rain on a lush surface that had already been watered during the interval and had to adjust to the conditions. The visitors earned a corner which was expertly headed back across goal by Joe McNerney and firmly into the net. Their celebrations were cut short by the referee’s whistle for an alleged foul on the goalkeeper and the goal was inexplicably chalked off. The man in the middle then continued to speak to several home players indicating that he was losing patience with the number of fouls committed. He seemed to have adopted the infamous Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketch epithet of ‘You have three last chances’ as no yellow cards were forthcoming.

As the hour mark approached, he discovered that there were cards up his sleeve (or at least in his top pocket) as Effiong became the first player into the notebook following a foul after losing possession of the ball. This was followed by an award of a penalty to Eastleigh on 61 minutes despite the protests of McNerney who was also booked, as he felt that he had played the ball rather than the man. Ross was sent the wrong way by Tom Whelan, who was initially fouled, to level the scores (2-2). The momentum had shifted firmly towards the home side now that parity had been restored and they looked to make the most of the good fortune that had been afforded them.

On 68 minutes Maguire-Drew became the third Card to be carded and a corner was conceded from the resultant free-kick. The home side took this short and a dipping shot was tipped over by Ross. Woking then made their first change of the afternoon with Max Kretzschmar replacing Johnson.

Unsurprisingly, another penalty ensued, this time for an unnecessary pull back by Kyran Lofthouse on 72 minutes. Whelan hit the spot-kick off the underside of the bar, with Ross again having no chance, to give the home side the lead (3-2). The Woking players were visibly crestfallen having seen their early 2-0 first half lead evaporate when they had been looking comfortable and seemingly in charge of proceedings.

There then followed double substitutions for the home side after 77 minutes with Harper replacing Hill and Barnett replacing Whitehall. The Cards also made a change with Oakley coming on in place of Maguire-Drew. Woking then forced a couple of corners in an attempt to salvage a point, but their efforts came to naught. Kane Thompson-Sommers then came on for Nwabuokei after 83 minutes.

The remaining time was played out by the home side content to cling onto their lead, and at last given a couple of yellow cards, whilst the visitors had the best chance in the last minute of added time when, from a corner, Craig Ross fashioned a chance to equalise but his header went wide and with it any last hope of a draw.

Woking were left to reflect on what might have been given their excellent start and deserved at least a share of the spoils on the balance of play. They will surely play worse and win but at the end of the day circumstances conspired against them and the points were secured by the Spitfires.

Next up for Dowse’s Cards is home game against second-place Chesterfield this coming Tuesday night followed by a trip to one of the founders of the football league, Notts County on Saturday.

Woking(4-2-3-1): 13 Craig Ross, 2 Kyran Lofthouse, 3 Josh Casey, 4 Tom Champion, 5 Joe McNierney, 8 Solomon Nwabuokei (22 Kane Thompson-Sommers), 9 Inih Effiong,11 Tyreke Johnson (Kretzschmar 71’), 18 Jordan Maguire-Drew (14 George Oakley 77’), 19 Tahvon Campbell, 24 Rohan Ince

Unused subs: 1 Mark Smith, 17 Tarryn Allarakhia

Goals: Campbell 3’, 16’

Bookings: Iffiong 57’, McNierney 62’, Maguire-Drew 68’, Casey 90’

Eastleigh (4-4-2) 1 Joe McDonnell, 2 Josh Hare, 3 Michael Kelly, 4 Cavaghn Miley, 6 Andrew Boyce ©, 8 Harry Pritchard, 11 Ryan Hill (26 Vincent Harper 77’), 16 Joe Low, 17 Danny Whitehall (10 Tyrone Barnett 77’), 18 Ben House, 20 Tom Whelan (25 Christian Maghoma 90’)

Unused subs: 7 Sam Smart, 12 Jake Hesketh

Goals: Whitehall 30’, Whelan 62’, 74’ (2 pens)

Bookings: Harper 90’, Hare 90+3’

Referee: Gary Parsons

Attendance: 2521

Man of the Match: A difficult choice as Craig Ross made some excellent saves and was not at fault for any of the goals but Tahvon Campbell scored two excellent goals, the second of which will live long in the memory and gets my vote.
Eastleigh LINEUP
1Joe McDonnell
2Josh Hare
3Michael Kelly
16Joe Low
6Andrew Boyce
4Cavaghn Miley
8Harry Pritchard
20Tom Whelan ('90)
11Ryan Hill ('78)
18Ben House
17Danny Whitehall ('78)
25Christian Maghoma ('90)
26Vincent Harper ('78)
7Sam Smart
12Jake Hesketh
10Tyrone Barnett ('78)
13Craig Ross
2Kyran Lofthouse
3Josh Casey
5Joe McNerney
4Tom Champion
24Rohan Ince
8Solomon Nwabuokei ('84)
18Jordan Maguire-Drew ('78)
11Tyreke Johnson ('71)
19Tahvon Campbell
9Inih Effiong
1Mark Smith
17Tarryn Allarakhia
22Kane Thompson-Sommers ('84)
10Max Kretzschmar ('71)
14George Oakley ('78)

Eastleigh 3-2 Woking | Ian Dyer Interview

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