Boz's Fruit & Veg

Ten-man Cards move up to second

Brian Caffarey
12:34am, Wed 9th Sep 2009
Basingstoke Town 1 Woking 2
8 September 2009

This was a performance of outstanding character and commitment from Graham Baker’s side. Reduced to ten men on the half hour mark through Ross Worner’s dismissal, they saw their early lead cancelled out just after the break but bounced back almost immediately through a super strike from Moses Ademola and then fought like tigers to preserve all three points. The rousing ovation from the numerous Cards fans at the final whistle was hugely deserved.

Graham made one change from the starting line-up at Hampton and Richmond, with Luke Medley replacing the injured Craig Watkins. The Cards were quickly into the attack and, with only four minutes gone, took the lead with another Sloma/Sam-Yorke combination. Sloma was set free on the left and his cross was perfectly weighted for Sam-Yorke to nip in just in front of the keeper and nudge the ball home to give Woking a 1-0 lead.

It should have been 2-0 – and perhaps ‘game over’ – less than ten minutes later. Sam-Yorke hared down the right flank and played a superb early ball into the feet of Medley, who ‘simply’ had to sweep it into the net. Unaccountably, he put it wide.

Woking were nearly made to rue this miss immediately as a testing back pass from Aswad Thomas panicked Worner into missing his kick entirely. From my vantage point it looked as though David Pratt had to score but the ball was somehow scooped off the line by Ricky Anane (I’m told!).

Sam-Yorke’s splendidly powerful and direct running continued to cause the Dragons’ defence headaches as he crossed across the face of the goal from the left flank and then caused the keeper to rush from his goal to clear into touch.

There was another defensive mix-up in the 23rd minute, which nearly proved costly as Worner and Tom Hutchinson misread each other’s intentions but, fortunately, the ball was cleared.

Woking continued to look the more threatening of the two sides, although the home midfield was competitive and the tricky Jahson Downes and Pratt up front always carried a threat. Luke Medley had a chance to atone for his earlier miss when put through by a Sam-Yorke flick-on. He did well to hold off a defender but saw his shot blocked by the home keeper. More Woking pressure followed as Sam-Yorke and Hutchinson got themselves into good positions in the penalty area.

And then it all went pear-shaped. A ball over the top saw Worner rush out of his area and throw himself down as he attempted to block the ball with his body. The assistant referee advised that he’d handled the ball and Worner was duly dismissed.

Fortunately, on this occasion, Graham had a substitute goalkeeper on the bench, so Matt Pegler found himself making his first team debut in the most testing of circumstances, with Medley having to make way. Pegler’s first piece of action, tipping the free-kick over the bar, ought to have given him a confidence boost.

The home side sought to press home their numerical advantage, with Downes getting in a snap shot, while Sam-Yorke attempted, almost single-handedly, to occupy the Basingstoke defence at the other end. But half-time was reached with no real threat of an equaliser.

Half-time: Basingstoke Town 0 Woking 1

That happy state of affairs was all too short-lived, with Frank Gray’s side levelling the score after only two minutes. A free-kick was needlessly given away on the Woking right. The ball sailed over the wall and across Pegler, bouncing back off the post to allow Sean Hankin the simplest of tap-ins.

Just when you thought that the Cards would have a tough time even hanging onto one point, they took the lead again out of the blue. Moses Ademola picked the ball up in a central position outside the area and slammed a tremendous shot low into the corner of the net. Quite a riposte to those who’d said that he always seemed to want to walk the ball into the net!

Basingstoke, not surprisingly, had the territorial advantage for the rest of the game as they sought, ultimately unsuccessfully, to prise open a Woking defence in which Tony Sinclair and Hutchinson were outstanding once more and the midfield worked its socks off to close down the opposition. Pegler was nearly caught out by an extraordinary effort from the half-way line. He back-pedalled furiously and was no doubt mightily relieved to see the ball just go over the bar. Another long-range effort bounced up awkwardly and off his chest but no forward was following up. Apart from that the main danger lay in a couple of twisting runs down the bye-line by Downes until the Basingstoke striker spurned a glorious chance in the 76th minute. The Woking defence was undone by another quick ball over the top. Downes was onto it in a flash, stepped inside Sinclair’s challenge, shaped to side-foot the ball past Pegler but put it wide.

Ademola responded with a header from a Sole cross and Sam-Yorke’s burst through the middle was only halted by Dolan’s foul. As the minutes ticked down, Woking had several promising attacks as the home side threw men forward and left themselves more exposed at the back. McNerney broke down the right but shot across goal, while Ademola’s run into the box was only just stopped. Into injury time Ademola should have made the game safe as he tore into the area but his crisp shot thumped into the advertising boards, ending an immensely satisfying evening for Cards fans, whose affection for this side grows with each game.

Woking (1-11): Ross Worner, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Tom Hutchinson, Tony Sinclair, Moses Ademola, Harry Arter, Delano Sam-Yorke (Joe McNerney, 85), Luke Medley (Matt Pegler), Sam Sloma (Giuseppe Sole, 71)
Unused subs: Daniel Sintim, Charlie Moone
Sent off: Ross Worner
Booked: Harry Arter, Delano Sam-Yorke
Attendance: 942
My MOTM: Delano Sam-Yorke (pictured) but it could easily have gone to Tony Sinclair, Tom Hutchinson or Mark Ricketts.

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