Boz's Fruit & Veg

Cards stumble to second defeat of the season

Alan Worth
9:13pm, Sat 19th Sep 2009

19h September 2009

Billed as the biggest match of the season so far, second versus third, a big and noisy crowd and fine, warm weather, Woking lost a game that they never looked like winning. If ever there was an example of the Cards’ paucity of natural strikers and goal getters, this was it. Apart from Delano Sam-Yorke, who on occasion managed to create some havoc amongst the generally solid Newport defence, the rest – Watkins, Medley and new signing Onibuje – created little in front of goal. Despite dominating possession for large parts of the game, and in particular during the last quarter as Newport ran out of steam, Woking never once managed a shot on target throughout the whole match, apart from a couple of soft, looping headers from corners.

Graham Baker played his new signing Nicky Nicolau at left back coming in for the injured Aswad Thomas. Sam Sloma moved up to the left side of midfield. Craig Watkins partnered Delano up front with the remainder of the side as has featured in the last few games. Fola Onibuje started on the bench.

The match started ominously for the Cards after a poorly observed minute’s silence (apparently for Peter Adams, a Past President of the Surrey FA, although no announcement was made, which didn’t help matters). Newport’s Foley easily out-jumped Anane and Henry volleyed the knock-down over. In the 6th minute Nicolau missed a clearance but the danger was cleared. He created a half chance for Delano shortly afterwards, lobbing the ball into the box. Woking’s best forward on the day controlled the ball, turned, but his shot was easily blocked.

In the 20th minute Arter was booked for the sixth time this season after a brief scuffle following his foul on Rose. The Newport player got up to take the free-kick from just outside the box but his shot hit Woking’s defensive wall.

Nine minutes later Newport took the lead. Foley was played in from the Newport right after the referee played a good advantage. The Newport forward calmly finished from close range with the Cards’ defence, for once, opened up.

Three minutes later and Woking had a decent chance to level things up – Delano carved his way into the box from the right and laid the ball back to Sam Sloma. He conspired to shoot well over the bar into the higher reaches of the Leslie Gosden Stand.

On 42 minutes Moses chased a lost cause down the left-hand side and appeared to stumble as Cochlin challenged him. The referee, well behind play, gave a penalty that looked a little fortuitous – it was certainly not nailed on. The defender was not booked and it was goalkeeper Thompson, who ended up in the book for arguing and, a little later Holdsworth, the County manager, ended up in the stand for telling the referee in no uncertain terms what he thought. After the delay Sam Sloma stepped up only to drag his left-footed penalty wide of the right hand post.

HALF-TIME – Woking 0 Newport County 1

Woking pushed forward in the second half and gradually began to dominate possession. But it was to result in no end product. In midfield Arter generally controlled affairs and Tom Hutchinson was magnificent at the back. But in the final third Woking were poor – a final ball would be over hit, players would take too many touches or simply panic and shoot wildly over or wide. For all the pressure, Newport coped easily at the back and were never unduly stretched. Delano was booked in the 50th minute as he became more and more frustrated with the poor service and, worryingly, Sinclair was taken off after picking up a knock, McNerney coming on to take his place at the back.

Newport had another good chance to go further ahead after Nicolau was again at fault, losing out to Henry on the left. The Newport winger ran unchallenged into the box but Ross Worner pushed his shot from a tight angle round the post. Medley came on for Watkins in the 62nd minute and, ten minutes later, Onibuje was on for Anane as Woking went to three at the back and three up front. Despite all the possession it made little difference, as the Cards appeared devoid of attacking ideas. Shots from Sloma, Sam-Yorke and Arter all flew high or wide as Woking struggled to make amends and claim what would have been an undeserved point.

The final whistle was greeted with wild celebrations from the travelling supporters but, to be honest, their side must have left Kingfield grateful that shooting practice appears to be having little impact currently on this Woking side. Newport may have been the best we’ve seen so far this season but, if possession could be turned into goals, then the result might or should have been rather different. Until Graham Baker can find or prompt one of this group of players to hit the target regularly Woking will continue to struggle to find the back of the net.

Sponsors’ man of the match was Delano Sam-Yorke, who had little chance to really impress given the lack of support or supply. Tom Hutchinson may have felt aggrieved, given yet another commanding performance at the back.

SCORERS: Newport – Foley 29
BOOKED: Woking – Arter 20, Sam-Yorke 50
Newport – Thompson 42, Rogers 60, Davies 76
HALF-TIME: Woking 0 Newport County 1
MOTM: Delano Sam-Yorke (pictured)
WOKING LINE-UP: Ross Worner, Ricky Anane, Tony Sinclair (Joe McNerney 50), Tom Hutchinson, Nicky Nicolau (Fola Onibuje 72), Moses Ademola, Mark Ricketts, Harry Arter, Sam Sloma, Craig Watkins (Luke Medley 62), Delano Sam-Yorke
UNUSED SUBS: Matt Pegler, Giuseppe Sole
NEWPORT COUNTY LINE-UP: Thompson, Bignot, Giles, Turk, Warren (Davies 61), Cochlin (Colborne 55), Rose, Rogers, Reid, Foley, Henry (Deering 71)
UNUSED SUBS: Blackburn, Gilroy
REFEREE: L. Venamore

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