Youth team win through on penalties

Brian Caffarey
12:54am, Thu 22nd Oct 2009
Ashford Town (Middx) 2 Woking 2
(Woking won 5-4 on penalties after extra time)
FA Youth Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
21 October 2009

The Youth Team made it through to the First Round Proper of the FA Youth Cup tonight, having come through the toughest of their four successive away ties in the preliminary and qualifying stages. Failure to take a number of good chances meant, though, that they had to fight back from 2-0 down at half-time to take the game into extra time and penalties. At the death Matt Pegler saved the home side’s 5th penalty to take the young Cards through to a well-deserved home tie against Dagenham and Redbridge.

Woking looked the more accomplished and fluent side on the night but FA Cup hero Ola Sogbanmu’s scoring touch deserted him as he passed up several excellent chances and the home keeper too played his part, always seeming to be in the right place. Sogbanmu could have had a couple of goals in the opening minutes as Woking started in attacking vein, and really ought to have scored with the second when he nodded wide at the far post from a deep cross.

As Woking continued to create openings Rob Carr blasted over from a lay-back before Sogbanmu looked certain to score from close range – only to be thwarted by a fine reaction save.

Against the run of play the home side took the lead in the 17th minute. A free-kick out on the Woking right was allowed to make its way right through the area and into the far corner.

In similar fashion to the first team at Bromley last Saturday, the Youth Team found itself enjoying much of the possession and making most of the running but Ashford were always potentially dangerous as they looked to create quick counter-attacks.

Rob Carr had a shot blocked before more defensive uncertainty nearly cost Woking a second goal, with Pegler having to palm away before the ball was returned over the bar, followed by a header which went narrowly over.

In the 33rd minute Sogbanmu had another good opportunity to open his account. A fierce Carr shot was parried up in the air by the keeper but, when it came down to the Woking front man, he leant back and sent it over the bar.

Woking continued to push forward as half-time approached and, just before the break, Sogbanmu saw a far post header pushed round the post. Unfortunately, there was still time for Ashford to extend their lead. Some poor defending saw the ball headed back across the goal, rather than away, and when the ball wasn’t cleared an Ashford player stabbed home to make it 2-0.

Half-time: Ashford Town (Middx) 2 Woking 0

The Cards increased their tempo after the break and soon forced Ashford back. Will Hammond blasted wide before a lovely sweeping move released Carr on the left, who then struck a magnificent left-footed strike which arrowed into the far corner to make the score 2-1.

With their tails up, the Cards pressed for the equaliser. It nearly came immediately from a mad goalmouth scramble. The next clear chance fell to Ollie Palmer in the 67th minute. Latching onto a throw-in into the box he fired straight at the keeper. Two minutes later a hammered Sogbanmu strike was parried away. In the 72nd minute the pressure finally paid off. Ollie Palmer got the better of his marker as they chased a through ball down the middle and then deftly nudged the ball with the outside of his foot past the advancing keeper and just inside the post. 2-2.

Woking now pressed for the winner. Carr whistled a free-kick over the bar before Sogbanmu went clean through, only to steer the ball wide of the goal. His luck seemed to be truly out when, a minute later, a fine header bounced off the top of the crossbar.

A rare Ashford attack saw Pegler deal well with an awkward, swerving shot from distance in the 80th minute: the last real goalmouth action before extra time.

Full-time score: Ashford Town (Middx) 2 Woking 2

Ashford, if anything, had the better of the first period of extra time, although Sogbanmu once more passed up a great chance in the 6th minute of the first period when he stumbled over a Carr cross. Pegler was busier in this period, getting down smartly to push a snap shot round the post and then punching clear from a corner.

The second period of extra time started with a penetrating Palmer run down the right, with substitute Sean Bradley stabbing the pull-back to the keeper. Woking came close to winning the tie right at the end when Bradley shot just wide of the far post and Carr was foiled by the advancing keeper

Score after extra-time: Ashford Town (Middx) 2 Woking 2

And so to the dreaded penalty shoot-out. Woking went first and Sean Bradley, George Frith, Ollie Palmer, Anson Cousins and Rob Carr all despatched their penalties with aplomb, with the first four Ashford players responding in kind. But Matt Pegler, soon buried under a scrum of his team mates, managed to parry the fifth to end a hard-fought encounter.

Woking: Matt Pegler, Josh Watkins, Anson Cousins, Josh Frost-Niven, Callum Eagle, Tom Topham, Will Hammond, Jack Blatchford, Ola Sogbanmu, Ollie Palmer, Rob Carr

Subs used: Chris Aldridge, George Frith, Sean Bradley

Subs not used: Ali Turpie, Connor Close

Booked: Jack Blatchford, Rob Carr

My MOTM: Rob Carr

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