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Into the play-offs

Alan Barnes
2:00pm, Mon 2nd May 2011
Ebbsfleet United 1 V Woking 1
Blue Square South
30th April 2011

Away to the team lying third in the league is about as tough as it gets on the last day of the season. The Cards needed one point from this game to feature in the play-offs again. The home side could go second with a win, so it was all to play for.

A warm afternoon at Stonebridge Road saw a stalemate as both defences were strong throughout, giving few chances for both sets of forwards over the ninety-five minutes played. There was a strong breeze right to left from the main stand and both sides had their best half kicking into it.

The home side found a novel way of kicking off, putting the ball straight out for a goal kick to Woking. The Cards had the backing of a packed terrace behind the Andy Little goal. Woking always looked most dangerous when the tricky Dobson had the ball on the right and his pace threatened to get behind the home side a number of times.

Ebbsfleet were finding it difficult to get good balls in to the front players, often playing the ball too long and their shooting was often wayward.

Woking took the lead after thirteen minutes. Ademola wriggled free on the left touchline but was then cynically fouled by Duncan as he threatened to race away. Moses took the free-kick himself a yard in from the touchline. His low cross was missed by Pooley and Elvis Hammond finished with a firm shot from six yards.

Dobson then cut in from the right, but Hawkes in the home goal managed to cut out his cross from the bye line. Woking were the sharper of the two sides, cutting out a number of passes and often winning the second ball but were often guilty of giving the ball away too easily. Ebbsfleet at this stage were trying to get in behind the Woking defence but McNerney and Doyle remained strong and were well supported by Thomas and Ricketts as the defensive unit were not drawn out of position. The home shooting was mainly off target and not causing Little too many problems. One free-kick just inside the Woking half looked as though Ebbsfleet were trying to get air miles, as the ball went higher than the yellow balloons released by Woking fans before kick-off!

Ebbsfleet United 0 Woking 1

The home side became much more positive in the second period and as a result looked more dangerous with their approach play. Woking for their part started defending deeper, allowing Ebbsfleet more time on the ball. Twice Hammond was just beaten to the ball by Hawkes in the home goal but in general Woking rarely threatened in this half as the home side pressed forward.

The goal for Ebbsfleet came via a penalty when referee Paul Forrester decided that Anane had brought down West as he tried to get round him on the left side of the area. Carew hit the ball firmly to the right of Little.

On the hour Hammond nudged the ball round the home keeper, crossed to Taylor, whose shot was blocked. Dobson then hit a snap shot well wide before a Burgess corner was headed into the side netting by Doyle.

Ebbsfleet had two good low shots from distance but Little was right behind them. With Inns replacing the injured Ricketts, the Cards appeared to settle for the draw and headed for the corners of the pitch whenever possible.

Palmer replaced Taylor and Koranteng replaced Ademola with Taylor dropping into midfield. There was no danger at either end of the pitch from then on as both sides made their way into the play- offs.

Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts (Alan Inns 65), Joe McNerney, Andy Doyle, Craig Dobson, Lyle Taylor (Ollie Palmer 72), Moses Ademola (Nathan Koranteng 52) Elvis Hammond, Andy Burgess.

Hawkes, Stone, Duncan, Carew, Pooley, Lorraine, West (Shakes 62), Fakinos, Erskine, Ginty (Williams 67), Howe.

MOTM: Joe McNerney (pictured)

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