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Cards win but it’s a struggle

Alan Worth
9:16pm, Sat 22nd Oct 2011
Staines Town 0 Woking 1
Blue Square Bet South
22nd October 2011

A single Elvis Hammond goal was enough for Woking to secure the three points at Wheatsheaf Park against struggling Staines Town. But the Cards struggled themselves at times, particularly in a less than inspiring second half, and despite facing only ten men for the last forty minutes will have been relieved to hear the referee’s final whistle. The three points gained sees Woking consolidate their position at the top of the table and three points clear of their nearest rivals.

Garry Hill made a number of changes from last week’s side. Alan Inns made his first start of the season and a welcome return from injury, partnering captain Mark Ricketts at the centre of defence. Adam Doyle started at left back with Adam Newton returning on the opposite flank. Elvis Hammond retained his starting place up front with Wayne Gray missing again through injury. Nathan Koranteng, having returned from Boreham Wood, had a place on the bench.

Woking dominated possession in the first half from the start but it took ten minutes before they managed to create any semblance of a chance. Dale Binns (pictured), lively throughout and the Cards’ most dangerous forward on the day, volleyed over the bar after an Ademola cross had fallen to him outside the box. Five minutes later Woking had another half chance. This time a free-kick in a central position but well outside the box was teed up for Jack King. His powerful shot was deflected for a corner. Shortly afterwards Woking had a second chance from the same position after Paris Cowan-Hall was tripped on the edge of the box. This time it was Jay Davies who tried his luck but he wasted the opportunity and blazed the ball well over the bar.

Woking took the lead on twenty-six minutes. Dale Binns was the creator, turning Simon Jackson inside out and delivering a delicious cross that appeared to deflect off Elvis Hammond’s body and into the far corner.

The goal sparked new belief in the Woking side as they upped the tempo and sought to capitalise on their advantage. This was by far the best period of play for the league leaders as they began to create a series of half chances.

First, Adam Newton drove the ball across the six-yard box but a sliding Cowan-Hall was unable to connect. A Jack King volley was straight at keeper Wells and two crosses in quick succession evaded first Ademola and then Hammond. Finally, Jay Davies tried another speculative effort but his shot was well over the bar.

After half an hour Elvis Hammond expertly controlled a volleyed clearance from the Woking defence, swivelled and laid on a neat pass for Cowan-Hall who was away on goal. But, with the young forward bearing down on goal, referee Mr Degnarain pulled up play with a head injury to a Staines defender lying prone on the floor. Another possible chance had come to nothing.

A minute later and Paris Cowan-Hall sought to capitalise on a poor Staines defensive header. He managed to get to the bye line, wriggled past a defender and then, from the tightest of angles, saw his shot hit the foot of the post – a simple ball across the six yard box would have been a better option.

With a minute of the first half remaining Staines had their only real chance of the half as an Everitt shot flew wide of the right-hand post. There was still time at the other end for Binns to cut in from the left but he was unable to get his shot away before fouling a Staines defender.

Half-time: Staines Town 0 Woking 1

Woking never really got going in the second half, although Moses Ademola came close after six minutes when latching on to a great cross-field pass from Davies, he turned and smashed a left-foot shot just wide of the angle between post and bar. This was as good as it got!

There immediately followed a moment of controversy – Adam Everitt was shown a straight red card after a lunging, two-footed tackle from behind on Jay Davies. The young midfielder had already suffered a number of heavy challenges and he managed to get himself booked straightaway as he was penalised for a foolish challenge on Tyrell.

Now down to ten men, the Swans began to play with greater commitment while their visitors managed to look ever more disjointed as they struggled to dominate a game that needed to be made safe with a second goal. After a mistake by Tyrell, Cowan-Hall managed to get himself into the box but rather than shoot left the ball for Ademola, who in turn was expecting his teammate to perform the “coup de grace�. The result was an embarassing misunderstanding and another chance wasted.

Staines were now managing to create a few half-chances of their own to add to the Cards’ anxiety. A Swans’ corner resulted in a huge scramble as Woking, desperate to clear, finally managed to get the ball away after it had ‘ping ponged’ around the box.

An Ademola cross had Cowan-Hall diving forward for the ball but his effort flew wide. An excellent cross-field ball saw Ademola in another good position but he hesitated and was again unable to get his shot away.

Staines’ substitute Wheeler then had a shot deflected for a corner and Jackson’s dangerous long-range lob into the box had Aaron Howe stretching, as he looked into the low sun, but managing to palm the ball away for yet another corner.

Woking were now hanging on and the ten men almost managed to secure a point when, in time added on, Scott Taylor got on the end of a ball played into the box by Tyrell. Howe made his one real save of the match and it was so crucial for the Cards.

A win and three points but this was hard going and a performance in the second half that was far from what we’ve come to expect this season. With a game on Monday, Woking will need to regroup quickly if they are to maintain the current excellent run of results in the league.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton (Joe McNerney 73), Dale Binns, Mark Ricketts, Alan Inns (Derek Duncan 79), Adam Doyle, Paris Cowan-Hall (Giuseppe Sole 74), Jack King, Moses Ademola, Elvis Hammond, Jay Davies

Unused subs: Nathan Koranteng, Andrew Little

Cautions: Alan Inns 42, Jay Davies 55, Adam Doyle 74

Staines Town: Louis Wells, Simon Jackson, Charles Dunne, Danny Gordon, Richard Orlu (James Tyrell 46), Gareth Risbridger, Jesse Kewley-Graham (Scott Taylor 80), Adam Everitt, Marc Charles-Smith, Mark Nwokeji (David Wheeler 72), Howard Newton

Unused subs: Dean Wells, Kyle Merson

Cautions: Danny Gordon 36,
Sent Off: Adam Everitt 52

MOTM: Dale Binns

Attendance: 1019

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