Boz's Fruit & Veg

Cards complete holiday double

Brian Caffarey
9:23pm, Sun 1st Jan 2012
Farnborough 0 Woking 1
1 January 2012

The Cards completed a holiday ‘double’ over Farnborough this afternoon, with ex-Boro favourite Jack King slotting home in the 3rd minute, and as a result go 14 points clear of second-placed Chelmsford City, who have a game in hand.

The game was in doubt right till kick-off as the result of the downpour which had started a couple of hours earlier. Fans had had to wade through inches of water to get through the turnstiles and then watched as the match officials kicked a ball around in the boggiest part of the pitch. Although the ball was clearly ‘holding up’ in places, they decided to let the game go ahead – a decision which was vindicated by the fact that the pitch, though decidedly difficult in places, did not turn the game into a lottery. Indeed, both sides, and especially the Cards in the first half, produced some high quality football.

The Cards lined up with new loan signing Keiran Murtagh in midfield alongside Jay Davies and Jack King, with Andy Little continuing in goal and Wayne Gray and Paris Cowan-Hall amongst those on the bench.

The BSBS ‘player of the month’ Alan Inns began with a typically determined sliding tackle to foil the lively Bennett before Woking quickly took the initiative, with Moses Ademola winning a corner. His outswinging ball reached Inns, whose downward header came back off keeper Lovelock, falling nicely to King, who slotted home easily to put the Cards 1-0 up with only three minutes gone.

The Woking pressure continued as, immediately afterwards, Ademola swung and missed, with successive shots then being blocked. Murtagh soon reminded us why he had made such a strong impression in his previous loan spell at Kingfield, oozing class and confidence, with time on the ball, and executing a number of deft touches in spite of the awful conditions.

After the redoubtable Adam Doyle had made a superb interception to halt a home attack, the Cards went close again, with Murtagh executing a delightful chipped shot which keeper Lovelock, back pedalling, just managed to tip away. With the ball played back in by Inns, Murtagh’s second effort spun harmlessly off his foot.

Woking remained in the ascendancy, playing some lovely football at times as Murtagh, King and Davies all swung balls out to Ademola and Dale Binns on the flanks and it seemed only a matter of time before the lead would be doubled.

In the 17th minute a stooping King back-header from another Ademola corner gave Joe McNerney a chance to test the keeper from close range. A few minutes later another flowing move involving Murtagh and Elvis Hammond released Adam Newton down the right. His excellent curling effort rebounded off the foot of the far post straight into the keeper’s arms. Binns then did well to reach a Newton cross but could only divert the ball to Lovelock.

With Andy Little still not tested at the other end – thanks to some well-timed interceptions by a very solid back line – Woking continued to make nearly all of the running but, by about the half hour mark, the feeling grew that a second goal was going to prove more elusive than had seemed likely after the Cards’ opening salvo. An effort from Davies spun off a defender and then Murtagh’s attempted shot flew well wide.

After a relatively fallow ten minutes or so the Cards ramped up the pressure in the five minutes before half-time. An almost comic sequence involving Lovelock and a defender nearly gifted Woking a golden opportunity. McNerney then teed up Doyle but, with head raised, he blasted the ball well over the bar. Finally, an exquisite ‘chip’ in the box from Murtagh presented Davies with a difficult volley but a defender managed to block his shot.

The Cards left the field to warm applause from the large Woking contingent, who had enjoyed some excellent football in spite of the treacherous surface. All that had been missing was another goal to reflect more accurately the balance of play.

Half-time: Farnborough 0 Woking 1

The second half proved to be scrappier than the first, perhaps partly because the Cards, whenever they sought to attack down the right, were playing on the wettest part of the pitch – as Ademola found to his frustration on several occasions. The Cards still created chances at regular intervals but these largely came from ‘breaks’ upfield rather than flowing moves of the kind seen on a number of occasions in the first half. Increasingly, as the half went on it was Woking’s back line which caught the eye, with Doyle, Inns, McNerney and Newton all doing a terrific job in making sure that the Farnborough forwards rarely got a sight of Woking’s goal.

There were early forays forward by Binns and Hammond, with Lovelock repelling Davies’s goal attempt and then Murtagh stabbing a shot just wide with the outside of his right foot after Binns had pulled the ball back to him.

With ten minutes gone, Ademola, sliding in, was bravely foiled by Lovelock. Shortly afterwards the keeper comfortably held a low drive by King. Ademola looked to have been presented with another good chance in the 62nd minute when a Binns cross found him at the far post but he appeared to lose his footing at the critical moment.

In the 64th minute Little was finally called into serious action, parrying a Bennett effort to safety after a back heel had opened up a shooting chance.

The 67th minute saw the welcome return of Paris Cowan-Hall from his hamstring injury, replacing Binns. Ademola had a great chance to wrap up the match in the 72nd minute, blasting wide from a good, central position. Cowan-Hall’s electric pace enabled him to test the keeper a few minutes later.

Boro’ continued to carry a threat coming forward but found it very hard to breach the Woking back line, with Inns prominent again with some decisive tackles.

The last ten minutes saw Cowan-Hall come close to scoring on three more occasions. First, he did well to bring the ball down at the far post before seeing his shot blocked. Second – after an enjoyable attacking cameo from Doyle – Cowan-Hall went clear of the defence but, with only the goalkeeper to beat, put the ball wide. Lastly, having got the better of a defender in spite of giving him several yards start, he chipped the ball over the keeper and over the bar.

There was a final ‘mini scare’ for the Cards when Little had to parry a shot but Garry Hill’s side then comfortably saw out the remaining few minutes with the ball largely being passed around in the Farnborough half.

This was a fine Woking display, especially in the first half, on a difficult pitch, with strong performances throughout the side. But perhaps particular mention should go the defence for their contribution to ensuring another clean sheet.

With two home games coming up against sides near the bottom of the table, Garry Hill will no doubt be very keen to put even more distance between the Cards and any potential challengers.

Woking: Andy Little, Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, Keiran Murtagh, Alan Inns, Adam Doyle, Jay Davies, Jack King, Moses Ademola (Derek Duncan 73), Elvis Hammond (Giuseppe Sole 87), Dale Binns (Paris Cowan-Hall 67)

Unused subs: Aaron Howe, Wayne Gray

Booked: Jack King 72

My MOTM: Joe McNerney (pictured) – back to his commanding form of last season

Farnborough: Thomas Lovelock, Miles Smith, Oliver Treacher, Orlando Jeffrey (Nathan Webb 46), Richard Orlu, Adam Bygrave, Daniel Bennett, Ashley Winn (Jordan Merriman 82), Phillip Page, Marcus Moody (Troy Ferguson 70), Reece Connolly

Unused subs: Callum Cobb, Craig Bradshaw

Booked: Richard Orlu 45

Attendance: 2017

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