Cards through to final
10:14am, Wed 7th Mar 2012
Woking 1 Carshalton Athletic 0
Surrey Senior Cup - Semi Final
6th March 2012
Woking progressed to the Surrey Senior Cup Final for the first time in three years after defeating Carshalton Athletic, who ply their trade in the Ryman Premier League.
Chances were limited throughout the match, but Giuseppe Soleâ€™s confident penalty at the start of the second half ensured the Cards will meet either last yearâ€™s victors Corinthian Casuals or division rivals Sutton United on the 9th May.
Garry Hill made five changes from Saturdayâ€™s disappointing defeat against Maidenhead United, with Andy Little replacing Aaron Howe in goal, Derek Duncan and Mike Cestor (pictured), returned from suspension, coming in for the rested pair of Alan Inns and Adam Doyle, Dale Binns, making his first start since New Yearâ€™s Day, returning in place of the ineligible Kevin Betsy, and Sole, who got the nod over Wayne Gray to partner Paris Cowan-Hall up front.
Long-missing captain Mark Ricketts, injured in mid-December, was also showing encouraging signs as he was involved in the pre-match warm-up and half-time kick-around.
The Cards started in decent fashion, seeing plenty of the ball and keeping possession well while lacking something of a cutting edge. Most of the hostsâ€™ best play came through the pace and trickery of Binns, and it was he who had the first effort on goal â€“ getting on the end of Moses Ademolaâ€™s cross towards the back post, and volleying his effort at keeper Hamann.
A trademark Sole free-kick and two long-range efforts from Keiran Murtagh came close to further testing the keeper, but it was an overlapping Adam Newton who had the best chance of the half: running onto a neat through ball from Ademola and rounding Hamann, only to be denied by a last-ditch goal-line clearance.
The visitors did also carry a threat about them, leading goal-scorer Paul Vines, with 19 this season, looking perhaps the most dangerous player in purple and gold, while Little was forced into saves from Billy Crook and Laurent Hamici.
Cowan-Hall might have twice grabbed himself a goal in the closing stages of the period â€“ Soleâ€™s corner, headed back across goal by Joe McNerney, narrowly eluding him, before his own good work saw him muscle between the challenges of two defenders and shoot at the keeper.
Half-time: Woking 0 Carshalton Athletic 0
Elvis Hammond, a half-time replacement for Cowan-Hall, was straight into the action after the break, running the ball down the right flank and playing in Ademola, only for the Woking number nine to be fouled from behind by Craig Tanner. Sole made no mistake from the spot kick, slotting past Hamann â€“ who struggled to even get close to the ball, let alone stop it, despite guessing correctly and diving to his right.
Two comfortable Little saves apart, Woking, who had also introduced youngsters Josh Griffiths and Ola Sogbanmu for Binns and Murtagh, were now looking firm favourites to progress. However, the Robins were beginning to push forward and, when Joe McNerney hobbled off after a nasty-looking tackle from Dean McDonald, the Cards were finishing with ten men for the fourth match in a row, this time with fifteen minutes remaining.
Sole might have made the game safe when he headed over Griffithsâ€™ cross from the right, but a nervous Woking were instead left to hand the visitors one golden late opportunity to send the semi-final into extra-time: a corner, deep into stoppage time, wasnâ€™t cleared by the Cardsâ€™ defence and Vines shot over from as little as ten yards â€“ the final whistle sounding seconds later.
Not quite the morale-boosting margin Woking players and fans would have hoped for but, nonetheless, an important win that will hopefully help get a faltering league run back on track and, a cup final for one and all to look forward to at the end of the season.
Woking: Andy Little, Adam Newton, Derek Duncan, Keiran Murtagh (Josh Griffiths 60), Joe McNerney, Mike Cestor, Paris Cowan-Hall (Elvis Hammond 46), Jack King, Moses Ademola, Giuseppe Sole, Dale Binns (Ola Sogbanmu 68).
Unused Subs: Aaron Howe, Alan Inns.
Goals: Sole 51 (pen)
Carshalton Athletic: Nick Hamann, Tom Davis, Craig Tanner, Kennedy Adjei (Sonny Ayres 80), David Ray, Michael Kamara, Billy Crook, Dean McDonald, Paul Vines, Laurent Hamici, Luke Pigden.
Unused Subs: Al-Ameen Amodi, Luke Badialli, Sean Oâ€™Toole, Darren Bryan.
Booked: McDonald 75
MOTM: Mike Cestor â€“ Most assured player on the pitch limited the chances for the hard-working visitors.