Cards shoot down the Spitfires on their own patch

Andy Turner
12:00am, Wed 31st Jul 2013
Eastleigh 2 Woking 4
Pre-Season Friendly
30th July 2013

A dominant Woking display showed the difference between the Conference Premier and South divisions, with the visitors overcoming big-spending Eastleigh by 4 goals to 2.

Woking’s starting XI showed three changes from Saturday’s starting line up, Sam Beasant replacing Aaron Howe in goal, Joe McNerney coming in for Jack Parkinson in defence and Kevin Betsy, making a welcome first start of the season, in place of Josh Payne in midfield. Eastleigh’s side included ex- Cards Ross Flitney and Craig McAllister and recent high profile signing Stuart Fleetwood.

In a quiet start to the match, it was Woking who made the early running with Lee Sawyer particularly influential in midfield. However, it was the hosts who had the first shot on goal when Stuart Fleetwood shot straight at Beasant. A scare for Woking came in the 21st minute when Yemi Odubade went down in the area under a challenge from Brett Johnson but the referee waved away the Eastleigh penalty claims. Johnson then performed a superb tackle on Will Evans as he was through on goal, but from this Woking broke quickly up field only to be halted by a foul on Lee Sawyer. Gavin Williams stepped up and his curling free kick was tipped over by the ex-Woking custodian for a corner. At the other end of the pitch, another superb tackle by Brett Johnson saved Woking as Odubade broke clear. Woking then cleared the ball upfield to Betsy, who made progress before passing to Williams who set up John Nutter to cross, only for Williams to head just wide.

After 33 minutes, Craig McAllister broke into the Woking area and looked odds-on to score but Beasant made himself big and saved superbly. Woking hit back when Kevin Betsy was bundled over near the left side of Eastleigh’s area. Williams sent the resulting free kick towards the far post only for Johnson to head narrowly wide.

On 36 minutes, Eastleigh took the lead. The Woking defence was caught out by a long ball over the top which released Odubade, who raced into the Woking area, drew Beasant and coolly scored under the keeper's diving body.

Within 2 minutes, Woking were level. A tackle by Williams allowed Betsy to pick up the loose ball. He skilfully tricked his way into the area and drew the 'keeper before squaring to Mark Ricketts, who slammed the ball home from 10 yards. With the half drawing to a close, Woking took the lead. Betsy found John Alcinde on the edge of the Eastleigh area and he passed to the oncoming Lee Sawyer who was upended in the box. Gavin Williams confidently dispatched the resulting penalty to give the Cards an interval lead.

Half-time: Eastleigh 1 Woking 2

Woking started the 2nd half as they finished the first and had an early chance when Joe McNerney headed a probing Williams corner narrowly wide. However, Eastleigh were soon level when, in the 52nd minute, half-time substitute Mike Cestor upended Eastleigh substitute Jai Reason in the area and he picked himself up to score from the penalty spot.

As often happens with pre-season friendlies, a large number of substitutions after the break disrupted the flow of the game. However, one of Woking's half-time replacements, Gez Sole, livened up the proceedings considerably after 63 minutes by scoring a superb goal. Betsy received the ball in midfield and surged forward before releasing Sole into the right channel of the area. As the 'keeper advanced to cut down the angle, the Woking forward coolly chipped over him to restore Woking’s lead. Eastleigh briefly threatened an equaliser in the 72nd minute when Damian Scannell set himself up to shoot, only to be denied by a last ditch tackle by Joe McNerney.

After this, it was Woking who dominated the remainder of the match. Second half substitute Niall Wright was fouled on the edge of the box allowing Sole a chance at a shot at goal but his free kick went just over. Both George Frith and Josh Payne then had shots which were charged down before a long ball to the far post on 81 minutes saw Ollie Taylor head just wide. With five minutes remaining Betsy's surging run was crudely halted on the edge of the area and Sole stepped up to send a wicked free kick thundering against the top of the crossbar. Finally, Woking scored their fourth in the 87th minute, another probing ball into the area by Sole finding Ollie Taylor who made no mistake from six yards.

Overall, this was an excellent all-round performance by Woking against a side who are highly rated and who would have expected to give Woking a run for their money. Johnson, McNerney and Parkinson were solid in defence, Sawyer ran the midfield and it was good to see Betsy back causing havoc with his surging runs into the opposition penalty area. Williams is beginning to look a class act in midfield and Sole is starting to regain fitness and sharpness following his long lay-off. Confidence and team spirit will not have been harmed by four victories in the last four friendly matches.

Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter (Mike Cestor HT), Mark Ricketts (George Frith 66), Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson (Jack Parkinson HT), Lee Sawyer (Niall Wright 66), John Alcinde, Gavin McCallum (Guiseppe Sole HT), Gavin Williams (Josh Payne 66), Gavin McCullum (Oliver Taylor 66), Kevin Betsy.

Unused sub: Aaron Howe

Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Dan Spence (Jai Reason HT), Michael Green, Will Evans, Dean Beckwith (Chris Dillon 74), Chris Todd, Jamie Collins, Glen Southam (Ben Strevens HT), Craig McAllister, Yemi Odubade (Damian Scannell 62), Stuart Fleetwood.

Attendance: 174

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