It's a White-Off for Woking
12:17pm, Wed 12th Feb 2014
Salisbury City 2 Woking 0
The Skrill Premier
11th February 2014
First-half dominance for the Cards, characterised by neat control and passing, good ball-winning and movement off it, was not translated onto the score-sheet, unfortunately. This handed an opportunity to the Whites to turn the tables after half-time and complete an undeserved double over Woking.
Club captain Mark Ricketts returned to the team at right back in place of Adam Newton, in a 4-4-2 line-up again.
From kick-off, the first half pattern was set with a long ball from the back by Salisbury finding the willing run of Dan Fitchett, who shot wide. In contrast, Jack Marriott was nearly in on goal from a rebound after Keiran Murtagh worked a move. Murtagh nearly got through again after good work from Josh Payne as the two of them took control in midfield.
From a rare attack down the right by the Whites it was John Nutter who surprised his own 'keeper with a header back over a Salisbury forward that had Sam Beasant diving down to his right to gather in. Next, a Scott Rendell header on from a searching forward ball bypassed 'keeper Puddy as he rushed out to his penalty spot leaving a defender to tidy up behind him and clear. Payne then bisected the defence with a searching straight ball for Kevin Betsy into the penalty box but he delayed his pass, which was blocked. Marriott then looked to be in as John Goddard drove in from the left, but a deflection took the pace off the shot. Goddard looked to have broken through finally, after excellent work from Betsy, but the shot turned past Puddy, rolled agonisingly against the inside of the post and was cleared.
At the other end, Fitchett slid in on a low cross from Elliott Frear, who had scampered away down the left but Brett Johnson smothered his effort for a goal kick. Woking returned to the attack, Betsy breaking free for Marriott to play in Rendell, whose shot was blocked by Puddy. Murtagh then shot wide of the left-hand post and Goddard shot over. Next it was Marriott who had a shot saved as the visitors continued to press.
Woking were clearly having the better of the play and Goddard shot wide of the post after being slipped in by Betsy. Then a flurry of action as the first half neared its conclusion. Firstly, Murtagh combined well with Goddard to allow the former to get down the Salisbury right and drive in and shoot. His effort rebounded to Goddard but the energetic midfielder's shot in the centre was also blocked. Salisbury then retaliated with Warren Feeney getting in behind Brett Johnson and Mark Ricketts intervening in the nick of time as Elliott Frear broke in on the left.
Half-time: Salisbury City 0 Woking 0
For a few second-half minutes it looked like it would be attack versus defence again for Woking. Betsy got away wide on the left and his waist-high cross was guided wide on the side-foot volley by Murtagh. A John Nutter free-kick on the right then came to nothing and it seemed that the home side could finally sense their opportunity. Ryan Brett had already stretched the Cards and Dan Fitchett broke away with his effort just being deflected for a corner.
The Whites finally broke the deadlock just after the hour mark. Frear, Salisburyâ€™s man of the match, was worked in on the left and picked out Clovis Kamdjo from the byline. The former Barnet manâ€™s powerful side-foot shot gave Beasant no chance for the key first goal.
Woking tried to hit back, but Murtagh shot over and a Betsy-Marriott-Rendell move in the area was foiled. Cue Garry Hillâ€™s turn to make changes, Goddard making way for Joey Jones, in midfield to begin with, and then at right back as Ricketts was replaced by Giuseppe Sole. Rendell then set Marriott free but his fierce shot went wide.
Woking continued to look for the equaliser but could not find that telling pass or shot to open up the home defence. With time ticking by, Salisbury made the game safe when they were awarded a questionable free-kick just outside the area. Up stepped Angus Macdonald to rifle his shot home with the aid of a slight deflection.
So, a question of what might have been for the Cards. Had they managed to turn their first-half superiority into goals, it could have been a different story but the home side seized their chance in the second period to grab a somewhat fortuitous three points. Next up, another tough away trip to Gateshead on Saturday, which sees Woking having to endure plenty of travelling in February.
Woking: Sam Beasant, Mark Ricketts (Giuseppe Sole 73), Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson, John Nutter Kevin Betsy, Keiran Murtagh, Josh Payne, John Goddard (Joey Jones 67), Jack Marriott Scott Rendell (Anthony McNamee 85)
Unused Subs: Aaron Howe, Niall Wright.
Cautions: Josh Payne 33, Joe McNerney 76
Salisbury City: Will Puddy, Glenn Wilson, Brian Dutton, Ryan Brett , Angus MacDonald, Chris McPhee (Stuart Sinclair 55), Elliott Frear, Clovis Kamdjo, Robert Sinclair (Ricky Wellard 75), Dan Fitchett, Warren Feeney (James White 62)
Unused subs: James Bittner, Adam Flint
Goals: Clovis Kamdjo 64, Angus MacDonald 88
My MOTM: John Nutter - shaded it for his all-round skills and effort both in defence and attack.