Early Goal Syndrome Still Haunts Cards

Alan Barnes
7:11pm, Wed 26th Feb 2014
Kidderminster Harriers 2 Woking 0
The Skrill Premier
25th February 2014
Woking visited Aggborough having won three times in their last five outings. Hopes would have been high, therefore, for a good result given that their hosts had not won in the league for five matches and there was also the backdrop of recent board upheaval at the Worcestershire club.

Woking made one change from Saturday's victory at home to Macclesfield Town with Aaron Howe coming in in goal for Sam Beasant, who dropped to the bench.

Given the team's propensity this season for leaking early goals, it was of paramount importance to start the match with good concentration levels. Regrettably, however, the Cards found themselves a goal behind within a minute of the kick-off. A well-worked four pass move down the right saw Adrian Cieslewicz put a good low cross into the six yard area. With the Woking defence still getting into position, Amari Morgan-Smith shot firmly home.

Matters got worse for the visitors after ten minutes when Mike Cestor threw his pads to the ground in frustration as he suffered a recurrence of his hamstring problem and was replaced by Giuseppe Sole. This resulted in captain Mark Ricketts (pictured) moving to the centre of the defence, John Goddard moving to right back and Sole operating in midfield.

Notwithstanding the setback of the early goal and the loss of Cestor and consequent reshuffle, the Cards more than held their own during the first half without managing to cause goalkeeper Nathan Vaughan any serious problems. A good example of this came after only fifteen minutes with, arguably, the Cards' best chance of the night. On this occasion, Jack Marriott found himself completely clear and lobbed the advancing Vaughan, only for his effort to drop the wrong side of the left post.

Despite his unfamiliar position, John Goodard was managing to get forward regularly and when he flashed a cross across the six yard area, there was no one to get on the end of it. Another half-chance then fell to Scott Rendell who, expecting the offside flag to go up, pulled his shot wide when well-placed.

Half-time: Kidderminster Harriers 1 Woking 0
The pattern of the match, in which both sides were guilty of slack passing, continued after the break.

The hosts were the first to look dangerous with Mickey Demetriou making a good run forward to the edge of the Cards' penalty area, but his shot was wide.

The pace of the Harriers breaks was now starting to tell and often caused problems for the visitors as they stole in behind their defence on a number of occasions.

With just over twenty minutes remaining, Woking were still very much in the game but then proceeded to concede a second goal. A needless free kick was given away twenty yards out when Josh Gowling was pushed in the back. Kyle Storer took the kick and placed it low inside the right-hand post somehow avoiding the wall.

This setback proved too much for the visitors although they did have the ball in the net in the later stages, but Marriott was judged offside.

As time ticked away, it was clear to the travelling fans that it was not going to be their night. Josh Payne had a firm shot that went wide late on but there was still time for Howe to make a fine double save with the goal gaping.

Aggborough is always a difficult place for away teams to prosper at but there is no doubt that Garry Hill and Steve Thompson would have been confident of leaving with a positive result. This defeat still leaves the team above the relegation places but the games don't get any easier with a tough away trip to high-flying Barnet next up this coming Saturday.
Woking: Aaron Howe, Mark Ricketts, John Nutter, Joe Mcnerny (Adam Brice85), Mike Cestor (Giuseppe Sole 10, replaced by Reece Beckles 74),Josh Payne, John Goddard, Kieron Murtagh, Scott Rendell, Jack Marriott, Kevin Betsy.

Unused subs: Sam Beasant, Anthony McNamee

Cautions: Kieran Murtagh 58, Jack Marriott 83
Kidderminster Harriers: Nathan Vaughan, MickeyDemetriou, Kyle Storer, Cheyenne Dunkley, Jack Byrne, (Callum Gittings 81), Anthony Malbon, Danny Jackman, Amari Morgan-Smith, Josh O'Keefe, Adrian Cieslewicz, Josh Gowling

Unused subs: Daniel Lewis, Jamie Grimes, Ryan Rowe, Santiago Aloi

Goals: Amari Morgan-Smith 1, Kyle Storer 69

Caution: Josh Gowling 40
My Man of The Match; John Goddard/Mark Ricketts, both for playing well out of position for 80 minutes.

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