Cards outmanoeuvred in battle for local pride

Ian Toft
12:00am, Tue 6th Mar 2018
Sutton United 2 Woking 0
Vanarama National League
6th March 2018

Woking suffered a two-goal defeat to local rivals Sutton United at Gander Green Lane. Goals either side of half time from Byron Harrison and Tom Bolarinwa gave local bragging rights to the U’s.

There was plenty of endeavour from Woking; however, it was hard to argue that they deserved anything from a game that felt throughout was always slipping away from them. Sutton had the lion’s share of possession and shots on goal and made it very difficult for the Cards to carve out any real opportunities to score.

Both teams had benefited from ten days rest given the widespread postponements in the league last weekend. Anthony Limbrick made one enforced change from the creditable draw with Boreham Wood in the previous outing. With that game overshadowed by a career-ending injury sustained to Damon Lathrope, the consequence was Limbrick offering a recall to club captain Richard Orlu for tonight’s line-up. With Orlu partnering Josh Staunton in the middle of the back four, this allowed Joey Jones to push further forward and partner Kane Ferdinand in the centre of midfield.

Woking attacked the Gander Green Lane end of the ground in the first half but instantly found themselves on the back foot. Beautyman broke free from Ralph down the right, and perhaps anticipating that the Cards may not be set in their positions, hit an early strike which trickled into the side netting.

The Cards first advance into Sutton territory saw a hopeful dribble forward from Jones. Sensing an overlap from Young he rolled the ball back to his teammate. Unfortunately the resulting cross was overhit and sailed over the crossbar.

Sutton immediately countered and after the ball was held up on the touchline a pass was played back infield to Eastmond who hit a fierce first time shot which beat Baxter but ricocheted off of the crossbar and away to safety.

Woking had one of their best opportunities to score in the twelfth minute when a careless back-pass from a Sutton defender ran into the path of Theophanous. Though he attempted to round Butler and hope to pass the ball beyond him he did so too closely to the U’s goalkeeper enabling Butler to kick out a foot and disturb the Cards’ forward’s run. The ball ran loose and was cleared to safety by one of Butler’s teammates.

Following on from this opportunity there began a period of sustained pressure from the home side. Good attempts by Aswad Thomas and Harrison, both from long accurate crosses were narrowly spurned. However, soon after, a long corner from Beautyman was headed back across goal by Collins into a mix of bodies. Harrison redirected the ball which then appeared to be spilled by Baxter resulting in the loose ball being bundled into the net at the second attempt by the on-loan Barrow striker.

Woking’s final chance of the half saw a corner swung in by Ralph which eluded all and was collected by Cook just inside the penalty area. As he switched his balance to take the ball away from his opponent there appeared to be late contact. To the surprise of many Cards players their protests for a penalty were firmly waved away by referee Rock allowing Sutton to collect the loose ball and clear.

Half-time: Sutton United 1 Woking 0

Home team manager Paul Doswell made an alteration for the second half, replacing Tommy Wright with another attacking player Kieron Cadogan. The Cards sought to get back in the game with an early attack. A free kick wide out to the left was hit powerfully by Cook. Butler was just quick enough to beat the ball away in time ahead of the onrushing Grego-Cox.

A free kick for Sutton was played in from the left by Davis which found its way through to Collins who rose ahead of his marker and headed goal bound. Only the quick reflexes from Baxter prevented the U’s from doubling their lead as he dived to collect the ball.

However, the following home attack was insufficiently cleared enabling Beautyman to find space and drag Young wide. This cleared the space for Bolarinwa to run into. When the pass was sent through it allowed the U’s forward time to be able to collect, run on and pick out a space in the far corner to pass the ball into the Cards goal for a two nil lead.

Anthony Limbrick sent on additional firepower in the form of Jonny Edwards in an effort to get a goal back. Unfortunately it was Sutton who continued to retain control of the game. Bolarinwa ran onto a through ball and only the quick thinking from Staunton anticipated the move enabling the Cards centre half to throw his body in the way of the resulting shot and avert danger.

The Cards had two final half chances in the efforts to take something from the game. A Cook free kick was hit powerfully but straight into the arms of Butler and at the death a set piece fell kindly to Orlu but his shot was high and wide.

Unfortunately this appeared to be one of those games where despite everything the Cards attempted to do it seemed that Sutton were one step ahead and there can be little argument that they were worthy winners on the night. With rivals Macclesfield having had their game postponed it allowed Sutton to close the gap in their bid for the league title. Woking remain in 15th place on 43 points.

The Cards must now look forward to a return to Kingfield on Saturday when they take on Halifax Town in what should be a closely contested encounter based on their hard fought meeting earlier in the season.

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Matt Young, Richard Orlu (c), Josh Staunton, Nathan Ralph, Kane Ferdinand, Joey Jones, Charlie Carter, Reece Grego-Cox (Jason Banton 72), Anthony Cook (Fabio Saraiva 88), Louis Theophanous (Jonny Edwards 57)

Unused subs: Sam Mason, Chez Isaac

Yellow Cards: None

Sutton United: Jamie Butler, Aswad Thomas, Louis John, Jamie Collins (c), Kenny Davis, Craig Eastmond, Terrell Thomas, Tommy Wright (Kieron Cadogan 46), Tom Bolarinwa (Craig Dundas 82), Harry Beautyman (Simon Walton 76), Byron Harrison

Goals: Harrison 33, Bolarinwa 54

Unused subs: Adam Coombes, Simon Downer

Yellow Cards: None

My MOTM: Kane Ferdinand: In a game where most of the team struggled to impose themselves on the game Ferdinand was at the heart of many of those passages of play that the team were able into the Sutton half. Acting as the proverbial “Quarterback� it was Ferdinand that best offered the drive and creativity to make something happen.

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 2,019 (133 Woking supporters)

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