Cards Overcome Dogged Resistance from Hampton to Maintain Winning Run

Bob Raikes
11:28am, Thu 27th Dec 2018
Woking FC 3 Hampton & Richmond Borough FC 1
Vanarama National League South
26th December 2018

The Cards started their Christmas programme with a match against local rivals, Hampton & Richmond. A well-attended Kingfield saw 2,516 spectators at the ground to make the most of the dry and mild weather. The early kick-off allowed the most to be made of the holiday weather. Dowse was able to field an unchanged starting line-up and the cohesion showed, especially in the first half.

Although some were talking the fixture up as a special one, because the Woking management team and many in the squad came from Hampton after the end of last season. However, Dowse played down the significance and the situation was mitigated as Gary McCann, the Hampton manager, also brought a number of players from his previous club, Hendon. In the end, the match was played in a competitive spirit, but with good sporting behaviour on both sides.

After a scrappy first half hour, Woking started to really put things together and by half time, the cards were 2-0 up, after two great goals. Craig Ross had not had a save to make. The Beavers fought back in the second half and Woking were not sure of the three points until the very late goal from Greg Luer, following the changes from Dowse that saw Hodges also come on to revitalise the second half performance.

Woking started by kicking towards the KRE in what seemed to be a 4321 configuration with Loza and Kretzschmar behind Jake Hyde and Taylor, and with Edser and Jolley protecting the back five.

The first attack of the game came from Hampton, from a free kick on their left, but was well defended with a strong punch out by Ross. The first attack by the Cards was in the fourth minute and saw a shot from Edser that was blocked while another attack led to a weak shot that was easily saved.

After seven minutes a free kick from Casey saw the ball recycled to Loza who put in a great cross, just inches from the goal line, but Hyde couldn't quite get on the end of it. Any touch would have surely seen a goal.

Two minutes later, the large crowd saw a great run by Loza down the left but the move was well defended and put out for a for a corner- one which didn't lead to a chance.

Hampton had attacks but didn't really threaten and Woking were countering strongly down the left where Hampton were struggling to contain Loza. After a poor defensive header by Hampton, Jake Hyde got into a great position and the ball came down to him, but he shot straight at the keeper.

At 18 minutes, the Hampton captain, Corcoran, was down for a couple of minutes for treatment on his right leg, but was unable to continue. That meant that the Hampton number 8, Dundas - who was built more like a boxer than a footballer - moved back into defence.

Despite the change, Hampton kept going forward and there were a couple of minutes of good pressure for HR but Woking were defending well and Ross was not tested in the Woking goal.

Hampton almost got a breakaway but good defending by Cook saw Woking win a free kick and relieve the pressure. At this point, my notes said that neither side was really taking control of midfield although Woking was doing better of the two teams, with some good passing moves. Kretzschmar, Edser and Loza then combined well, but the cross to the first-named was put out for a corner

Jolley retrieved the clearance and pinged the ball to Loza who controlled it and put in a superb cross for Hyde to put a glancing header into the far corner - it was shades of Swindon! 27 minutes, then and it was Woking 1 Hampton 0.

There was a good break by Hampton and the ball got to the corner flag, but the weak cross was easily dealt with by Ross. Taylor put a pass through to Kretzschmar who was brought down just outside the box in a dangerous place. Hyde nearly connected with the ball in and Cook headed just past the post. The Cards were beginning to dominate the game.

On 32 minutes Hyde knocked the ball back to Jolley (he did this all game) who put in a great cross to Edser who took it down, but the shot was saved, tipped onto the post by Lovelock. Bray was booked for Hampton at this time.

Woking were dominating and creating chances but the final touch wasn't quite there. There were a number of close things from the Cards, but the ball kept going wide or just over.

In extra time of the first half, a free kick was awarded after Hyde was pulled over outside the box - just to the right of the D. Edser put a firm side foot shot into to the far corner of the net - the keeper had no chance! So we got to half time with the Cards well in charge.

Half-time: Woking FC 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough FC 0

One Hampton fan tweeted at half time that 'it could turn out to be a long second half'.
However, the Beavers really made a strong effort to get back in the game, while the Cards may have tired after recent exertions. Either way, Hampton started to get back in the game and did better at breaking down the threats from Loza and others.

On 49 minutes there was a late challenge by Cook who was booked for his efforts. From around 30 yards out, Hampton took advantage of the opportunity and made a half chance, but the Woking defence stayed firm.

It was 50 minutes before the first attack by Woking in the second half. Loza made a strong run, but his cross was slightly too long. Another attack saw the goal missed because of a deflection after Loza, Edser and Hyde combined well.

There was an injury to Connors from Hampton, but he was able to come back on.

Jolley put in a tackle on Dickson as he got towards the left edge of the area, but the referee judged it as from behind (earning Jolley a booking). A dangerous free kick was the first ball that Woking did not deal with well and from the free kick, Bray put the ball in.

That made the score after 58 minutes, Woking 2 Hampton and Richmond 1 and it was 'game on'.

Woking started trying to get back on top in the game, but Hampton were putting up good resistance. At 65 minutes a free kick for Hampton saw the side put in a good cross but the weak header was high and over the goal.

Again, Woking were making good runs and half chances, but couldn't get the final ball right. Loza tried moving to the right - in the end he wasn't getting the same freedom that he had got on the left in the first half.

To change things around, Dowse made some substitutions and fans' favourite, Paul Hodges, came on at 76 minutes for Edser and that paid off with several of his trademark direct runs and some accurate and quick passes.

However, just after this Hampton made a good attack, without scoring, and then brought Whichelow on and took Oliyide off.

On 79 mins., a sweeping move from Hyde to Kretzschmar to Taylor tempted the Richmond keeper to go out almost to the corner flag, but he managed to block the attack.

Another four-man move showed the slicker passing from the Cards but Hyde couldn't quite get to the header to get the goal. At 83 minutes, Hyde went off after putting in a hard-working shift and was replaced by Luer; at the same time, Hampton took off Sole and brought on Hill.

Two more flowing passing moves made the most of the skills of Luer and Hodges, but with no result when the assistant signalled four minutes of extra time. Aaron Eyoma came on for Loza in the added time.

As fans started to expect the final whistle, Luer made a break and although he was challenged, he held off the opponents to get into the area and dinked the ball over the keeper into the net to send the Cards fans in the LGS home very happy!

Greg Luer chips the ball over the Hampton keeper to wrap the game up for the Cards; pic: David Holmes

Woking played the better football and for around 20 minutes in the first half and for 15 minutes towards the end of the match really looked the better side. However, Hampton were no push over and strived to get something from the fixture. The return fixture will be no 'walk in the park' next week, it seems.

The good work in defence, and by Jolley, Edser and Taylor in front of the defence, was one clear difference between the teams; the passing of the front four was the other key element.

Woking: 1 Craig Ross, 2 Nathan Collier, 3. Josh Casey ©, 4 Jack Cook, 5 Ben Gerring, 6 Christian Jolley, 7 Toby Edser (Paul Hodges 77’), 8 Harry Taylor, 9 Jake Hyde (Greg Luer 83’), 10 Max Kretzschmar, 11 Jamar Loza (Aaron Eyoma 92’)

Unused subs: Noel Leighton, Berti Schotterl

Goals: Hyde 28’, Edser 46’, Luer 93’

Bookings: Cook 50’, Jolley 57’, Loza 61’

Hampton & Richmond 1 Tom Lovelock, 2 Tyrell Miller-Rodney , 3 Jack Connors, 4 Sam Cox, 5 Rian Bray, 6 Michael Corcoran © (Nathan Mavila 21’), 7 Liam Sole (Ryan Hill 84’), 8 Craig Dundas, 9 Karl Oliyide (Matty Whichelow 77’), 10 Chris Dickson, 11 Rhys Murrell-Williamson

Unused subs: Ricky Wellard, Dan Uchechi

Goals: Bray 60’

Bookings: Bray 32’

Referee: Jacob Miles

Attendance: 2,516

Man of the Match: The choice of the sponsors, Peacock Build and Maintenance, was Jack Cook.

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