Cards Denied Three Points by Late Ebbsfleet Rally

Bob Raikes
12:00am, Sat 14th Sep 2019
Woking 2 Ebbsfleet United 2
Vanarama National League
14th September 2019

The sky was blue and the grass was green for the visit of Ebbsfleet, and the return of John Goddard, Gozie Ugwu, Jack King, Frankie Sutherland and last, but never least, Garry Hill.

The Woking team was unchanged from the starting line-up against Hartlepool, but with Max Kretzschmar back on the bench after his injury at the expense of Ibrahim Miete. Before the kick off there was a very well observed one-minute applause in memory of Charlie Mortimore who died this week.

Ebbsfleet kicked off with Woking defending the LGS stand end of the ground, After the first two and a half, the Cards finally started to get the ball out of their half and towards the Ebbsfleet goal. An early indication of the battles to come was a clash of heads between Godfrey Poku and Goddard. A free kick to Woking on six minutes made its way to Hyde but the ball went out for a corner. Edser swung in a great cross that Gerring was only inches from.

Ebbsfleet gave the ball away and Johnson moved into the space in the middle but didn’t pass when the Fleet expected him to. He hit a superb goal from more than 20 yards into the far corner; just eight minutes and 1-0 to Woking.

The visitors tried to get straight back into the game although a long ball almost saw Johnson in again, but Holmes charged out from the goal to clear. Ebbsfleet tried to get the down to the corner, but conceded a 'Casey special' free kick near the corner flag.

After 13 minutes, Tarpey, who looked sharp all game, nutmegged the defender and got a fierce shot away that the keeper was just able to tip the ball over for a corner.

A couple of minutes later, Alex Reid, who was a threat throughout the game, attacked down the wing and hit a shot that flashed across the front of the Woking goal.

At this point, the game was end-to-end - there was no sustained possession by either side.

Woking won a free kick after good work between Tarpey and Hyde, but it was defended well. Poku then went in the book for a strong tackle on Goddard.

Weston of Ebbsfleet was booked on 25 minutes for a tackle. The resulting free kick came in from near the corner flag and nearly made its way into the net, but was parried by the keeper from Hyde. Tarpey then beat his man and got a low cross in to Hyde, but Hyde couldn't turn fast enough and the ball was cleared.

A header from an Ebbsfleet throw-in looped over the bar onto the roof of the net, but Ross had it well covered all the way. Both the Woking full backs were doing well and in general, Woking did well down the wings, while Ebbsfleet seemed to have more strength through the middle.

Woking made an attack down the left - Casey got the ball to Hyde who passed it onto Johnson who was fouled 25 yards out and in line with the left hand edge of the penalty area, but the ball was blazed over the KRE stand from the free kick by Tarpey. After that Johnson switched to the right with Tarps moving to left for the rest of the half.

On 35 minutes Reid - who was looking Ebbsfleet's most dangerous player - was well tackled by Ben Gerring.

Two minutes later, the Fleet intercepted a Casey throw in and the ball was got to Weston who hit a powerful shot that flashed across the goal. Woking also scrambled the ball clear from another attack.

Weston blatantly pulled Cook back, but was not booked – a second yellow would have seen him off.

Three minutes of added time saw Ebbsfleet trying to equalise but solid defending by the Cards maintained the the one goal advantage.

Half-time: Woking 1 Ebbsfleet United 0

Gozie Ugwu replaced Goddard at half time for the visitors..

Soon after the restart, Cordner won a corner on the Woking left. The ball got to Obileye who was unmarked beyond the back post, but his header missed the goal by some distance.

Johnson went on a run diagonally across corner of the Ebbsfleet penalty area and was taken out by late tackle by Holmes, the Fleet's keeper. Sutherland was booked, but Holmes stayed on for the penalty. Jake Hyde was very quick to get to the ball to take the penalty, but his hard shot hit the underside of the bar and the keeper's back and bounced out, leaving the Cards with just a one goal lead.

From a corner Ebbsfleet came close, but a header was well saved by Ross at close range. The Fleet then made a penalty appeal for handball (from where this reporter was, it looked like handball, but the ref was at a different angle!). There were several good attacks by Ebbsfleet, but with no goals and at 55 minutes, Casey lost the ball and in the subsequent attack, Reid made a great cross, but Umerah missed the header and let Woking off the hook.

On 59 minutes, Gerring, who had been impeccable until then, made a clumsy tackle on Umerah in the D on the edge of the box. After a dummy run over the ball, Sutherland hit it round the wall towards the bottom corner but Ross pushed it out for a throw in.

Woking then started to come back in to the game. Poku, Hyde, Tarpey and Edser were combining well but couldn't get the breakthrough. From a corner in the 63rd minute, Diarra headed powerfully just over the bar and soon after Hyde got the ball from Tarpey, but headed it wide.

Tarpey made a surging run half the length of the field after an Ebbsfleet attack broke down. He hit a strong shot on target, but it was just too close to the keeper.

On 70 minutes, an injury to Gerring saw Parry come onto the field. Woking were pressing better at this point, but couldn't break down the Fleet's defence.

Woking then had a let off when what could have been a penalty for grappling by Parry was waved away by the ref.

Finally Cook got the ball to Tarpey who was tackled, but the ball went through to Jake Hyde who coolly put the ball into the back of the net. At 77 minutes it was Woking 2 Ebbsfleet 0.

Poku put a ball through to Johnson who put in a good shot, but it was well saved and the danger averted. At this point, it looked as though the fight had gone out of the Fleet, but that didn't turn out to be the case. Still, a Tarpey shot was deflected for a corner, and Parry flashed a header just wide of the far post.

The play was interrupted by two substitutions for Ebbsfleet and one for Woking - Collier came on for Edser - presumably to beef up the defence but that didn't work. Straight from the restart, a good ball to Wilson was tapped in by Reid to make the score Woking 2 Ebbsfleet 1 on 83 minutes. Game on!

On 87 minutes, man of the match Johnson came off to a strong ovation from the LGS and Hodges came on.

Just as five minutes of additional time was announced, a soft free kick for Ebbsfleet was dummied by Cordner, and Weston put a very good free kick around the wall and into the far corner - Ross had no chance. Now it was 2-2.

As usual, there were a couple of late chances. Woking had a free kick, but Tarpey, who rushed to take it, hit the wall and the header looped over the bar for a corner. A scare for the Cards saw Cook nearly give the ball away with a weak chest back to Ross, but the Ebbsfleet forward couldn't get his feet organised quickly enough and it was eventually cleared.

In the end, a draw was probably a fair result, but Woking will be frustrated, having been 2-0 up with less than 20 minutes to go. On the other hand, Cards fans will know that you can't write off a Garry Hill team. There is talk that Dowse tried to sign Alex Reid and on this performance, you can see why.

Woking: 13 Craig Ross, 2 Jack Cook, 5 Ben Gerring (4 Manny Parry 72’), 6 Moussa Diarra, 3 Josh Casey ©, 14 Godfrey Poku, 8 Kane Ferdinand, 20 Toby Edser (12 Nathan Collier 84’), 7 Dave Tarpey, 17 Tyreke Johnson (11 Paul Hodges 88’), 9 Jake Hyde

Unused subs: 1 Sam Howes, 10 Max Kretzschmar

Goals: Johnson 8’, Hyde 78’

Bookings: Poku 23’

Ebbsfleet United:N21 Jordan Holmes (GK), 6 Lawrie Wilson, 10 John Goddard (9 Gozie Ugwu 45’), 2 Jack King (c), 20 Tyler Cordner, 19 Frankie Sutherland (18 Alfie Egan 83’), 8 James Ball (4 Alex Lawless 83’), 5 Ayo Obileye, 11 Myles Weston, 12 Josh Umerah, 23 Alex Reid

Unused subs: 13 Harry Palmer (GK) 15 Jamie Grimes

Goals: Reid 84’, Weston 91’

Bookings: Weston 25’, Sutherland 49’, Holmes 94’

Referee: Scott Jackson

Attendance: 1,942

Sponsor’s (Laithwaite Financial Services) Man of the Match: Tyreke Johnson – well deserved.

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