Cards keep Spitfires at bay in close TV encounter

William Bewsey
12:00am, Mon 28th Dec 2020
Woking 0 Eastleigh 0
Vanarama National League
28th December 2020

Two sides in and around the early play off picture met at Kingfield on a cold and wet Monday afternoon in front of the BT Sport cameras, after neither were able to secure a win on Boxing Day.

Alan Dowson made two changes from the humiliation at Aldershot Town, with Kane Ferdinand and Slavi Spasov making way for Tommy Block and Matt Jarvis, Block making his first start since an injury had kept him out of the squad. Ben Strevens made 3 changes from a disappointing home draw with Weymouth for the Spitfires, with top scorer Ben House making way for Ryan Hill, and Tom Blair and Danny Hollands replaced Joe Partington and Dan Smith.

The game failed to sustain any sort of rhythm in the opening few minutes, with Tyrone Barnett having a shot blocked in the 7th minute, before a better chance for Barnett after a quarter of an hour went to waste, as he dragged wide.

Most of the opening half an hour saw the action mostly happening in the midfield battle, with Block eager to get stuck in, as neither team could really get the ball down and play in tough winter conditions. Barnett continued to hold the ball up well and try to get the Eastleigh wingers into the action, whilst Matt Jarvis and Jamar Loza were being kept relatively quiet by the Eastleigh defence.

It was almost a goal of the season that broke the deadlock just before half time. Neat play from Tom Blair saw his cross find Danny Hollands, who acrobatically picked out Cav Miley, and his overhead kick was excellently tipped over the bar by Craig Ross in the Woking goal.

Going into half time, the Cards would’ve been frustrated with their lack of goalmouth action, but content that Eastleigh themselves were not creating many big chances.

Half—time: Woking 0 Eastleigh 0

The Cards had their best spell of the game straight after kick off for the second half, with Jamar Loza receiving the ball inside the box, his shot blocked away by the Eastleigh defence, and Ben Dempsey picked the ball up and drilled it towards goal, but Joe McDonnell was equal to it. Several corners and free kicks for Woking went unpunished, and Eastleigh also had a few set piece chances, but the Woking defence was resolute, in particular Nathan Collier.

pic: David Holmes

Kane Ferdinand replaced Dempsey just after the hour mark as the Cards looked to get the ball down and play, meanwhile Eastleigh forced another good save out of Craig Ross after a blocked shot found its way to Alex Wynter, but Ross was equal to his acrobatic effort. Slavi Spasov replaced Matt Jarvis and had Woking’s best chance of the game, a great cross from Casey met with great contact by Spasov, but his header was straight down the throat of Joe McDonnell.

Eastleigh subs, Sam Smart and Ben House looked to make an impact, and Smart fired wide towards the end of the game as Eastleigh looked to find a winner. There was a nervy moment just before injury time when Smart was bundled over inside the penalty box, but the referee was unmoved and Woking held out for a point.

An uninspiring day, but a decent point to bounce back from defeat at Aldershot, as the Cards move on to the return fixture with the Shots on January 2nd. It was pleasing to see a secure defence following the debacle on Boxing Day, with Collier and Saul Shotton both putting in good performances.

Woking: 13 Craig Ross, 3 Josh Casey, 6 Saul Shotton, 12 Nathan Collier, 16 Kyran Lofthouse, 4 Charlie Cooper, 18 Ben Dempsey (Kane Ferdinand 60’), 21 Tommy Block, 11 Matt Jarvis (Slavi Spasov 73’), 26 Jamar Loza, 25 Josh Davison

Unused subs: Dave Tarpey, Mark Smith, Tyler Reid

Eastleigh Joe McDonnell, Tom Blair (House 73’), Andrew Boyce, Alex Wynter, Michael Green, Joe Tomlinson, Jack Payne, Danny Hollands, Ryan Hill (Smart 73’), Tyrone Barnett

Unused subs: Dan Smith, Tom Bearwish, Ben Scorey

Man of the Match: Nathan Collier was excellent at centre back, putting himself in front of the ball on many occasions, and deserving of a clean sheet.

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