Match Report | Woking Fly High to Defeat Spitfires
6:14pm, Sun 30th Oct 2022
Woking 1 Eastleigh 0
Vanarama National League
Saturday 29th October 2022
A glorious afternoon was the setting for kick off at the Laithwaite, with conditions feeling more like the opening day of the season rather than Autumn. This narrow but well-earned win pushed The Cards back into the play off spots and concluded a very positive run of results in October.
Sarll made three changes from Tuesday’s drawing side, bringing in Scott Cuthbert, Jim Kellerman, and Ricky Korboa all on the bench last time out. After impressing last time out Rhys Browne (sprain), Jermaine Anderson (suspension), and Wilkinson (calf injury) all missed out. Kyran Lofthouse didn’t pass his fitness test following his concussion, neither did Grego-Cox owing to his hamstring injury. New loan signings Jahmari Clarke and Bryant Bilongo arriving on the eve of today’s match from the Championship made the bench, joining them there was Denny Roberts, a product of the Woking Academy making his first team bow.
Early exchanges led to both keepers getting the reassuringly early touches whilst not being the most threatened from chances inside both boxes. Woking came close to taking the lead in these early stages, with a Josh Casey free kick finding its way to James Daly on the edge of the box, who took the chance but managed to strike the right-hand upright.
The home side controlled a fruitful spell of possession halfway into the first 45, leading to waves of attack allowing first Daly to threaten, being brought down in the box without award; then Jim Kellerman crashed a long driving shot straight into McDonnell’s gloves. This was all following one of the best chances of the half for Rohan Ince who, following a pacy attack on the right from Amond, sent the ball into the box for two unmarked attackers, took a touch, dragged it onto his right foot before striking; his effort was saved by Eastleigh’s number one. He also claimed the proceeding misjudged cross unchallenged.
The visitors got back into the game through several incisively taken set pieces by their left back Kelly. On the half hour mark a curled free kick from the right flank was met by the head of Ryan Hill, but Craig Ross was more than equal to the challenge, saving comfortably. Hill remained a menace as he followed this with an attack down the right flank, crossing low to Abrahams. The ensuing corner by Kelly was headed out by McNerney but fell to Hill who drove it cleanly with his right boot, demanding Ross be brought into action again but this time with a terrific save, as he would have only seen late. A shot destined for the corner had his fingertips not reached across.
A flurry of chances came in the final 10 minutes for The Cards, often instigated by Josh Casey and involving the enthusiastic Ricky Korboa. Woking pushed up through the middle with Vokins, flicking on to Ince, who then found Korboa; he drove at the visiting defence, took a shot, only to see it go harmlessly wide. Soon after, Casey catapulted a long throw into Amond on the edge of Eastleigh’s box, he flicked on to Korboa who tried to thread ball through to the feet of the unmarked James Daly on the penalty spot, but it was too heavy a pass through. Daly soon attempted to return the favour by weaving a ball through to the pacy Korboa, who ran at the defence down the left, cut in, and peeled off a shot that drew a save from McDonnell. Unable to gather so pushed it out to the right, which lead to a ball being put back in, onto Amond’s head but it went just over the bar.
Half-time: Woking 0 Eastleigh 0
Sarll’s men came back out for the second 45 reinvigorated and were dictating most of the chances that were presenting themselves, mostly emanating from the left by the ever-industrious Cards’ captain. He launched a free kick inward from the right that met Ince’s head but was sent wide of the post. Subsequently, Casey launched another free kick into box reached by a diving McNerney who flicked across goal to Amond. His header towards the net proved weak and made its way benignly into the gloves of McDonnell.
Following a counterattack by Eastleigh involving Hill knocking it into Abrahams in space only to drag it harmlessly wide, danger once again came at the Spitfires end as Jake Vokins crossed on the left, flashed it across goal, missed all three Woking players waiting there. This proved to be his final contribution, as he made way just after the hour mark for debutant Jahmari Clarke, who joined on loan from Reading that morning.
Further endeavour on the right by Woking saw a precise cross in from Korboa met on the 6-yard line by new boy Clarke who, with only his second touch, netted conclusively to break the deadlock! This made Lee Bradbury, fresh from being carded by the officials for proffering his forthright opinions, shuffle the pack by making a double substitution. He then saw his side steel themselves on the 70th minute as they claimed a corner, from which Jake Hesketh delivered in, only to see it authoritatively cleared by Scott Cuthbert.
Ross had a much quieter second half, so too the visitors, with Woking being in the ascendancy far more than the first 45. Amond continued to pursue involvement, by dropping out wide generating good link up play with Daly and Korboa, which led to chances opening up in the box but flying past all who were in and around. More speculative efforts were drawn from both Amond and Kellerman more latterly, neither remaining on target challenging McDonnell into a save.
As the six minutes stoppage time being announced, a flurry came from Eastleigh who attempted to pour forward in pursuit of an equaliser, their best opportunity coming from their leading marksman Danny Whitehall connecting with Kelly’s dinked cross in from the left.
The Cards will be looking to remain unbeaten as this long run of four home matches continues next week, firstly welcoming Yeovil who Sarll will doubtlessly relish facing, before the fireworks that glory will hopefully bring in the FA Cup first round, against Oxford United.
Woking 13 Craig Ross; 3 Josh Casey ©, 5 Joe McNerney, 4 Scott Cuthbert, 12 Dan Moss; 17 Jim Kellerman, 24 Rohan Ince, 29 Jake Vokins (19 Jahmari Clarke, 61’); 7 Ricky Korboa (18 Jack Roles 90’), 8 James Daly, 10 Padraig Amond
Unused subs: 1 Ethan Wady, 15 Bryant Bilongo, 30 Denny Roberts
Goals: Clarke 64’
Bookings: Daly 90’, Clarke 90’
Eastleigh 1. Joe McDonnell, 2 Brenn Camp, 3 Michael Kelly, 4 Nigel Atangana (7 Charlie Carter 68’), 5 Aaron Martin ©, 8 Ousseynou Cisse, 9 Danny Whitehall, 11 Ryan Hill, 12 George Langston, 14 Tristan Abrahams (10 Jake Hesketh 68’), 16 JJ McKiernan (30 Callum Ebanks, 80’)
Unused subs: 21 Oscar Rutherford, 25 Brendan Wilson
Bookings: Lee Bradbury (Manager) 58’
Referee: Scott Tallis
Attendance: 2,203 (191 Eastleigh)
Man of the Match: Rohan Ince sponsors choice. Seemingly always involved in the play, he commanded the middle of the park and offered threats in the final third too.