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Cards Stunned by Superior Finishing

Glen Harrington - 20th February 2010

Cards Stunned by Superior Finishing Woking 0 Welling United 5
20th February 2010

Manager Graham Baker will have been hoping for a positive response from his team today following three successive defeats and a drop to eighth in the table – the lowest since mid August. There was mixed team news for the home side with Mark Ricketts able to return in the midfield, starting along side Jamie Hand. However, Harry Arter started the first of a two match suspension, and skipper Jon Boardman was also forced to watch from the stands.

The Cards started brightly with an early penalty appeal when Giuseppe Sole, running through on goal, was halted by a last ditch tackle. Only minutes later a lofted cross from the left hand side was headed just wide by the imposing Matthew Wright.

Typically, especially in recent games, having failed to make the most of early chances, Woking settled into a midfield battle with few chances for either side. Sole again providing the best outlet with two bursting runs resulting in shots saved, and just wide.

Despite looking comfortable the visitors provided a severe wake up call on the half hour mark. The ball fell kindly in the area for the increasingly dangerous Loui Fazakerley who turned and released a snap shot from 12 yards – cannoning back of Ross Worner’s post with the young keeper well beaten.

In spite of Welling’s most clear cut chance it was the home side that began to dominate possession and create more opportunities. A bursting run from Nathaniel Pinney got the ball to the feet of Matthew Wright who agonisingly miss-hit the ball wide from six yards. Wright almost atoned for his error three minutes later with his long range shot deflected just wide.

However, it was Fazakerley that made the difference in the first half. The wingers bursting run down the right on 38 minutes setup a cross for Andy Pugh to turn in a simple opener.

This was not the end of the first half drama. Obviously feeling a re-occurrence of his previous injury, dependable midfielder Mark Ricketts was forced off to be replaced by Jerome Maledon, leaving a very inexperienced pairing in the centre of midfield.

Half Time: Woking 0 Welling United 1

The second half was a completely different story and the home side struggled to compete with the hard working Welling who, at times, played some very good football.

The visitors doubled their lead nine minutes into the second half. In a repeat of the link-up that lead to the first goal, Andy Pugh was fed clean through with a ball from Fazakerley. Worner looked to have done enough to block the striker, but the ball squirmed under his body leaving the number ten with a simple tap in.

Now desperate to regain a foothold in the game, the Cards threw men forward. The brief spell of pressure almost gave the hoped result with Pinney forcing a good save from United keeper Charlie Mitten high to his left.

However, gaps were left at the back. Having looked dangerous on the break all day, Welling top scorer Tom Whitnell rushed into the area and attempted an exquisite lob. Again Worner got a strong hand to the ball, only to be left watching in despair as it looped in off the post.

Panic stricken, Baker was forced into changes with make shift centre forward Joe McNerney and new loan signing Tamer Tuna coming on in place of strike pair Wright and Pinney.

This failed to change the course of the game. Despite a strong performance from Jamie Hand, rightly credited with the man-of-the-match award, the Cards were largely overrun in midfield. The usual pairing of Arter and Ricketts clearly missed.

Welling added a fourth in the 67th minute. Once more Tom Whitnell rushed into the area only for his legs to be taken from behind for a clear penalty. Up stepped Andy Pugh to complete his hat-rick and his sides most emphatic victory of the season, slotting the kick straight down the middle. Cue an early exit from some of the home support.

Battered and beaten the Cards looked content to simply play out the remainder of the game. Only Worner’s acrobatics prevented the deadly Pugh from adding to his tally.

The rout was not quite complete however. With less than a minute remaining late substitute Tony Finn danced his way around the sprawling Worner to notch up a resounding 5-0 victory.

All in all a bad day at the office for Card’s boss Graham Baker. Scoring goals remains a real issue, with his side seemingly unable to put away their chances. To add to his worries the previously invulnerable defence is looking uncharacteristically shaky of late with 8 goals conceded in two games. However, the league remains extremely congested towards the top half, with a couple of good results enough to take a team well into the play-off places. With key players returning and an important run of fixtures there is still much hope for a strong end of season push.

Woking: Ross Worner, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts (Jerome Maledon 40), Tom Hutchinson, Tony Sinclair, Moses Ademola, Jamie Hand, Matthew Wright (Joe McNerney 63), Nathaniel Pinney (Tamer Tuna 65), Giuseppe Sole.
Unused Subs: Delano Sam-Yorke, Nicky Nicolau.
Booked: Wright 56.

Welling: Mitten, Jenkinson, Dean, Day, Andrews, Parkinson, Fazakerley (Finn 74), Clarke (Cracknell 83), Whitnell, Pugh, Hurrell (Bakare 79).
Unused Subs: Sambrook, Cutler.
Goals: Pugh 38, 54, 67, Whitnell 59, Finn 89.
Booked: Parkinson 54.

Man of the Match: Hand
Attendance: 1,217
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