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Cards let lead slip

James Chadwick - 26th November 2010

Cards let lead slip Woking 1 Eastleigh 1
Blue Square Bet South
23rd November 2010

A poor second half performance saw the Cards’ first half efforts go to waste, and indeed could have lost the game had it not been for Andy Little’s 'man of the match' performance in goal.

The midweek clash between Woking and Eastleigh was a big game for both outfits; the two teams locked in mid-table and hoping to make a surge towards the play-off positions. It was Woking who started the game the better, dominating the possession early on and dealing well with what the visitors threw at them. The home side seemed to be looking to pick out front man Elvis Hammond with a number of long balls forward to the lofty Ghanaian. It was thanks to this tactic that Woking worked an excellent chance, Hammond taking the ball down well before spreading the play to Jerome Federico. The on-loan winger then played in Lee Sawyer, whose effort deflected wide of the goal. Sawyer was controlling play in the centre of the park, building on the confidence gained from a superb performance against Dover last weekend.

The Cards then began to harry Eastleigh down the wings and it was the unlikely source of Joe McNerney who crossed in to Moses Ademola – the clearance falling to Federico, whose powerful strike deflected wide. It wasn’t long before Eastleigh began to find their way in the game and when they struck the crossbar from something of a half chance, the Spitfires certainly seemed to be fired up. However, Woking didn’t take their foot off the pedal and with the two teams opting for an attacking approach, it seemed inevitable that a goal was in the offing.

Adam Doyle, perhaps drawing inspiration from his colleague in central defence, advanced forward with the ball; unfortunately for Woking, Hammond couldn’t reach Doyle’s through ball. Ademola then crossed in low to Hammond but the pursuing defender touched the ball away for a corner and once again nothing came of the home side’s pressure.

Five minutes later, however, that was to change. Aswad Thomas crossed into the box where Tom Jordan got a slight touch on the ball which proved enough to change its course and send it flying past his own ‘keeper. Woking had a deserved lead, but this was to be tested to the limit in the second half.

Half-time: Woking 1 Eastleigh 0

Woking started the second spell as they had ended the first, dominating the midfield and creating further chances. The Cards then made their first substitution, with Ricky Anane making way for Daniel Sintim in the 53rd minute. Perhaps as a result of this defensive shake-up, Woking conceded the equaliser. As Eastleigh sprung forward they cut through the Cards' backline with ease and when the ball fell to Richard Gillespie’s feet, he was left with a simple close-range finish to level the score.

The goal appeared to be something of a turning point in the game, with the Cards seemingly losing their concentration. The Spitfires then made a change themselves as Gillespie made way for former Woking forward, Jamie Slabber. He proved a menace to the Cards’ defence right from the off – getting into a dangerous position on the far post before ballooning a shot over the crossbar. Woking were still trying to create chances up the other end, though - Hammond losing out to the Eastleigh ‘keeper after giving chase to a lofted through pass. Woking then made their second substitution, Ola Sogbanmu replacing Ademola in the 67th minute.

In the 68th minute Eastleigh were left asking themselves how they hadn’t taken the lead, failing to take the advantage after two fine saves from Andy Little (pictured). The first came from Jamie Slabber’s powerful low drive – Little somehow stretching to block the effort, before reacting superbly to hold Riviere’s shot from the rebound.

With their opponents now seeming to take charge, Graham Baker had one more roll of the dice, bringing on Craig Faulconbridge for Federico in the 77th minute as the manager tried all he could to get Woking back into a winning position. It was captain Mark Ricketts who was the instigator for the home side’s next attacking move, chipping his free-kick into the Eastleigh box, where the ball was headed on to Hammond, who took a hopeful shot on the turn. With just a few minutes left to go in the game, Woking began to pile on the pressure and they eventually won a corner for their endeavours but the resulting kick did little to unsettle the visiting team. There was just one more chance for Woking in the game, as Faulconbridge reached a long aerial pass. The linesman, however, flagged for offside and there was nothing more Woking could do.

It was honours even at Kingfield, and whilst Woking had their sights set on three points, both sides will surely agree that on the balance of play a draw was a fair result. Up next for the Cards is a visit from Dartford, a game where Woking really need to get a victory.

Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane (Daniel Sintim 53), Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Moses Ademola (Ola Sogbanmu 67), Jerome Maledon, Elvis Hammond, Lee Sawyer, Jerome Federico (Craig Faulconbridge)

Unused subs: Francis Quarm, Dave Gilroy

MOTM: Andy Little

Attendance: 654
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