Eastleigh 4 v Woking 1
Blue Square Bet South
26th March 2011
Woking went into this game with a great run behind them and full of confidence. The two games earlier this season against the Spitfires, both at Kingfield had been close; the league game was drawn 2-2, with the Cards winning The FA Cup match 3-2 after going behind early on. But this defeat at the Silverlake Stadium brought to an abrupt end a run of twelve unbeaten games.
Kieran Murtagh who has returned to Wycombe Wanderers will clearly be missed in the centre of midfield. Aswad Thomas was still not fit enough to make the squad and Reiss Noel came in at left back with Andy Burgess starting in the centre of midfield. Dave Gilroy returned on the bench.
The Cards normally reliable defence, only two goals conceded in the last twelve, had a particularly poor day and Garry Hill will not have been happy with the way the four goals were conceded.
With less than five minutes gone Woking were two goals behind; Taggart volleying in after Burgess had failed to clear and then Slabber found himself unmarked in the box after another mix up in the visitors’ defence. His easy finish left Woking with a mountain to climb.
The Cards managed to pull a goal back with an Andy Burgess free kick from twenty-eight yards. Curled round the defensive wall the ball ended in the bottom corner despite Matthews getting a despairing hand to the ball.
But despite their best efforts the Cards were unable to get to grips in midfield with a strong and physical Eastleigh side who coped easily with any long balls thrown forward and were most dangerous themselves from set pieces or the long throws of Herring from either flank.
Half time: Eastleigh 2 Woking 1
Woking made a much brighter start to the second period and for a while looked like getting back into the game. After ten minutes the Cards had a good opportunity to draw level.
Hammond made one of his trade mark runs to the bye line, played the ball back to Dobson whose floated cross was headed goal wards by Burgess. Only a magnificent diving save by Matthews prevented the ball flying into the top corner. It was a great save and Woking’s last real opportunity. Despite a period of good Cards pressure following this effort, strong Eastleigh defending kept the visitors at bay. And on fifty-nine minutes the home side made the game safe.
A corner on the left from Graham was met at the far post by the towering Jordan. The big central defender made no mistake with his header, back across the goal and into the far corner. As Woking pressed for a consolation goal Eastleigh completed their victory with a fourth goal. Taggart was put through on goal with the Woking defence again stretched and the forward made no mistake one on one with Andy Little.
This was a thoroughly miserable day for the Cards and their band of loyal supporters as the glorious run of victories finally came to an end. Eastleigh were sharper all round and Woking struggled to get the ball down and play, as we know we can. Mark Ricketts (pictured) battled manfully against the odds in a midfield that found life difficult all afternoon and the defence, so crucial over recent weeks, had their “bad day at the office”!
Eastleigh needed a reaction after the defeat by Welling last week and they got one. Woking will now need a similar reaction if they are to keep the push for a play-off spot on track. It looks like six teams playing for three places and will almost certainly not be decided until the last day of the season.
Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Reiss Noel (Nathan Koranteng 53), Mark Ricketts, Joe Mcnerny, Adam Doyle, Craig Dobson, Andy Burgess, Moses Ademola, Elvis Hammond (James Walker 73), Jay Davies (Ollie Palmer 65)
Unused subs: Dave Gilroy, Matt Pegler
Matthews, Goodhind (Adeniyi 83), Byles, Herring, Jordan, Holland, McAuley, Smith, Slabber (Brown 50), Taggart (Riviere 79), Graham
Unused subs: Gillespie, Barfoot