Tonbridge Angels 3 Woking 6
29 August 2011
Goals, goals, goals! Garry Hill’s side scored six this afternoon but could easily have been into double figures, given the way they carved open the Angels’ defence almost at will. The pace, skill and trickery of Paris Cowan-Hall, Moses Ademola and Dale Binns in particular were breathtaking at times. All credit to Tonbridge for trying to play an open game – and in Frannie Collin they have a superb striker of their own – but their defence simply couldn’t live with the effervescent Woking attack.
Garry Hill made just one change from the team that gained the somewhat unsatisfactory 1-0 win at home to Basingstoke Town on Saturday, with Cowan-Hall, in place of Gez Sole, pushed forward in support of Elvis Hammond. And on this showing you could see why Garry was so keen to add him to Woking’s squad: he terrorised the Angels’ defence with his direct running and played a key role in most of the goals.
Woking’s first-ever visit to Tonbridge Angels started very promisingly, with the Cards once again taking an early lead. Cowan-Hall chipped the ball into the box. Moses Ademola looked to have little chance of beating Lee Worgan, the Angels’ keeper, to the ball, but just managed to get a foot in before being brought down. The referee – fortunately, for the sake of the game – neither dismissed nor booked Worgan but he was well beaten by Jack King’s assured penalty.
Could Woking go on and make the match safe - as they had failed to do in a similar situation on Saturday? The signs were encouraging as the rampant Woking forward line threatened again. Ademola’s shot rebounded off the post, with a defender nearly putting the ball in the net before Elvis Hammond turned and shot, only to see the keeper save.
At the other end, the Woking defence coped comfortably enough with several set pieces before, in the 16th minute, the Cards made it 2-0. King planted a deliberate header forward into Hammond’s path. Worgan repelled his effort but stood no chance with Joe McNerney’s follow-up.
Collin sounded a warning note immediately afterwards as he managed to wriggle up the Woking line. Fortunately for the Cards, his centre was cleared.
Woking resumed their pressure, with Hammond seeing yet another effort saved by Worgan, while Cowan-Hall, on the half-hour mark, made a brilliant run before being brought down unceremoniously.
Very much against the run of play, the Angels found themselves back in the game in the 39th minute. An untidy challenge – by Adam Doyle, I think, but it could have been Joe McNerney too – saw the referee point to the spot. Collin converted with assurance to pull the score back to 1-2.
This could have been, from the Cards’ perspective, a very unwelcome pre-half-time boost for the home side but it was very short-lived. With only two more minutes played, Cowan-Hall made another superb run into the box. His shot was heading just inside the far post before Worgan got a hand to it but he could only divert it into Ademola’s path. He lashed the ball home to restore the two-goal advantage at 1-3.
The Cards continued to play some mesmerising football through to the interval, with Mike Cestor emulating Cowan-Hall’s run into the box, and another lovely move involving Binns, Mark Ricketts and Ademola whetting the appetite for the second half.
Half-time: Tonbridge Angels 1 Woking 3
Although the Cards had looked much the better side in the first half, it was clear that the Angels still carried quite a threat, especially from set pieces, so another Woking goal was really needed to make the game safe. Binns nearly supplied it four minutes after the break as he thrashed the ball just wide from an Ademola pass. Another warning note was sounded when the home fans’ vociferous appeal for a penalty was met – perhaps rather surprisingly – with a booking for Henry instead.
Several Woking short corner routines didn’t quite come off before, in the 55th minute, Cowan-Hall made another telling run into the box, setting up Hammond, who walloped the ball past – almost through! – Worgan to make it 1-4.
At this stage the game threatened to become a rout as Cestor, Ricketts and others joined in the onslaught on the Tonbridge goal, while Garry Hill felt relaxed enough to take off Ricketts and Ademola in favour of Jay Davies and Wayne Gray a few minutes later.
But, all credit to Tonbridge, whose heads didn’t drop. A couple of corners put the pressure on the Cards and Browning shot narrowly over before, in the 75th minute, Judge headed home from a corner to make it 2-4. Andy Little got a hand to the ball but couldn’t stop it going over the line.
The Cards poured forward once more. Binns shot over; King had a low drive saved; and Nathan Koranteng (now on for Hammond) drifted offside in a break out of defence. Collin, though, wasn’t far off target with a free-kick before Woking restored the three-goal lead with a magnificent, flowing move. Cowan-Hall and Davies both played their part before Binns crossed for Gray to sweep home to make it 2-5.
The lead ought to have been reduced two minutes later but Ade Olorunda skied over from a few yards out. Instead, the Cards extended their lead to 2-6 as Binns bamboozled several defenders in the box to leave Gray with the simple task of slotting home.
Cowan-Hall, having missed with one header, went close with another before Collin scored the best goal of a thoroughly entertaining game with a magnificent strike into the top corner from distance to make it 3-6.
The Cards should have rounded it off with another goal as Koranteng and Davies broke but the former’s pass pushed Davies too wide and the chance was gone. There was still time, though, for a Binns effort to be blocked and for Koranteng to draw a fine save from Worgan, who just managed to scoop the ball away from Gray to prevent the latter gaining a hat-trick.
Tonbridge Angels’ open approach to this game suited the Cards’ forwards, who revelled in the space they were allowed to take on a somewhat ponderous defence. Very few defences at this level, though, could have lived with the scintillating football which Garry Hill’s side produced this afternoon.
Next Saturday’s clash at top-of-the-table Welling, who have scored four more goals than the Cards, could be quite a game!
Woking: Andy Little, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Mark Ricketts (Jay Davies 65), Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Paris Cowan-Hall, Jack King, Moses Ademola (Wayne Gray 65), Elvis Hammond (Nathan Koranteng 74), Dale Binns
Unused subs: Aaron Howe, Giuseppe Sole
Booking: Nathan Koranteng (78)
Tonbridge Angels: Worgan, Miles (Main 67), Heath (Henry 41), Browning, Judge, Andrews, Beecroft, Storey, A. Olorunda, Collin, Walder
Unused subs: Hagan, T. Olorunda, Kinch
Bookings: Miles (4), Judge (33), Henry (49), A. Olurande (66)
My MOTM: Paris Cowan-Hall (pictured)