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Cards humbled at lowly Hyde

Phil Batts - 2nd December 2012

Cards humbled at lowly Hyde Hyde 7 Woking 0
Blue Square Bet Premier
Ist December 2012


Woking came down to earth with a bump after last week's emphatic 7-0 victory against local rivals Farnborough in the FA Trophy, suffering defeat by the same margin to a skilful
and energetic Hyde team who, from the outset, adapted better to the difficult pitch conditions and belied their position in the bottom four of the league.

The Cards set up in an attacking 4-4-2 formation (as did Hyde) with a back four of Newton, McNerney, Johnson and Nutter. The midfield comprised Ricketts, Sawyer, Betsy and Knott, with the two big men Williams and Stockley up front.

The opening quarter of an hour was very even as both teams grappled to come to terms with a boggy playing surface, which hinted at the problems Woking were to have, as the game progressed, to impose their attractive and fluent passing game.

As the first half wore on, there was little incident of note although Hyde were slowly but surely starting to take control of the game and Aaron Howe had to be alert on a number of occasions to thwart the lively opposition front runners Phil Jevons and Scott Spencer with a couple of smart saves.

Hyde were starting to win the midfield battle as the Cards appeared to be struggling as a result of playing four in midfield to accommodate the extra forward. That said, the team was holding its own and enjoying their fair share of the ball without managing to create any real danger for the Hyde defence to deal with.

Woking then suffered a blow on the half hour when the hard-working Billy Knott had to be replaced by Dean Sinclair following what appeared to be a head injury.

At this point, it seemed as though the half was meandering to an uneventful close until a game-changing moment occurred in the 38th minute. An innocuous ball was played over the top of the Woking defence by Hyde captain Adam Griffin. Brett Johnson seemed to misjudge the flight and Scott Spencer stole in in front of him. In his attempt to retrieve the situation, the Woking player tangled with his opponent and Spencer went to ground. The referee deemed the challenge a foul one and, having done so, had no alternative but to send Johnson off as he was the last man. A harsh decision maybe but it was now imperative that Woking did not concede before half-time.

Mark Ricketts immediately switched to the middle of defence and Gavin McCallum came on for Brett Williams as the formation changed to 4-4-1. Alas, the objective was not achieved as the dangerous Jevons was played in by David Poole on 44 minutes and calmly slotted the ball home low to Howe's left. One suspected at this point that the Cards were in for a long and tough second half.

Half-time: Hyde 1 Woking 0

The Cards had looked unsettled and strangely ill at ease throughout the first half, even before the sending off, as they struggled to find their customary rhythm and fluency. Any hopes that they might be able to dig in and somehow battle their way back were quickly dispelled in the opening quarter of an hour of the second half as the Tigers tore at the Cards and effectively ended the game as a contest with two further goals. Firstly, Spencer converted on 51 minutes following a slick move, before Jevons easily beat Woking's offside trap to calmly notch the third just after the hour.

It was now damage limitation only for Woking as Hyde sensed the opportunity to dramatically improve their goal difference ratio. The Cards defence continued to take a pounding as the team became more disjointed as they attempted to repel wave after wave of attacking play from their opponents.

Despite this battering, a rare Woking breakaway produced their only clear-cut chance of the match when Kevin Betsy broke clear, only to be thwarted by the 'keeper as he tried to round him when a shot might have been the better option.

With just over 10 minutes to play, it looked as though the Cards might at least keep the score respectable but a final surge saw the Tigers add a further four goals through Matthew Harris, David Poole and two more from the impressive Jevons, giving him four for the match. The final whistle could not come quickly enough for Woking who trudged off a dispirited and well-beaten team.

It is difficult to take any positives from a result like this. Although Hyde looked slightly the better team in the opening exchanges, at 0-0 Woking were well in the game and there is no doubt that the sending-off was the pivotal moment of the match. On another day, Brett Johnson might have been dealt with more leniently by the referee but, as we know, the game is all about 'ifs' and 'buts'.

Hopefully, without taking anything away from Hyde, who were excellent, this will prove to be a freak result. Garry Hill's and Steve Thompson's powers of motivation will now be tested to the full as this reversal will have dented the team's confidence and they have slipped to nineteenth in the league, just a few points above the relegation places. I wonder if we will see a return to the tried and tested 4-5-1 formation for Tuesday's difficult away fixture at Lincoln.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, John Nutter, Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson, Mark Ricketts, Lee Sawyer (Mike Cestor 69), Kevin Betsy, Billy Knott (Dean Sinclair 30), Brett Williams (Gavin McCallum 42), Jayden Stockley

Unused Subs: Sam Beasant, Bradley Bubb

Cautions: Nil

Sent Off: Brett Johnson (38)

Hyde: Chris Dilo, Kelvin Lomax, Adam Griffin (Josh Brizell 65), Luke Ashworth, Ben Dennis, Alex Brown, Liam Tomsett, David Poole, Chris Sedgwick (Tunji Moses 62), Phil Jevons, Scott Spencer (Matthew Harris 73)

Unused Subs: Stefan Cox, Matthew Blinkhorn

Goal(s): Phil Jevons (44, 62, 89, 90+3), Scott Spencer (51), Matthew Harris (79), David Poole (86)

Cautions: Nil

MOTM: Mark Ricketts. Gave 100% and did his best to motivate those around him.

Attendance: 429
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