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Bad day all round for Cards

Brian Caffarey - 15th December 2012

Bad day all round for Cards Woking 0 Welling United 1
FA Trophy 2nd Round
15 December 2012

Woking’s recent dismal form in cup campaigns continued with this afternoon’s defeat at the hands of Welling United. Actually, it was more a case of Woking committing suicide, conceding an early goal and then having two players sent off, with the result that the Cards played most of the second half with only nine men. The fact that Woking were still in the match in injury time says more about Welling’s inability to kill the Cards off than it does about any Cards’ heroics, although the nine men worked hard to stay in the game.

On a fairly mild, quiet afternoon Garry Hill lined his side up as against Stockport County with the exception of John Nutter in for the injured Mike Cestor at left back. This meant that Lee Sawyer was still missing from midfield. Ex-Wings Loick Pires and Jack Parkinson both had to be content with places on the bench. The most notable thing about Jamie Day’s side was the height of the centre back pairing of Ben Martin and Anthony Acheampong.

Woking had the worst of all possible starts. Dean Sinclair conceded a debatable free-kick in a central position just outside the area. Aaron Howe organised a five-man wall but Jamie Day seemed to bend his free-kick fairly easily round it, with Howe nowhere near the ball as it curled into the left-hand side of his net in front of the KRE.

Kevin Betsy hinted at a quick response from the Cards as, set free on the left by Sinclair, he made enough space to curl an effort not too far wide of the far post. But, at the other end, Nutter had to make a couple of timely interceptions to foil Welling attacks and Kiernan Hughes-Mason should have done better with a free header from a corner, which he put wide.

Woking’s unfortunate start became disastrous in the 18th minute when Brett Williams, trying to make amends for a poor touch, lunged into a tackle on Hughes-Mason. The referee, who, it soon became clear, was no slouch in reaching for his notebook, immediately brandished a red card and Williams was off. He could not really have any complaints, given the way referees now deal with tackles of the kind he perpetrated.

Bradley Bubb now played up front on his own and, without Williams’ ability in the air – he’d won a few flick-ons in spite of the imposing central defenders – the Cards tried to play the ball on the ground a bit more, although too often their passing lacked accuracy.

In the 24th minute Betsy produced Woking’s only shot on goal in the first half. Picking up a pass from Sinclair, he sent in a rasping shot which the Welling keeper, Sam Mott, was happy to parry away to safety.

At the other end, Howe was forced to tip a fierce volley from Ross Lafayette over the bar and, from the resulting corner-kick, the ball rebounded off the bar and away.

Joe McNerney headed over the bar from a Nutter free-kick but the linesman had already flagged for offside anyway. In the 35th minute, Bubb, who had been feuding with Ben Martin, picked up an unnecessary booking – which was to prove very costly early in the second half.

Welling, with a man advantage, looked content, not surprisingly, to play within themselves, not risking much, effectively stifling any Woking attempted attacks. There was little more of note till half-time apart from a Betsy header, picking up a flick-on from Doyle, which, however, was easy meat for Mott.

Half-time: Woking 0 Welling United 1

Woking hardly had time to gain any momentum after the break before they found themselves reduced to nine men. In the 53rd minute Bubb committed a pretty innocuous ‘pull back’ as he attempted to catch a Welling player but the referee immediately produced a yellow card, followed of course by a red. Bubb may consider that he was unlucky to be booked for this offence but he paid the price for an unnecessary first booking and for not heeding the clear signs that this referee would not hesitate to penalise fouls.

The Cards’ cause now looked hopeless but Welling seemed to be fazed by having to play against nine men, not appearing to be able to make up their minds whether to attack and finish Woking off or just sit back and see the game out, with the chance of another goal on the break. The result was that they did neither very well and played in a very disjointed manner, wasting most of the opportunities they did have to put pressure on the Woking goal.

Garry Hill brought on Pires for Sinclair and was then forced to call on Brett Johnson to replace Doyle, who had picked up a knock. Woking’s best chance of grabbing an unlikely equaliser seemed to be from a set piece. McNerney did manage to get a header on target but it flew straight into Mott’s arms.

Woking’s fans’ hopes were briefly raised around the 75th minute when Pires gained a couple of free-kicks just outside the Welling area but neither came to anything, with McNerney firing one of them well over the bar.

Woking’s woes were then further compounded as Nutter limped off to be replaced by Parkinson.

Welling eventually exerted some pressure on the Woking goal, with Jack Obersteller sending in several shots. Their best chance came in the 88th minute when the ball had been worked across a stretched Cards’ defence but Howe came to the rescue with a fine block with his legs.

As full-time approached and four minutes of added time were signalled, Welling attempted to run the clock down by holding the ball near the corner flag – perhaps surprisingly, given their numerical advantage. In spite of this the Cards managed a couple of last throws of the dice as everyone, including Howe, came up for a free-kick and then a corner. But there was to be no last-minute reprieve for Garry Hill’s side.

This was not the sort of Christmas present wanted by Garry or Woking fans: an FA Trophy defeat, two sendings-off (with suspensions next Saturday), a clutch of yellow cards and two more injured players.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, John Nutter (Jack Parkinson 79), Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle (Brett Johnson 65), Mark Ricketts, Dean Sinclair (Loick Pires 56), Billy Knott, Kevin Betsy, Bradley Bubb, Brett Williams

Unused Subs: Sam Beasant, Gavin McCallum

Sent off: Brett Williams 18, Bradley Bubb 53 (two yellow cards)

Cautions: Adam Newton 48, Kevin Betsy 67, Billy Knott 90


Welling United: Sam Mott, Loui Fazakerley, Jack Obersteller, Jamie Day, Ben Martin (Frazer Franks 49), Anthony Acheampong, Kiernan Hughes-Mason, Jake Gallagher, Kurtis Guthrie, Ross Lafayette, Joe Healey

Unused Subs: Ryan Flack, Theo Fairweather-Johnson, Scott Kinch, Lee Clarke

Goals: Jamie Day, 4

Cautions: Frazer Franks 72

Sponsor’s MOTM: Adam Doyle (pictured)

Attendance: 826

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