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CARSHALTON ATHLETIC 1 WOKING 3

Dennis North - 26th February 2007

25th February 2007
Surrey U18?s Sunday County Cup Quarter Final

These Woking youngsters gave us a display brimming with quality, passion, desire and a combative spirited team ethic. One of the best team performances this season from the 1st year lads earns them a place in the County Cup semi finals.

Setting the scene, this game was played on a saturated skating rink of a pitch, the Carshalton squad all looked genuine u18?s and according to the SYL website they had not lost a home league fixture all season. The Woking lads with the exception of Ben Zarwardnicki in goal were all in their first year and apart from three or four were all giving away height and weight advantage. Graham Baker was taking a well-earned day off so Scott Harrison took the reigns.

Woking started brightly; using the ball intelligently in possession they forced Carshalton to do a lot of running off the back foot. Ian Hester in midfield for Woking was looking particularly lively and with just four minutes gone he showed his class as he weaved his way into the Cars? box from wide right and fired off a shot with his left foot that went agonisingly wide of the far post.

Carshalton had some serious pace up front and on fourteen minutes their striker outpaced the Woking defence for a one on one with Ben Zatwardnicki in goal, Ben is only recently back from injury and has looked rusty in the last couple of games but Ben was back to his brilliant best today as he pulled off a great save.

In front of Ben, Sam Towe, Joe Mcnerny and Rob Lee were having a busy day as they repelled attack after attack, these lads do not take prisoners, they all have that ?John Terry? bravery to protect their goal and keeper when called upon but also the intelligence to pick a pass when appropriate, a little better positioning and communication between them and they would be a class act; Adam Gatcum and Chris Dean worked their socks off down the wings, I was particularly impressed with the improvement in their aerial game as time after time they supported the defence and midfield battle whilst also adding weight to the forward play, better decision making when deciding to protect the defence or to push on plus a quicker disguised delivery would add to their game.

The game was end to end but in the main Woking grabbed the lions share of possession and territorial advantage, on twenty six minutes Chris Dean swung in a great ball from the left for Reis Stanislaus to narrowly head wide.

The midfield battle was frantic and frenetic but the energy, determination and downright doggedness shown by Grant Edgecock, Ian Hester and Sam Robinson was absolutely outstanding, they worked tirelessly as a unit to deny Cars? time and space but also showed the presence of mind to create opportunities going forward, areas to improve on: not much on this showing other than to adjust their positions when a team mate is making a run.

The pitch was cutting up and keeping their footing was a tall order for most of the players, despite opportunities at both ends we reached half time with no score.

Half time: Carshalton 0 Woking 0

Carshalton came out for the second half with purpose and it took just two minutes for their striker to exploit a space down the left wing, he managed to evade his defender and drive into the Woking box where his cross come shot looped high over Ben Zatwrdnicki and found the net just inside the far post.

Carshalton 1 Woking 0

You could tell that the Cars? team normally expect to win games when they go in front and they instantly grew in confidence and stature.

That confidence was not to last long as just two minutes later Ricardo Williams was put through down the right wing, he turned his full back and pulled the ball across the Cars? box towards Ian Hester, Ian eighteen yards out with his back to goal and a defender tight on his shoulder immediately shifted the ball to his left and then struck a sublime curling ball into the top right hand corner of the goal ? another contender for goal of the season!

Carshalton 1 Woking 1

The Woking youngsters went on to raise their game to a higher gear with Reis Stanislaus scoring two goals one clearly offside but the other looked to be harshly disallowed as Reis powered in a header.

But the Woking onslaught was not to be denied when with fourteen minutes of the second period elapsed the ever influential Ian Hester lifted a ball through to Ricardo Williams on the right hand edge of the Cars? box, with one touch Ricardo knocked the ball out to his right past a defender and drilled a delightful low strike into the bottom left hand corner of the Cars? goal.

Carshalton 1 Woking 2

Reis Stanislaus and Ricardo Williams had both been working the Carshalton back four for over an hour but with twenty five minutes remaining it was Reis who was looking the most tired so Pekan Samsdeen came off the bench to replace him.

Whilst Reis and Ricardo had both worked very hard for the team you were left with the feeling that had they gambled a little more often and been a little more aggressive in closing down the Cars? defenders they would have borne more fruit from their undeniable labours, that said they are clearly two very accomplished strikers having notched up 24 goals between them this season.

Ricardo Williams was continuing to work well down the right flank and with some ten minutes remaining he whipped in a great cross to the head of Pekan Samsdeen, Pekans? header was destined for the top right hand corner until the Cars? keeper tipped the ball over the crossbar.

A goal from Carshalton now and extra time could have been on the cards but just a few minutes later a great ball from Sam Robinson found Grant Edgecock just inside the Cars? box wide left, Grant cleverly pulled the ball back onto his right foot only to be brought down by a lunging Cars? defender ? penalty awarded.

Prior to Christmas Ricardo Williams had been out with an injury but since his return he has been absolutely on fire in front of goal ? there was therefore little debate about who would take the spot kick, Ricardo stepped up coolness personified and calmly stroked the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.

Carshalton 1 Woking 3

Give credit to Carshalton they did not give up, they increased the pace and tempo of their game and the Woking youngsters needed to be at their best to keep them at bay, but with a little reshuffle Woking locked up shop and ran out worthy winners.

Full time: Carshalton 1 Woking 3

This was a gutsy and determined performance from the Woking youngsters in which each and every one of them played their part; it would be possibly unfair to pick out one individual, as this was truly a spirited team display full of verve and tenacity, but for me one boy just edged it amongst a plethora of outstanding performances.
MOTM: Ian Hester

Squad: Ben Zatwardnicki, Sam Towe, Joe Mcnerny, Rob Lee, Adam Gatcum, Ian Hester, Sam Robinson, Grant Edgecock, Chris Dean, Reis Stanislaus, Ricardo Williams.

Subs used: Pekan Samsdeen

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