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Late goal sees Hammers edge past Cards

Alan Worth - 5th August 2014

Late goal sees Hammers edge past Cards Woking 2 West Ham United XI 3
Pre-Season Friendly
5th August 2014


The Cards completed their pre-season programme this evening, hosting the West Ham Development Squad. In what proved to be a highly entertaining evening and a game that, at times, defied its billing as a “friendly”, the Hammers needed to rely on their captain and hat-trick hero Elliot Lee to see them scrape a win in this competitive affair.

Despite dominating possession for long, periods the Cards struggled to test the Hammers' keeper Howes. However late into the second period, trialist Dean Morgan lit up Kingfield with a brace of goals inside a minute – both beautifully finished and with all the hallmarks of an experienced goal scorer, his performance certainly had the Woking fans taking notice!

Garry Hill again rang the changes for this game and paired Mark Ricketts and Joey Jones at the centre of defence with Adam Newton and John Nutter starting as full backs. The ubiquitous central midfield duo of Josh Payne and Keiran Murtagh with Theo Lewis and John Goddard on the flanks provided a strong midfield with Scott Rendell and trialist Morgan up front.

Morgan, though clearly not yet match fit, was immediately involved flicking a pass on to Rendell who, tripped by the keeper in the box, was judged to be offside. And it was Morgan again working the ball in from the left – an inviting cross but no one able to benefit.

After fourteen minutes West Ham opened the scoring. The impressive Blair Turgott was too quick for Nutter and his dangerous cross flew across the Cards' box. The ball was returned and as Aaron Howe failed to gather Lee was on hand to fire into the roof of the net from six yards.

Woking almost equalised immediately. Nutter’s cross from the left was flicked on by Rendell in the box, but just beyond Goddard as the ball flew past the far post.

The Hammers had already shown enough to warn Woking that they were a very pacey side and quick on the break. On eighteen minutes a lightning break by Fanimo saw him set up the ever-dangerous Turgott as the Hammers pressed high up the pitch. The winger’s cross again found Lee, who made no mistake as he scored his and the visitors’ second.

Two down already and now it was the turn of the Cards to press as they began to dominate possession. Jones headed over from Goddard’s pinpoint free-kick and again Jones headed goalwards from a Nutter free-kick but it was straight at Howes.

Woking then had the ball in the net after a deft Morgan cross was met by the head of Rendell. His effort was half saved and the Cards' striker buried the rebound but only to see the linesman’s flag raised for an offside.

It was now all Woking as they pushed forward. Morgan controlled a long kick out from Howe and played in Rendell but his pass to Goddard ended with the ball fired well over the top. Lewis then set up Payne but his effort was well over. Howes was out quickly to deny Rendell, who was attempting to reach Ricketts' long clearance and there was still time for Goddard to blaze a shot over the bar before the break.

Half-time: Woking 0 West Ham United XI 2

As so often happens with pre-season games, the second period was disrupted by numerous substitutions. Joe McNerney and trialist Troy Hewitt both started the second half in place of Murtagh and Jones.

But it was the Hammers who made the brighter start with the lightning pace of Turgott causing Woking the most difficulty. His two efforts after five minutes of the re-start were both close and the second coming after a mesmerising run through the heart of the Woking midfield.

With ten minutes of the second half gone Kingfield had its first glimpse of signing James Clarke, who replaced Josh Payne. The central defender immediately made his presence felt, looking calm and solid in defence and spraying a number of excellent, accurate passes from the back.

As the substitutions continued it was Woking who now looked the most likely to score as they again dominated play.

With ten minutes remaining Dean Morgan opened his and the Cards' account after good work on the right by Xapi. The ex Wycombe’s delicious curling left-foot shot, from outside the box, flew past Howes and into the far corner.

And then straight from the kick-off Woking regained possession and there was Morgan repeating the trick again from outside the box. This time a cool finish as he slotted the ball past a despairing Howes into the opposite corner.

The game had been turned on its head! McNerney now up front as Woking strained for what would have been a deserved winner in what was now becoming an almost testy affair. But Elliot Lee was to have the last word. His solo effort after the Cards gave away the ball cheaply in midfield saw him round Howe to finish and then lead the Hammers' celebrations.

This again proved to be a very useful workout for the Cards. Certainly, Morgan’s brace will give the management team something to think about and the first sighting of James Clarke looked extremely positive. Who will start next Saturday at Alfreton is not entirely easy to predict. What is certain is that the football from now on becomes really meaningful.

Woking begin their home fixtures in the league against Dartford on Tuesday 12th August. Come down to Kingfield and get behind the team!


Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton (Xapi* 66), John Nutter (Mike Cestor 56), Joey Jones (Joe McNerney 46), Mark Ricketts, Josh Payne (James Clarke 56), Keiran Murtagh (Troy Hewitt* 46), Theo Lewis (Reece Beccles 74), John Goddard (Ebby Nelson-Abby* 66), Scott Rendell (Giuseppe Sole 66), Dean Morgan* (Adam Brice 86)

Unused subs: Jake Cole

Goals: Dean Morgan 81, 82

*denotes trialist


West Ham United XI: Sam Howes, Sam Westley, Nathan Mavila, Josh Cullan, Manny Onariase (Moses Makasi 71), Jamie Harney, Blair Turgott, Kieran Bywater, Elliot Lee, Matthias Fanimo (Joe Powell 68), Kieran Sadlier (Jaanai Gordon 78)

Unused subs: Modibo Maiga, Tim Brown, Decarrey Sheriff

Goals: Elliot Lee 14, 18, 89

Attendance: 1072

MOTM: Dean Morgan – two excellent goals and plenty of promise despite lacking match fitness.
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