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Carter caps campaign with cup celebrations

Josh Boothroyd - 2nd May 2017

Carter caps campaign with cup celebrations Woking 4 Merstham 0
Specsavers Surrey Senior Cup
3rd May 2017

After the ecstasy of staying up, the Cards put up another fine performance inspired by Charlie Carter to sweep aside a determined Merstham side in what turned out to be a thrilling second half performance. In front of this competition’s biggest crowd of the season, Charlie Carter’s brace, a Kane Ferdinand drilled effort and a one-on-one finished by Connor Hall earned Woking their 13th Surrey Senior Cup on one of few nights to remember over the season. Woking came into the game as strong favourites knowing the two-league gap would hopefully overcome their Redhill-based opposition, but Woking knew from past experiences that this match would be difficult as the first half proved.

Gary Hill made just one change to the line-up that drew to Dagenham in the relegation-decider, swapping goalkeeper Brandon Hall for Michael Poke in the last game of the season at the Laithwaite Community Stadium and a 27th final for Woking in the competition. Merstham made three changes to the team that lost 2-1 to Burgess Hill Town, bringing in Reece Hall, Dean Macdonald and Anton Douglas hoping to win their 3rd title.

Merstham started off the better of the two keeping hold of possession successfully inside the first 10 minutes of the half, but it seemed every time they stepped into Woking territory the ball became loose. It proved to be a frustrating opening for the Cards and it felt as if every time Woking won possession back the ball managed to find its way into the stands. Neither team really endured a successful opening, in which the ball seemed to stay either stay out of play or in the middle of the pitch and not even a shot on target was recorded inside 10 minutes.

The fans hoped something would spark the game into life and with eleven minutes gone the first chance of the game was created by Merstham when Dean Macdonald was let loose down the left. After a quick exchange, Macdonald swung a cross which found former Bromley forward Reece Hall free in the centre of the box; his glancing header was deflected wide when Brandon Hall looked stranded.

Woking were reduced to shooting outside of the area and their best move of the opening quarter of an hour came when Jake Caprice pulled back for Kieran Murtagh who – having won four awards at Woking’s player of the season awards - should have done better taking it on the outside of his boot and hitting a wayward shot wide of the goal.

Merstham continued to look happy keeping possession with no result and neither team could test the keeper, with the final ball seeming to be what was missing for both sides. It was not until the 30th minute of the match that the first shot on target was finally registered, coming from a tame snapshot by Max Kretzschmar after Caprice drilled in a low cross which found him in space, only for him to shoot straight at the keeper. From a fan’s point of view, it seems agitation was growing among the Woking contingent as they watched more passes find their way into the stands but the Cards were just starting to find their feet.

With Merstham fans in good voice Woking started to bang on the door of their Surrey compatriots, filling fans with confidence for the start of the second half. With 33 minutes gone, Woking put together one of their better moves of the match so far. After a Terell Thomas burst he picked out Gozie Ugwu in space down the left wing and after taking on Simon Cooper managed to squeeze in a cross only for Max Kretzschmar to glance his header about three yards wide of the goal, another head in hands moment in the first half for the Cards.

Both teams continued to attack with no end product and it seemed like half time couldn’t come sooner, especially after a Saraiva free kick found its way over the Jewson stand, but with half time looming the best chance of the 45 was produced. After a mix up in the Merstham midfield Saraiva slipped in Gozie Ugwu down the left hand side and when taking the taking the ball in his stride found the opportunity to cross to a galloping Kane Ferdinand who volleyed the cross straight on to the crossbar to bring the half to a close.

Half-time: Woking 0 Merstham 0

Woking and Merstham both started the second half with no amendments to their starting line ups but with Woking finishing the first half the brighter the fans could only hope for better - and that’s what they got. Woking came out noticeably brighter of the pair but it was in fact the Moatsiders from 25 miles down the M25 that created the first chance. After Dean Macdonald earned a free kick, it was Kershaney Samuels who swung it into the box picking out defender Marc Okoye who, to the surprise of the spectators, controlled the ball on his chest and bicycle kicked it just over the bar, an effort rightly met with rapturous applause.

In the 55th minute Gary Hill decided to play his trump card bringing on Charlie Carter who has found himself engaged in a love story with the Surrey Senior Cup this term. His presence seemed instantly to improve the performance of the Cards and with 56 minutes on the clock Woking hit the woodwork for the second time. After a Saraiva corner was punched clear, there waited Charlie Carter who after being on just one minute smashed against the frame of the goal. This was followed by a quick Merstham attack down the left wing only for Reece Hall to shoot straight at the keeper after fooling Joey Jones.

Woking were starting to pick holes in a formerly resolute Merstham defence and with 61 minutes gone their defence marginally survived another Woking attack when Ugwu found Sam-Yorke free on the left, who cut in and curled his shot millimetres wide. But Merstham couldn’t survive for much longer and after a long ball was brought down by Ugwu, midfield magician Charlie Carter was there to smash home on the half volley and score his 5th SSC goal of the season giving Woking the upper hand.

From then on it seemed as if Woking couldn’t stop scoring and the threat of another Woking goal prompted a double change from the Merstham manager in the 68th minute. This change didn’t create the impact Hayden Bird had hoped for; in fact Woking scored just minutes after the change when Joey Jones lofted the ball to another substitute in Connor Hall who headed the ball to the lone Kane Ferdinand who scored his first goal of the season, making no mistake as he drilled his shot past Josh Smith and doubled Woking’s lead.

Woking continued to storm the Merstham defence and the second turned into a third with 76 minutes gone. After great pressurising from hard-working Connor Hall, Marc Okoye could only gift the ball to Charlie Carter on the edge of the box who took a touch left and smashed it into the top left hand corner, his second of the game and sixth of the season burying Merstham in the sand.
Merstham couldn’t get a foothold on the game nor find a consolation and unfortunately for the travelling fans all they witnessed was more attacking from a now ruthless Woking. After a Saraiva shot was well saved by former Brighton keeper Smith Woking managed to end the game in style. With 5 minutes to play Connor Hall found himself with the ball at his feet and span to Kandi who found Hall once more with a luscious back heel, leading to Connor Hall poking the ball into the corner, ending his loan spell with a well-deserved goal. It proved to be the last goal of this year’s Surrey Senior Cup and led to a 13th title for the Cards.

From a Woking point of view this was a fantastic way to end the season after just scraping their place in next year’s National League and another great performance from man of the match Charlie Carter, who can head into next season brimming with pride. It was a nice goodbye from this year’s squad and a well-deserved cup triumph!

Woking: Brandon Hall, Jake Caprice, Fabio Saraiva, Terrell Thomas, Joey Jones, Nathan Ralph, Kieran Murtagh, Kane Ferdinand, Gozie Ugwu (Connor Hall 63), Delano Sam-Yorke (Chike Kandi 74), Max Kretzschmar (Charlie Carter 55)

Unused subs: Michael Poke, Declan Appau

Goals: Carter x 2, Ferdinand, Hall

Bookings: none

Merstham: Josh Smith, Simon Cooper, Anton Douglas, Kershaney Samuels, Marc Okoye, Tutu Henriques, Alex Addai, Tom Kavanagh (Zavier Vidal 68), Dean Macdonald (Yannick Makiese 68), Dan Bennett, Reece Hall

Unused subs: Omar Foulkes, Kris Campbell, Michael Abnet

Goals: none

Bookings: none

Attendance : 742

Man of the Match: Charlie Carter, another brace for Charlie in this year’s Surrey Senior Cup.
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