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Kane shines for able Cards

Adam Leary - 2nd October 2017

Kane shines for able Cards Chester 0 Woking 2
Vanarama National League
3rd October 2017

Woking emerged from a long midweek trip to the North West with a valuable three points following a confident, composed display which emphasised the improvement made by the Cards in recent weeks. Jamie Philpot took advantage of a mix up between goalkeeper and centre back to add to the first half lead provided by a superb Kane Ferdinand header.

This victory marked Woking’s 3rd away win of the season and 3 wins from 3 recent trips to the North West. The win also extended the Cards unbeaten run to 5 matches. The Deva Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for the Cards over the years, with last Easter’s thrilling comeback victory going a long way to securing National League status last season, and still fresh in the memory.

Anthony Limbrick made two changes from the home draw with Hartlepool, Bobson Bawling coming in for Joe Ward on the right hand side of midfield, and Fabio Saraiva replacing the injured Nathan Ralph at left back. This marked a welcome return for the Portuguese player, last seen in a Woking shirt on the opening day of the campaign before injury stalled his season. The Cards injury list is reasonably significant at present, Ralph joining Jason Banton, Louis Ramsey and Joey Jones as likely starters on the sidelines. Richard Orlu, who started the season as captain before a five game absence, was named on the bench, along with Academy graduates Declan Appau and Lazar Stojsavljevic, promoted to the senior squad last week.

Chester, coming into the game hoping to lengthen the new manager bounce experienced following a debut win under new boss Marcus Bignot, started the game in the bottom four, and desperate to improve their home form, having won just won league match at the Deva Stadium in the calendar year. Their lineup included captain John McCombe, with considerable Football League experience, and striker Ross Hannah, who returned to Chester in the summer from Barrow. Hannah started the game up front with former Cambridge striker James Akintunde. Chester had made a long, abortive trip to Eastleigh on Saturday, with the match postponed at short notice, so had the potential to come into the match fresher than their visitors.

Woking started the game brightly and could have scored in the first minute. Chez Isaac played a cross in from the left, Kane Ferdinand nodded down for Charlie Carter, who volleyed wide from a promising position from just inside the penalty area.

The Cards passed the ball using neat, first time triangles, with the full backs and midfield increasingly keen to receive the ball and move it on quickly. This controlled, confident football was on display for most of the first half and even impressed the home supporters around the press box. Isaac and Ferdinand, in particular, were always willing to make passing angles and the Cards were helped by an excellent playing surface which suited their style.

Woking came close to opening the scoring in the 9th minute following a free kick given for a foul on Isaac. Saraiva, whose long range shooting proved such an asset to the Cards last season, spotted the keeper Alex Lynch had strayed too far to the right and attempted a cheeky effort at the keeper’s near post, narrowly firing wide.

A minute later however, the Cards did take the lead. A fine ball from Matt Young in from the right hand side was met with a superbly timed leap and header from Ferdinand, bursting through from midfield. The goal was reminiscent of similar goals scored by Charlie Carter at Tranmere and Jamie Philpot at AFC Fylde, in that an excellent cross into a dangerous area was met with a fine header.

Woking generally controlled the first half with sharp passing, dominating possession and not really allowing the hosts to gain a foothold in the match. Towards the end of the half Chester did fashion a couple of opportunities, powerful left back Lathaniel Rowe-Turner bulldozed his way into the box and struck a fierce drive which was well saved by Nathan Baxter down to his left. Shortly afterwards, Akintunde tested the young Cards keeper with a first time effort from Hannah’s cross; Baxter saving well with his feet on this occasion.

Half-time: Chester 0 Woking 1

The hosts, perhaps inevitably, began the second half with an increased tempo, seeking to lift the home support. As in the first half, Woking were by far the superior technical side, looking after the ball well and playing with composure, but Chester started to play in a more direct fashion and looked to commit more bodies into forward positions. Jordan Wynter and Josh Staunton, both impressive again in the heart of the Woking defence, had to show full commitment to snuff out a couple of openings in the first 15 minutes of the second period.

Chester almost drew level on 61 minutes, a cross from Kingsley James found the head of Craig Mahon at the far post, forcing a fine save from Baxter. The rebound then crashed against the post, however the assistant referee had indicated an infringement.

Limbrick made his first substitution on 65 minutes, with Joe Ward replacing Bobson Bawling. Bawling had put in a solid, disciplined performance which will no doubt have pleased the manager, who opted to leave top scorer Ward on the bench for this match.

On 70 minutes, Chester came very close to equalising, giant centre back Ryan Astles getting his head to a cross which hit the inside of the post, and flew across the Woking goal line to safety. Fabio Saraiva, who was on the receiving end of a couple of aerial challenges which saw him receive treatment, was replaced by the debutant Stojsavljevic at left back, Limbrick perhaps sensing that the increased height of the youngster may help to counter the aerial threat posed by the Cestrians.

To add to the sense of frustration for the home fans, Woking doubled their lead a minute later, in what, at the time it must be said, was slightly against the run of play. A horrendous defensive mix-up between Andy Halls and Lynch saw Jamie Philpot, eager and full of running all night, charge down an under-hit backpass, and seize upon the loose ball to roll it into the empty net. The on-loan striker celebrated with glee in front of the ecstatic travelling support.

Having increased their lead, Woking rarely looked threatened, and re-asserted their control of the game through their possession football. A final change was made with Inih Effiong replacing Philpot. The big centre forward made life even less comfortable for the home side, with strong, direct running turning the defence towards their own goal the last thing they would have wanted.

After five minutes of stoppage time the referee blew the full time whistle, with a delighted Limbrick and his increasingly impressive young team able to celebrate with the travelling Woking fans, who were in fine voice all night.

This was a mature, confident, controlled performance that got the three points, and clean sheet, it deserved, and attention now turns to a tasty looking clash with Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday.

Chester: Alex Lynch, Andy Halls, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Kingsley James, John McCombe (Nyal Bell 80), Ryan Astles, Craig Mahon (Liam Davies 19), Ross Hannah, Lucas Dawson, James Akintunde, Tom Shaw (Paul Turnbull 65).

Subs not used: Wade Joyce, Nathan Sheron

Goals: None

Bookings: Hannah

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Matt Young, Josh Staunton, Jordan Wynter, Fabio Saraiva (Lazar Stojsavljevic 70), Chez Isaac, Kane Ferdinand, Charlie Carter, Bobson Bawling (Joe Ward 65), Regan Charles-Cook, Jamie Philpot (Inih Effiong 79)

Subs not used: Richard Orlu, Declan Appau

Goals: Ferdinand (10), Philpot (71)

Bookings: Ferdinand, Philpot, Carter

Attendance: 1,658

Referee: Glen Hart

My MOTM – Kane Ferdinand. Alongside his central midfield partner Chez Isaac, Ferdinand epitomised the confident, assured ability to pass the ball quickly through midfield and to retain possession of the ball which was the hallmark of this impressive display. As well as this, he opened the scoring with a fine goal.
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