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Cards leave it late to rescue FA Cup campaign

William Bewsey - 18th October 2019

Cards leave it late to rescue FA Cup campaign Ebbsfleet United 1 Woking 1
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
19th October 2019

Woking began their FA Cup campaign with memories fresh in the minds from last season’s heroics, and had a strong starting lineup against the National League’s rock bottom side. Paul Hodges and Jack Cook replaced Jamar Loza and Manny Parry after the heartbreak of Barnet last Saturday.

Ebbsfleet have had a very poor start to the season, and popular former Woking boss Garry Hill left the club last week, and his assistant Kevin Watson is currently in charge. Ebbsfleet lined up with three former Cards, Josh Payne, Jack King and Frankie Sutherland, with former Woking forward Gozie Ugwu on the bench.

The Fleet began the game on the front foot, as they looked to break the deadlock early. After just two minutes, Woking failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Alex Reid, but his shot went into the side netting.

Shortly after, Alfie Egan played a brilliant pass into the feet of Laurie Wilson, but his shot was well stopped by Craig Ross. Straight afterwards, Woking won a corner, and Casey’s whipped in ball was flicked on from Jack Cook, but Laurie Wilson was there to clear off the line.

Another corner for Woking created a chance for Hodges on the edge of the box, but his curling shot just crept over the bar. For the next twenty minutes, Ebbsfleet continued to be the better side, as Woking struggled to keep the ball.

Just before the half an hour mark, a through ball found Alex Reid, who saw Jack Cook off to put himself through on goal, and he finished into the bottom corner to give Ebbsfleet a deserved lead.

For the rest of the half, Ebbsfleet were comfortable with their one goal lead, but just before half time, Woking threatened the Fleet goal. Josh Payne had to make an important block in the box, before a poor pass back from a Fleet defender found Ibrahim Meite. The Woking forward made his way towards the edge of the box, before firing wide.

This was to be the last action of the half, a half where Woking never really got into the game, and Ebbsfleet were more than comfortable with their one goal lead.

Half-time: Ebbsfleet United 1-0 Woking

Woking were sent out early by Dowson, which seemed to help the Cards as they began the second half brightly, without creating much clear cut. Woking began to dominate possession for the first time in the game, and the likes of Dave Tarpey were trying to create chances for Meite, who was growing more and more into the game as time went on.

Nine minutes into the second half, Woking won a corner thanks to some great running from Meite. The corner caused havoc in the box, with Marvel Ekpiteta eventually clearing off the line. Minutes later, Mark Shelton decided to try his luck on the edge of the box, his shot just flying wide.

Hodges was replaced by Loza after 60 minutes, who would go on to have a very important say in how the match finished. However, it was Ebbsfleet who had a chance to double their lead, with Alex Reid again receiving a ball from over the top of Woking’s defence. Despite claims from both fans and players alike that he had controlled it with his arm, the referee allowed him to play on, and Craig Ross, who has been crucial for Woking so far this season, managed to gather the ball before Reid could get the shot away.

Woking continued to press for the all important equaliser, and came within inches of getting it, as Meite bursted down the wing, before putting a low ball into Tarpey, but his volley from a tight angle came back off the post, a massive let off for the Fleet.

That would be the last action from Meite, as he was replaced by Jake Hyde, Woking’s top scorer this season. Loza won a corner after a great run from him saw the ball saved by Holmes in the Ebbsfleet goal, and Shelton made way for Shaun Donnellan, who was about to be involved in controversy.

Woking won a free kick in a crossing position thanks to smart work from Hyde, and Kretzschmar’s ball in was headed up in the air by Donnellan, before Kane Ferdinand rose highest to power the ball past Holmes. But the linesman put his flag up straight away against Donnellan and despite the protests of the Woking players, the goal did not stand.

It was starting to seem like Woking were just going to run out of time, and needed that bit of luck that other teams had found against the Cards. Jamar Loza went on another run, and after going past Laurie Wilson, the Ebbsfleet right back went to ground inside the box. The referee did not hesitate in giving the penalty and Woking had a lifeline. After what seemed like forever, including a decision from Dowson to give Kretzschmar the responsibility, the Woking midfielder powerfully hit the ball into the roof of the net, sparking huge signs of relief and joy for the Woking fans and players.

There was to be no more major action, and Woking had kept their cup campaign alive for at least another 90 minutes.

Dowson will feel that the team were off the pace in the first half, and after dominating the ball in the second half, a draw was deserved. Despite being controversially disallowed a goal with ten minutes left, Woking dug deep and Kretzschmar showed nerves of steel to earn a replay.

Woking: 13 Craig Ross, 2 Jack Cook, 3 Josh Casey, 5 Ben Gerring, 7 Dave Tarpey, 8 Kane Ferdinand, 10 Max Kretzschmar, 11 Paul Hodges (22 Jamar Loza 60’), 12 Nathan Collier, 18 Ibrahim Meite (9 Jake Hyde 73), 19 Mark Shelton (Shaun Donnellan 76’)

Unused subs: 1 Sam Howes, 4 Manny Parry, 14 Godfrey Poku, 20 Toby Edser

Goals: Kretzschmar 91’ (pen)

Ebbsfleet United: Jordan Holmes, Marvel Ekpiteta (Gozie Ugwu 77’), Jack King, Tyler Cordner, Josh Payne, Alfie Egan, Frankie Sutherland, Laurie Wilson, Myles Weston (Alex Lawless 82’), Alex Reid, Josh Umerah (Ayo Obileye 77’)

Unused subs: Harry Palmer, Jamie Grimes, Andre Blackman, Toni Adeloye

Goals: Reid 29’

Referee: Tom Reeves

Attendance: 750

Man of the Match: Dave Tarpey helped Woking dominate the second half, he created chances and threatened the Ebbsfleet backline.
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