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Cards well beaten

Alan Worth - 13th March 2010

13th March 2010


The grim expression on the faces of Graham Baker and his Woking team as they left the field at Wheatsheaf Park this afternoon said it all. The Cards had been comprehensively and comfortably defeated by local rivals Staines Town and any lingering hopes that Woking might make a play-off place were surely buried as their dreadful run showed no sign of being turned around.

Apart from the returning Ross Worner, Woking started with the same line-up that had secured a draw at Kingfield in part one of this double-header. On the bench was new signing Craig Faulconbridge from Carshalton, alongside Sole, Ademola, Anane and Nicolau.

Staines introduced two new loan signings – Andrew White, a forward on Reading’s books, and the impressive Elliott Godfrey, another forward from AFC Wimbledon. Ali Chaaban, Staines’s leading scorer, returned to the bench.

Woking started brightly and for the first quarter looked comfortable at the back, with Hutchinson commanding in the air, and Pinney looking sharp up front. In the fourth minute he muscled his way past a Staines defender and managed to get to the bye line. The young forward hesitated and his cross was cleared away for a corner.

The hosts’ first real chance came on 14 minutes. An excellent ball over the top from Risbridger saw Godfrey in the clear but the debutant’s shot was well over Worner’s bar. Two minutes later a dangerous corner from the left saw Mambo unmarked at the back post but he was just unable to get his head to the ball. On 22 minutes Ross Worner had to make an excellent point blank save from Griffiths, who had been put in on goal by White’s pass.

On 25 minutes came controversy and a huge let-off for the Cards. A free-kick was taken by Staines’ keeper, Louis Wells, after an offside decision. His huge kick was missed by Hutchinson in the area and its extravagant bounce took the ball over Worner’s despairing leap and into the back of the net. Referee Serrano initially gave the goal, as Staines players rushed to congratulate their bemused keeper. But then, to the relief of the travelling Cards fans, he decided to rule the goal out, presumably as he believed that the ball hadn’t been touched and he had awarded an indirect free-kick.

Rather than picking up the pace, and being spurred on by this good fortune, Woking now began to look far less secure at the back as Staines continued to dictate with the lion share of possession.

On 38 minutes Hand’s ball to Wright saw the striker get to the bye line but his cross was deflected behind by Wells. On 40 minutes Pinney’s long cross-field ball from the left picked out his partner Wright, whose shot on the volley flew past the far post. For Staines, White’s shot from outside the box was well over and a snap shot from Griffiths was wide of Worner’s post

HALF TIME – Staines Town 0 Woking 0

Staines immediately took the lead within a minute of the re-start. Ross Worner hesitated in clearing a back pass and saw his effort ricochet off the advancing White and into the net.

A Ricketts shot immediately afterwards caused Wells problems but the Staines keeper gathered the ball after he had fumbled the long-range effort.

The game was now opening up, with Arter put through by Pinney, but he was quickly surrounded by Staines defenders and, on 51 minutes, a vicious in-swinging free kick from Sloma was deflected away for a corner as Hutchinson stooped to head the ball goalwards.

On 54 minutes a dreadful back pass almost handed Staines a second freak goal as Worner’s clearance again hit White as he closed down on the Cards keeper. This time the ball was cleared.

Staines doubled their lead on 57 minutes. Ex-Card Simon Jackson found Scarlett on the edge of the box and the midfielder buried his shot, with Worner going the wrong way thanks to a slight deflection. It was no more than the home side deserved.

Another long Staines clearance found Godfrey in the clear but Worner just managed to head the ball way to safety from outside the area.

On 71 minutes Craig Faulconbridge replaced Pinney to make his Woking debut while at the other end Ali Chaaban had been brought on and the speedy forward immediately caused Woking problems. His central free-kick after he had been fouled fortunately only found Woking’s defensive wall.

With ten minutes remaining, Sole’s quick turn gave him a half chance but his shot was deflected for a corner. A final chance for the Cards came after Faulconbridge’s flicked header was controlled by Sole, now on for Arter. He played in Hutchinson, playing up front in a last ditch effort to find some form of consolation goal, but again the Staines defence managed to squeeze the ball out for a corner.

Finally, in time added on, Staines piled on the agony with a third goal. Woking, stretched at the back, allowed Scarlett acres of space on the edge of the box and the midfielder again finished clinically to make it 3-0.

And so Staines march on towards the play-offs while Woking look condemned to mid-table obscurity. The away form that brought such fine performances at Basingstoke and Dover has disappeared without trace.

SCORERS: Staines Town - White 9, Scarlett 57, 91
BOOKED: Woking – Hand 86
HALF-TIME: Staines Town 0 Woking 0
MOTM: Tom Hutchinson
WOKING LINE-UP: Ross Worner, Tony Sinclair, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Tom Hutchinson, Jon Boardman, Harry Arter (Giuseppe Sole 59), Jamie Hand, Matthew Wright (Nicky Nicolau 61), Nathaniel Pinney (Craig Faulconbridge 71), Sam Sloma
UNUSED SUBS: Ricky Anane, Moses Ademola
STAINES TOWN LINE-UP: Wells, Jackson, Sterling, Gordon, Mambo, Scarlett, Newton (Brown 80), Risbridger, White (Chaaban 68), Godfrey, Griffiths
UNUSED SUBS: Ifura, Ahmad, Kamara
REFEREE: A. Serrano