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Frustrating Beavers fail to halt Cards' progress

Glen Harrington - 17th August 2011
Woking 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
Blue Square Bet South
16th August 2011

A late Jack King penalty handed the Cards all three points in a bruising encounter with a strong and well-organised Hampton & Richmond side. Moses Ademola had given the Cards a deserved lead just after the hour mark before Jacob Erskine’s strike briefly levelled for the Beavers.

It was the type of game the Cards must quickly become accustomed to as Hampton, with clear intentions of attempting to pick up a useful point, sat deep for the majority of the match, only coming out of their shell on the occasions they went behind – ex-Woking defender Matt Ruby orchestrating a fine effort on the part of the visitors.

Unsurprisingly, Garry Hill started with the team that had begun the season so strongly at Sutton. This meant Jack King and Mark Ricketts anchoring a midfield trio, with Giuseppe Sole playing the more prominent role behind lone frontman Elvis Hammond. Moses Ademola and Dale Binns (pictured) continued on the flanks, with full-backs Adam Newton and Derek Duncan also looking to get forward. Jay Davies’s recovery from illness allowed him a place on the bench.

The hosts started in a similar vein to that of Saturday’s comprehensive victory, creating a host of early chances through Ademola, who twice came close to picking out a red shirt with a low cross. It was Moses who also had the game’s first shot, shooting over after Joe McNerney had headed a Sole corner back across goal.

Unfortunately, the match soon became a somewhat disjointed affair as the Hampton ‘park the bus’ tactics proved effective, while several stoppages for injury disrupted the game’s flow. After a nervy opening spell the visitors even began to grow into the tie themselves, another ex-card Charlie Moone providing glimpses of an attacking outlet.

Ademola and Binns were the clear danger-men for the Cards, whose best chances came when the ball was passed wide rather than chipped through the middle. This was emphasised late on in the half when Binns’s whipped cross was turned in by Sole, only for it to be ruled offside, while Ademola, cutting in from the right-hand side, saw an ambitious attempt well saved by Beavers keeper Chiweshe.

Half-time: Woking 0 Hampton & Richmond Borough 0

Woking came out with more intent after the break, looking to find a way through the stubborn Hampton back-line – King pushing up alongside Sole in the attacking midfield role. He was almost immediately rewarded as well, the powerful midfielder placing a long-range header just wide after Newton’s fine cross.

However, it was the visitors who had the better of the second half’s opening exchanges. First, Erskine belatedly forced Andy Little into action with a decent save, before Gary Frewin also saw a goal chalked off for offside. This sustained pressure on the Woking goal prompted Hampton manager Mark Harper into an early change, bringing on the more goal-threatening Dave Tarpey in place of Frewin.

Unperturbed, the Cards were soon back in full control. Just after the hour mark and exquisite control inside the box from Ademola allowed him a snap shot that was only narrowly deflected wide, Ruby and co clearly starting to struggle for the first time with their containment policy.

The goal, that surely had to come, finally arrived as Ricketts found Binns in oceans of space on the left flank. Binns had time to control and compose himself before sending over a pin-point cross into the visitors’ area. Hammond and Ademola both arrived late into the box, Elvis unable to make contact, but Moses kept his head and turned home from a tight angle at the back post.

The lead could have been doubled soon after as substitute Paris Cowan-Hall, having replaced Sole, latched on to an Ademola pull-back, but could only divert the ball back into the arms of Chiweshe from six yards.

To their credit the Beavers refused to give up the fight, something that was rewarded by a fine piece of opportunism from Erskine. Arron Morgan picked us possession on the left and swung over what looked a harmless cross towards the Woking front post, only for the striker to nip in front of Little and flick the ball into the net – a blow intensified when considering how hard the Cards had needed to work to take the lead.

Highly frustrated and back to square one, the Cards attempted to go again, McNerney forcing a sprawling save from Chiweshe as the home side piled players forward in search of a winner.

With his frontmen starting to tire, Hill opted for a double change as he threw on Wayne Gray and Nathan Koranteng (in place of Hammond and Binns) to give the opposition something new to think about. The effect was almost immediate as both were involved in a neat move culminating in a Hampton hand blocking the way through the area, a penalty given. With Sole off the pitch, Jack King took responsibility, making no mistake as he slotted low to the right, sending the keeper the wrong way.

The Beavers had one last roll of the dice to make. On came giant striker Leon Simpson, who needed the pressure of both McNerney and Doyle to deny him one of several headed chances as the visitors won a late flurry of corners and set pieces.

Nonetheless, the Cards held on for a deserved three points, which sees them maintain their 100% start to the new season – their strongest opening to a Blue Square South campaign yet.

On reflection, the hosts will feel pleased that they were able to overcome a well set-up opposition who allowed them far less time and space than they enjoyed against Sutton. It will be interesting to see the approach taken by Boreham Wood, without a point from their first two fixtures, when they visit Kingfield on Saturday.

Woking: Andy Little, Adam Newton, Derek Duncan, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Giuseppe Sole (Paris Cowan-Hall 70), Jack King, Moses Ademola, Elvis Hammond (Wayne Gray 80), Dale Binns (Nathan Koranteng 80).

Unused Subs: Aaron Howe, Jay Davies.

Goals: Ademola 63, King 84 (pen).

Booked: Binns 75.

Hampton & Richmond: Rodney Chiweshe, Callum Stewart, Darrell Ellams (Leon Simpson 85), Ricky Machel, Matt Ruby, Arron Morgan (Stuart Duff 76), Nathan Collier, Paul Johnson, Charlie Moone, Jacob Erskine, Gary Frewin (Dave Tarpey 54).

Unused Subs: Tom Hickey, Jame Walters.

Goals: Erskine 72.

Booked: Johnson 83, Collier 90.

MOTM: Moses Ademola – An ever-present thorn in the Beavers side, Moses caused the visitors continual problems throughout the evening and was unlucky not to add to his opening goal.

Attendance: 1,467