Woking leave it late

Brian Caffarey
7:31pm, Sat 22nd Aug 2009
Woking 1 Bishop’s Stortford 0
22 August 2009

The Bishops, appropriately, bowed to the Cardinals – eventually – in what threatened for much of the game to be another frustrating afternoon for Cards fans. It took a Gez Sole penalty in the 83rd minute to pierce a solid Stortford rearguard.

Woking were missing Aswad Thomas, with Sam Sloma deputising at left back and Luke Medley returning on the right flank. Moses Ademola and Craig Watkins were the front two in a 4-4-2 formation.

Medley stormed past his marker in the first minute but he was able to make little impact thereafter, joining his colleagues in a generally rather fitful display, especially in the first half. Once again, there was plenty of potential in the Woking play but the final pass or shot rarely looked like penetrating a well-marshalled defence.

The Cards’ early play, perhaps reflecting an impatience to impress, was characterised by too many balls played forward in the air. Watkins created a chance for Sole, whose header was comfortably saved by Nicky Eyre, the Blues’ keeper. But the away side went even closer in the 15th minute, with only a brave save by Ross Worner – in another faultless display – saving the blushes of his central defenders.

By the midpoint of the half the Cards were gradually finding some more fluency. Watkins impressed in flicking the ball over his marker’s head but his finish, like Ademola’s five minutes later after at the end of a patient build-up, was too tame to test Eyre seriously.

Harry Arter, lively in midfield, did well to get to the byeline and cut the ball back, only to see a defender head clear. Although Woking continued to have more of the play, the Blues created the odd chance, with Harris heading over the bar and then sending a snap half-volley wide of Worner’s far post. Medley made a great run out of defence but, once again, the final cross presented no threat.

Half-time: Woking 0 Bishop’s Stortford 0

There was an early scare for the Cards when Worner was adjudged to have picked up Sloma’s back pass. The free-kick was blocked but Tony Sinclair had to cover very quickly to smother a shot at the far post. The Cards then developed some momentum as Ademola, now swapping places with Medley, took the ball down beautifully and put in a teasing cross, followed by a fine move involving Sole and Sloma, with Watkins managing just a touch on the latter’s low cross. The pressure was maintained with two Sloma free-kicks and a Ricketts effort but then fell away again until Watkins was foiled in the box by a last-ditch tackle by Goodacre in the 69th minute. Watkins turned sharply a few minutes later but blasted wide, while Worner had to be quick off his line to hoof the ball clear as the Blues threatened to steal the game on a breakaway.

The Cards pushed forward but without really looking as though they would make their superiority count. A nice pass from Sole to Arter saw the ball taken off the latter’s foot as we moved into the final ten minutes. There were groans from the home fans as Sole and Sam-Yorke, on for Medley, failed to control the ball cleanly in good positions but then the Cards had a slice of luck. A defender slipped – was this partly due to the watering of the pitch at half-time? – followed by a messy tackle on Watkins in the area, and possibly handball. The referee, who’d been whistle-happy all afternoon, pointed to the spot and Sole duly hammered the resulting penalty past Eyre.

That was it apart from a fine break by Sam-Yorke which, via Ademola, nearly set up Sole for a clinching second goal, and a very reassuring clean ‘take’ by Worner from a corner in the dying seconds of injury time.

So, the afternoon ended with a –deserved – three points for the Cards but a sense of frustration on the part of home fans that a side with such obvious promise is finding it so difficult to turn dominance into goals. On the positive side, though, that makes it three wins, one draw and one defeat from the first five games.

Woking (4-4-2): Ross Worner; Ricky Anane, Sam Sloma, Mark Ricketts, Tom Hutchinson, Tony Sinclair, Luke Medley (Delano Sam-Yorke, 65), Harry Arter (Jerome Maledon, 83), Moses Ademola; Craig Watkins, Giuseppe Sole

Subs not used: Daniel Sintim, Joe McNerney, Charlie Moone

Booked: Harry Arter

Sponsor’s (Farnham Flooring) MOTM: Tom Hutchinson (pictured)

Attendance: 1090

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