Cards have to be satisfied with a draw
6:48pm, Mon 31st Aug 2009
Woking 0 Eastleigh 0
31 August 2009
It was a fairly familiar script at Kingfield this afternoon, with the home side finding it difficult to turn territorial advantage into clear-cut chances and goals. This time, however, there was no late strike to break the deadlock as a resolute Eastleigh defence defied a final Woking surge.
At a sun-drenched Kingfield, the Cards, attacking the Leslie Gosden Stand, started with the same side as at Lewes on Saturday. Woking were quickly into attacking mode, seeking the early goal that would no doubt have calmed the nerves of players and fans alike. Gez Sole and Craig Watkins threatened to penetrate the visitorsâ€™ back line, well marshalled by ex-Card Tom Jordan. Moses Ademola made a lung-bursting break out of defence, surging past several defenders and on into the box, but he delayed shooting long enough to allow another defender to take the sting out of his effort.
Woking continued to press forward, with Mark Rickettsâ€™s snap shot clipping the angle of post and bar as the ball came back to him from a cleared corner. At the other end, the main threat seemed to come from the lanky Peter Adeniyi, turning his marker well to get in a crisp shot.
The Cards had an excellent opportunity to take the lead in the 16th minute. Two Eastleigh defenders got in a muddle over a long ball forward, leaving Sole to advance into the right of the area. He tried to curl the ball inside the far post with the outside of his right foot but missed the target.
With the play often hemmed in on the right-hand side of the pitch, the Cards were unable to create another clear chance until the 27th minute, when Craig Watkins rose well to thump a header against the post.
The Spitfires posed their greatest danger at set pieces. Ross Worner had to punch clear and then watch as a glancing header narrowly missed the far post.
As half-time approached, the busy, â€˜spikyâ€™ Harry Arter charged forward but shot from distance, to the frustration of Sam Sloma, well placed to his left.
Half-time: Woking 0 Eastleigh 0
It was Arter who was first in the action after the break, picking up an intelligent cross from Ademola and rifling a shot, which, deflected, fell nicely for the keeper.
The visitors then enjoyed their best spell of the game, looking the more likely to score for the next 15 minutes or so until Delano Sam-Yorkeâ€™s substitution for Sole in the 59th minute gave the Cards renewed impetus. Meanwhile, Taylor and Forbes had both gone close for the Spitfires, who enjoyed some good possession in and around the Woking box.
Luke Medley joined Sam-Yorke two minutes later and immediately had the ball in the net, converting a fine Sloma cross. But the assistant referee, rightly, had flagged for offside.
Sam-Yorkeâ€™s powerful direct running took him past a defender on the Woking left flank. He tried to side-foot the ball with his right foot into the far corner but only succeeded in putting it straight across the face of the goal. It was another Sam-Yorke run, this time on the right, which created the next chance as Medleyâ€™s shot was blocked.
Eastleigh continued to threaten intermittently and there was always the worry that they would snatch a goal. Worner, making virtually his first mistake of the season, fumbled one catch but the ball was driven harmlessly over the bar.
With Charlie Moone on, and Tom Hutchinson frequently thrown forward, the game moved into its final phase as Woking desperately sought a winning goal. Hutchinson managed a couple of headers but without enough purchase on them to trouble the visiting keeper.
With only a minute to go, the Cards came dramatically close to grabbing that elusive goal. Arter played a good ball out to Sam-Yorke, who centred perfectly. Somehow or other, though, a defender was able to hook the ball clear as he and Watkins slid into the net. In injury time, Wokingâ€™s fansâ€™ hearts were in their mouths as a cross went right across the face of the Woking goal. In a final throw of the dice Arterâ€™s rather scuffed free-kick went narrowly wide of the near post.
Eastleigh are clearly a useful side, with a big, secure defence and some able players up front, but Graham Baker will be disappointed that his side did not take their chances, especially in the first half. Putting the ball in the net is still the problem.
Woking (1-11): Ross Worner, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Tom Hutchinson, Tony Sinclair, Moses Ademola (Luke Medley, 61), Harry Arter, Craig Watkins, Giuseppe Sole (Delano Sam-Yorke, 59), Sam Sloma (Charlie Moone, 78)
Unused subs: Matt Pegler, Daniel Sintim
Booked: Harry Arter
Sponsorâ€™s MOTM: Craig Watkins (pictured)