Cards Out But Not Disgraced
10:22pm, Sat 7th Nov 2009
Alan Worth has kindly supplied this report of todayâ€™s game.
SWINDON TOWN 1 v WOKING 0
FA Cup 1st Round
7th November 2009
Another visit to the County Ground and another exit from the FA Cup. In 1996, Geoff Chappleâ€™s Woking were dumped out of the competition 2 â€“ 0 after a somewhat tame performance in front of 10,000 spectators. This time, there were rather fewer spectators, but the large and noisy contingent of Cards fans watched a more positive performance from their side, even if the game never really caught fire.
As with so many games this season, it was the lack of firepower up front that was the Cards main problem, with the Swindon keeper Phil Smith not having a meaningful shot to save all afternoon.
Graham Baker made a number of changes, that saw Tony Sinclair making his return to the side at right back with Ricky Anane, excellent in the first half, pushed forward to the right side of midfield. Nicky Nicolau started at left back with Aswad Thomas on the bench and Hutchinson and Boardman partnered in the centre of defence. The Arter and Ricketts combination were reunited in midfield with Delano Sam-Yorke on the left. Up front Mitchell Bryant joined Gez Sole. Moses Ademola made a welcome return to the bench, having been out injured since the FA Cup tie against Hythe.
After an impeccably observed minutes silence, the game was underway with Woking settling quickly and showing from the off that they were not just going to defend and, intent on playing a passing game, took the game to the home side. On 6 minutes, Ricky Anane made the first of several dangerous runs into the Swindon box, but he failed to hit the target with his shot.
Swindonâ€™s first effort on goal came on 12 minutes, with leading scorer Paynter firing a long-range effort from outside the box. It created no problems for Ross Worner. Two minutes later, Swindon should have opened the scoring, when the ball was swung in from the left and an unmarked Paynterâ€™s far post header looped over the bar.
With 15 minutes gone, Bryantâ€™s clever back heel found Gez Sole but his shot was blocked by a Swindon defender and deflected for a corner. Inexplicably, Mr Graham awarded a goal kick â€“ this wasnâ€™t to be the only controversial decision he was to make during the afternoon.
The game was now end to end, but the home side were carrying the greater threat up front, with the ever dangerous Paynter, always prominent as the focal point of Swindon's attack. Again, it was Paynter forcing a good save from Ross down to his left and Obadeyi forcing a similar save from the Cardsâ€™ keeper a few minutes later. At the other end Harry Arter appeared to be held back as he was about to shoot and then Anane skipped past the Swindon defence only to scuff his shot. On 24 minutes Swindon had another good effort after Obadeyi had made an excellent run into the box only to see his shot tipped around the post by Worner.
Swindon were now on top, with a succession of dangerous corners, as their tall defenders began to gain the ascendancy at these set pieces. On 35 minutes, the deadlock was broken, but the resulting goal was not without controversy.
Yet another corner this time from the Swindon right was taken by McGovern. Paynter rose, unmarked, at the near post, to flick a header beyond Worner and into the far corner. The home sideâ€™s celebrations were short lived as the assistant refereeâ€™s flag was raised. What the infringement might have been was unclear, but after a short discussion between the two officials, the goal was allowed to stand.
HALF TIME â€“ Swindon Town 1 Woking 0
Graham Baker made no changes for the start of the second half, but after a bright first few minutes, with a typical Arter run coming to nothing, Woking seemed to lose their way.
It was after the hour mark that Woking had their first real moments of pressure in the second half. Two Nicolau corners caused problems for Swindon as Tom Hutchinson just failed to connect with a dangerous ball that had finally been played into the box by Arter, and a second, that resulted in a huge shout for hand ball in the penalty area as the hosts tried to clear their lines. Mr Graham wasnâ€™t impressed and waved away the Cards' players appeals.
Swindon had further chances five minutes later with a good snap shot from McNamee well saved by Ross Worner and, almost immediately, another fine save from a long range effort that was pushed away to safety.
With Boardman and Nicolau replaced by Hand and Thomas, Woking went to a back three as they pushed forward for an unlikely equaliser. There was a chance on 70 minutes with the Cards awarded a free kick in a central position 30 yards out. Unfortunately, Gezâ€™s shot was high and hopeful over the Swindon bar, a poor effort by his usual high standards. Still Woking refused to lay down, and with Ademola on for Bryant after the young striker had just failed to reach a Gez flick from Delanoâ€™s ball in from the left, there was suddenly just a glimmer of hope. Swindon resorted to the inevitable time wasting as they clung on, with Hutchinson now the main threat up front.
On 82 minutes, the Woking captain, who'd been a rock all afternoon, appeared to be pushed in the back as he attempted to get on the end of a Cardâ€™s free kick but, again, Mr Graham saw it differently. A long shot from Sole was well wide and, finally, with two minutes of time added on remaining, Aswadâ€™s long throw into the Swindon box caused havoc. Sadly the ball would not fall to a Woking player and, eventually, it was cleared. The League One side managed to see out time and go into the next round of the cup.
Woking had never been over-awed or out played, and for long periods managed to control possession. But in the final third the Cards, not for the first time this season, struggled to break the opposition down and didn't really pose a significant goal threat as the Swindon back line bossed most situations. Disappointing yes, but dispiriting no, - and there will be few, if any, Christmas Cards for Mr Graham this year with a Woking postmark!
SCORERS: Swindon Town â€“ Paynter 35
BOOKED: Woking â€“ Bryant 59; Arter 78
HALF-TIME: Swindon Town 1 Woking 0
MOTM: Ricky Anane
WOKING LINE-UP: Ross Worner, Tony Sinclair, Nicky Nicolau (Jamie Hand 67), Mark Ricketts, Tom Hutchinson, Jon Boardman (Aswad Thomas 67), Ricky Anane, Harry Arter, Mitchell Bryant (Moses Ademola 76), Gez Sole, Delano Sam-Yorke
UNUSED SUBS: Luke Medley, Sam Sloma, Jerome Maledon, Matt Pegler
SWINDON TOWN LINE-UP: Smith, Cuthbert, Greer, McGovern, Timlin, McNamee (Easton 79), Amankwaah, Kennedy, Paynter, Obadeyi (Hutchinson 61), Ferry (Peacock 81)
UNUSED SUBS: Jesionkowski, Morrison, Thompson, Barnes
REFEREE: F. Graham
ASSISTANT REFEREES: B. Huxtable, A. Turner