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Cards hit Saints for six

Brian Caffarey - 22nd November 2009

Cards hit Saints for six Woking 6 St Albans City 0
FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
21 November 2009

Those “fickle” fans who stayed away from Kingfield fearing another goalless draw will have shaken their heads in disbelief at this scoreline as the recent goal drought turned into a deluge on a suitably wet afternoon. Whether it was the arrival of Trevor Benjamin, football journeyman par excellence, that cast the spell that brought joy for Messrs Baker and Dack we will presumably only find out in later games. But it was certainly nice to see the ball hit the back of the net even if St Albans were unfortunate enough to assist with at least three of the goals.

With Jon Boardman injured and Aswad Thomas on the bench, the Cards lined up with Tony Sinclair partnering Tom Hutchinson in central defence and Nicky Nicolau at left back. Jamie Hand was given a holding midfield role, with Mark Ricketts further forward than usual and Harry Arter out on the right. Trevor Benjamin partnered Moses Ademola up front and immediately made his presence felt by winning in the air that lofted ball from the kick-off that almost invariably goes straight into touch. Raphael Nade was probably the last Woking player to achieve this feat.

A 6-0 scoreline was certainly not on any Woking fan’s horizons for the first quarter of an hour of this game as St Albans attacked fluently and confidently and the home side stuttered. Ross Worner, who was to become a virtual spectator in the second half, was soon in action, fielding a decent strike from Gary Cohen, and the home defence looked vulnerable as crosses came in from the flanks. A sweet move then saw Shields side-foot a volley narrowly wide before another run penetrated the Woking area.

Woking scored with almost their first attack of the afternoon in the 19th minute. Tom Hutchinson, marauding forward, executed a deft flick. Ryan Frater, the Saints’ formidable captain and central defender, under pressure from Trevor Benjamin, cleared hurriedly for a corner when a throw-in looked achievable. Giuseppe Sole’s corner was cleared out to Harry Arter on the edge of the area. His strike took a deflection off James Quilter to bypass Michael Emery in the St Albans goal. Perhaps at this point the Saints realised that this wasn’t going to be their lucky day.

The ending of the goal drought seemed to spark the Cards into life, although the visitors continued to look a threat on the break. Gez Sole, looking fortunate to have escaped with a foul, advanced into the right of the St Albans area and chipped the ball across to Mark Ricketts at the far post, who was just thwarted by a defender’s lunge. A quick counter-attack then broke down as Jamie Hand’s threaded pass caught Moses Ademola’s heel.

As the game became quite feisty in midfield, St Albans threatened as Gary Cohen chased a long ball down the right but Ross Worner, whose speed off his line is a notable asset, just got there first to hoof clear. The Saints’ pressure continued as they won two free-kicks on the edge of the Woking area but some determined blocking by the Woking defence ensured that Worner wasn’t called into action.

Woking responded with a lay-off from Trevor Benjamin to Nicky Nicolau, whose left-foot volley was well struck but fell comfortably for keeper Emery.

As half-time neared, a St Albans attack down the left briefly threatened to restore parity as Smith’s cross went right across the face of the goal, with the resulting attack then blocked once more.

But, with a minute remaining, Woking doubled their lead with a wonderful goal from Moses Ademola. As the ball came to him on the edge of the area, from a flick-on by Trevor Benjamin, he executed a delightful, delicate left-footed chip over Emery and into the net.

Half-time: Woking 2 St Albans City 0

Far from looking satisfied with two goals, the Cards came out after the break seemingly determined to add more and kill the game off. And that’s just what they did within a minute. A rehearsal of the third goal consisted of Harry Arter releasing Moses Ademola down the right but with the latter pushing the ball too far forward as he raced into the area. Moments later, though, Harry Arter’s clever back heel released Ricky Anane in a similar position. Tearing into the area, he turned inside a defender and released the ball to Jamie Hand, whose shot Emery could only parry into the path of Anane, who lashed the ball home. 3-0 to the Cards and game over!

It was virtually one-way traffic thereafter as the Cards, with a spring in their step, attacked at will, with Harry Arter revelling now in a more central midfield role. St Albans had one chance to reduce the deficit, in the 55th minute, when Justin Clayton skied over the bar after a mis-kick by a Woking defender. A minute later Trevor Benjamin surprised a few of us as he tried an overhead kick, which was only narrowly over the bar.

On 60 minutes Woking fans had another surprise as Gez Sole headed the ball into the net – only for the strike to be disallowed for a push! But the fourth goal followed a minute later and, once again, the Saints had the misfortune to contribute to their own downfall as Trevor Benjamin’s close-range header, from a fine Moses Ademola cross, deflected off Ryan Frater and into the net.

Harry Arter was clearly keen to get his own name on the score sheet as he tried a shot from distance, but achieved his aim a minute later, arriving at speed in the box to side-foot home as Moses Ademola crossed low after being played through by Ricky Anane.

Graham Baker then brought on Aswad Thomas for Tom Hutchinson and Luke Medley for Moses Ademola and, ten minutes later, Mitchell Bryant for Trevor Benjamin, who must have been pleased with his latest debut. At a minimum, his physical presence had certainly kept the Saints’ central defenders busier than they had been in the league game and helped to create space for his team mates.

The match continued to be one-way traffic. Gez Sole fired a free-kick way over the bar. Mitchell Bryant made a run into the box but was dispossessed and then shot weakly. Corners followed as the St Albans defence became even more ragged and Luke Medley’s fine run down the left produced a superb cross which just eluded the on-rushing Woking strikers. On the stroke of full-time the sixth goal arrived. Mitchell Bryant came in from the Woking right again. His cross took yet another deflection, falling nicely to Luke Medley a couple of yards out. Emery could only parry his shot into the path of Gez Sole, who netted gleefully.

This was, obviously, a much more encouraging display from the Cards, helped by some fortunate deflections and a St Albans side which performed surprisingly tamely in the second half. Cards fans will be hoping that the free goalscoring form in cups can now be translated to league encounters, starting against Dorchester Town next Saturday at Kingfield.

Woking: Ross Worner, Ricky Anane, Nicky Nicolau, Mark Ricketts, Tom Hutchinson (Aswad Thomas 66), Tony Sinclair, Jamie Hand, Harry Arter, Trevor Benjamin (Mitchell Bryant 76), Moses Ademola (Luke Medley 66), Giuseppe Sole

Unused subs: Matt Pegler, Sam Sloma

Booked: Ricky Anane, Jamie Hand

Attendance: 823

Sponsors’ (The Sherlock family) MOTM: Moses Ademola (pictured receiving his award from Roger Sherlock)

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