Cardinals scrape past Bishops
10:11pm, Sun 26th Sep 2010
Bishop’s Cleeve 1 Woking 2
FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round
Saturday 25th September 2010
Woking left it late to secure a place in the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round after struggling to a narrow victory over their spirited Zamaretto League opponents.
The Cards lined up with several changes from the defeat at Welling. New goalkeeper Andrew Little made his debut, Aswad Thomas returned to the position vacated by the departed Chris Bush, Sam Hurrell replaced Toby Little on the left of midfield and Craig Faulconbridge returned to the starting line-up to partner Dave Gilroy in attack.
Within a minute of the kick-off Ademola won the first corner of the afternoon, although Hurrell’s subsequent kick was easily cleared by the home defence.
However, it was Bishop’s Cleeve who proceeded to take the game to their higher-ranked opponents as, in the second minute, a long throw-in from Ben Gascoyne bounced across the Woking box with no one able to get on the end of it.
With five minutes gone the home side should have taken the lead. Gascoyne shot on the run, and though his effort was blocked the ball fell to the Villagers’ veteran number nine Julian Alsop, whose close-range shot was pushed around the post by Little for a corner.
Two minutes later Aswad Thomas muscled his way into the left-hand side of the box and, despite the home defence looking as though they had the situation well under control, managed to nick the ball away and get a shot in from a tight angle, but only succeeded in hitting the side netting.
After 11 minutes Woking came the closest they would come to scoring in the first half. Faulconbridge ran into the home side's half and laid the ball back to Dave Gilroy on the edge of the penalty area, and his chip clipped the top of the bar before going out for a corner. From the corner the ball came out to Joe McNerney, who volleyed well wide. Two minutes later McNerney was again off-target, this time heading a free-kick from Jerome Maledon wide.
For all of the Cards’ efforts, they were posing little threat. Long balls were pumped forward to Craig Faulconbridge but all too often, despite him connecting with the ball, there was no one available to take advantage of his headers and create a clear chance. It was a similar case at the other end with Alsop frequently winning headers but lacking the support to make the most of them.
In the 26th minute, the home side started to show a little more menace and let the Cards off again. Kevin Slack broke into the Woking box, but with a clear shot on goal only managed to direct his effort straight at Little. Four minutes later, Alsop flicked on a cross from Avery, which was collected by Slack. This time the Villagers’ striker turned and shot well over the bar.
However, it wasn’t long before Slack did manage to break the deadlock. From a throw-in and another flick-on from Alsop, Slack’s shot on goal was pushed wide for a corner. As the ball swung in Slack rose above a static Woking defence to head home off the underside of the bar and give the Villagers the lead.
Five minutes later the home side threatened again, Alex Sykes blasting over yet another flick from Alsop and, as the half ended, it was Bishop’s Cleeve who were looking the more comfortable side.
Half-time: Bishop’s Cleeve 1 Woking 0
With no changes to either team at the interval, the second half began much as the first had ended, Sykes having a shot blocked after picking up a long throw. In the 50th minute as the home side broke forward, Slack beat Alan Inns and advanced into the area, only for Adam Doyle to make a saving challenge as the troublesome striker lined up to shoot. A minute later Alsop again won a header, knocking the ball down to Sykes, whose dipping shot went over the bar. After 55 minutes a shot from Sykes was deflected by Inns for a corner, producing a penalty area scramble before the ball was cleared upfield by McNerney.
Woking’s first change came shortly afterwards, Andy Forbes replacing Gilroy, who had struggled to make any real impact on the game. In fact, at this point, the Cards as a whole were struggling to make any real headway against a determined home side and it was difficult to see where a goal would come from.
In the 62nd minute Slack collected yet another flick from Alsop but was driven wide by Doyle before managing to claim a corner off the Cards’ defender, which Little punched clear.
Three minutes later Bishop’s Cleeve had the chance to double their lead, but a great tackle from McNerney ended Sykes’ charge into the Woking box before he could get a shot away.
At the other end the Cards, now with Ademola joining Faulconbridge and Forbes up front, forced a couple of corners of their own without significantly worrying the home defence. With the Woking midfield producing little, and Tom King in the Bishop’s Cleeve goal having rarely been called into action, it was beginning to look as though this was the end of the road in this competition for another season, and an embarrassing exit to boot.
Then after 79 minutes Woking were handed a lifeline. A mix-up between home defenders Crowford and Pritchett let in Forbes down the right of the penalty area and, with dogged persistence, the Cards’ substitute hooked in a cross from the byline which Faulconbridge, diving in at the far post, directed past King and into the corner of the net to level the tie. It was just reward for Faulconbridge, who had persistently thrown himself at everything pumped in his direction in what, to this point, was looking to be a fruitless and frustrating afternoon.
With Toby Little now on for Hurrell, Woking began to impose themselves more as the home side ran out of steam, Forbes having a shot blocked and, after 85 minutes, McNerney’s curling cross-shot from the right edge of the penalty area hitting the opposite angle of the home goal before bouncing away to safety. A minute later Faulconbridge won a corner and, from Little’s ball in, the Cards’ striker headed just over at the far post.
In the 90th minute, just as the thoughts of both sets of fans were turning towards Monday night’s replay, Faulconbridge struck again, heading an Aswad Thomas cross into the top corner of the Bishop’s Cleeve net to make in 2-1 to the visitors.
With the seconds ticking away there was no way back for the Zamaretto League side, the final chance going to Woking when Ola Sogbanmu, just on for Faulconbridge, was brought down outside the box. Little’s free-kick was tipped over the bar by King and was still in the air when the final whistle sounded, followed by a collective sigh of relief from the Woking contingent.
So, a fortunate and debatably undeserved win in a match that could all too easily have been lost had Bishop’s Cleeve taken their early chances. We’re in Monday’s draw for the 3rd Qualifying Round but will have to play an awful lot better than this if we are to progress any further in the competition.
Woking: Andrew Little, Joe McNerney, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Alan Inns, Adam Doyle, Moses Ademola, Jerome Maledon, Craig Faulconbridge (Ola Sogbanmu 90), Dave Gilroy (Andy Forbes 57), Sam Hurrell (Toby Little 81).
Unused subs: Josh Watkins, Matt Pegler.
Booked: Dave Gilroy, Adam Doyle.
Bishop’s Cleeve: King, Crowford, Pritchett, Davis, Jones, Avery, Gascoyne (Caldwell 73), Sykes (Kennedy 81), Alsop, Slack, Mansell.
Unused subs: Lock, Jackson, Sayce, Skeen.
My MOTM: Craig Faulconbridge (pictured)