Cards deservedly through
8:38pm, Sat 23rd Oct 2010
Woking 3 Eastleigh 2
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
23 October 2010
This game was preceded by a minute’s applause for Colin Lippiatt, whose huge contribution to Woking FC and to other clubs was recalled in the many warm tributes in the matchday programme.
Colin will always be remembered at Kingfield for the vital part he played in the Chapple/Lippiatt glory years of FA Cup, FA Trophy and league success. All Woking fans were hoping that the present team could mark the day, fittingly, with a win that would take the Club once more into the FA Cup 1st Round. The omens weren’t good, given the side’s recent form, but Colin would have been proud of the fighting spirit they showed in coming back from an early goal and, in the end, deservedly taking their place in tomorrow’s First Round Proper draw.
Graham Baker was able to bring Adam Doyle back into central defence on his return from suspension. Jerome Maledon was favoured over Francis Quarm to partner Mark Ricketts in central midfield, with Ryan Blake on the left flank. Elvis Hammond made his home debut up front with Craig Faulconbridge.
Eastleigh were quicker off the mark than their hosts and were rewarded with a goal with only two minutes gone. Richard Gillespie’s curling effort from distance, beating Andy Little’s dive to his left, was well executed but the Woking defence was at fault in allowing him the space to turn and shoot. The only consolation for Woking fans was that the goal had come so early that there was virtually the whole of the match still to try to retrieve the game.
Woking continued to live a little dangerously as, a few minutes later, Gillespie attempted to help a centre on over Little. Fortunately, he did not get enough elevation and the Woking keeper had a comfortable save.
Gradually, the Cards began to get back into the game and it soon became clear that their ace in the pack was the in-form Moses Ademola on the right flank, who seemed to be able to skip past the somewhat lumbering Eastleigh defenders at will. Elvis Hammond too drew an early foul from Tom Jordan, which earned the Spitfires defender a yellow card. Mark Ricketts was working hard in midfield and Craig Faulconbridge was also doing a lot of chasing up front.
Woking’s first chance to level the scores came in the 13th minute when Moses Ademola rose to glance a header just over the bar. The tricky Woking wide man was soon in action again, beating his man and putting a cross just behind his team mates, while Elvis Hammond was just beaten to a through ball by the Eastleigh keeper.
Woking perhaps needed a stroke of luck in this tie and it certainly came in the 20th minute. As the ball dropped around the Woking penalty area it was hooked onto the post and then rolled along the goal line before being cleared. Not many Woking fans would have given much for the Cards’ chances at two-nil down.
Perhaps Woking sensed that the gods might be with them after all as they worked hard for an equaliser. Ademola teased the Eastleigh defence in the penalty area before pulling the ball back intelligently to Jerome Maledon. Jerome’s side-footed attempt to place the ball just inside the post was only a fraction out. But the Cards did not have long to wait for what was becoming a deserved equaliser. On the half-hour mark Ademola did superbly to break through two defenders and then skip over another tackle before playing the ball inside to Maledon. The Woking midfielder did not connect properly but his shot crept in off the post to level the scores at 1-1.
Woking came close to taking the lead shortly afterwards when Faulconbridge’s flick released Hammond down the left. A slightly heavy first touch from Ricketts just enabled the Eastleigh keeper to block his shot from the resulting cross, with the ball spinning up and away for a corner.
The visitors briefly threatened with a header before, in the 41st minute, Ademola produced another piece of magic to earn the Cards a half-time lead. Turning inside quickly on receiving the ball, he steered an awkward diagonal cross through the Eastleigh defence towards the far post, where Faulconbridge had the relatively simple past of knocking the ball past the keeper.
Half-time: Woking 2 Eastleigh 1
It seemed unlikely at half-time that there wouldn’t be more goals in this game, with both defences looking a little vulnerable, and so it proved. Woking came close initially through Hammond as he tore into the box on the Woking left but the angle was too tight to beat the keeper. Almost immediately Eastleigh broke down their left, with ex-Card Jamie Slabber picking up the cross and making space for himself to shoot through defender and keeper to make it 2-2.
Ademola was nearly able to respond immediately when a long high ball came to him from Aswad Thomas. But, with only the keeper in front of him, he wasn’t able to bring it down and the chance was gone.
Eastleigh battled back and for a while it looked as though they were more likely to take the lead again. Gillespie had a snap shot which went wide and then another effort was messily cleared over the bar. Anane broke clear at pace but his pass to Ademola simply played his team mate into the hands of the Eastleigh defence. The visitors pegged the home side back again for a while before another break saw Blake lob a short ball through to Hammond, with an Eastleigh defender hammering his attempted clearance against one of his own players.
In the 66th minute, though, the pace of the Woking attack caught out the slow-moving opposition defence again. Ademola played the ball over a defender for Hammond. The defender’s attempted clearance rebounded off Hammond’s body and he was able to race on into the area and lift the ball over the Eastleigh keeper for his first goal for the Club. Ironically, it looked as though Gilroy had been just about to come in his place: a change duly made some ten minutes later.
Could Woking hold on to their lead? Andy Little worried home fans with a loose throw-out but more than made amends shortly afterwards with a brave punch clear from a free-kick. Ricketts, meanwhile, had produced a very respectable low drive which fizzed wide of the post.
Eastleigh threw on two tall substitutes and it was pretty clear that their game plan was now to throw as many crosses as possible into the Woking box. But the Cards came close to extending their lead in the 79th minute. Two good crosses from Blake saw Faulconbridge mis-direct a header before Thomas flicked the ball just over the bar. Ademola then had a fierce shot blocked as the Woking fans in the LGS finally came to life. As Eastleigh threw more men forward, more opportunities for quick breaks fell Woking’s way, but Gilroy wasn’t able to get enough height as he tried to chip the Eastleigh keeper from the edge of the area.
Graham Baker brought Francis Quarm on for Ricketts and Alan Inns on for ‘man of the match’ Ademola as he sought to hang on to a vital win. His hard-working side had to deal with a few more free-kicks – and on one occasion Little had to punch clear after Thomas was beaten – but they managed to prevent Eastleigh from getting any real momentum and the final whistle brought a deserved, and very welcome, victory and a place in tomorrow’s cup draw.
Let’s hope that this win – and in particular the three goals scored – produces a confidence boost that can carry over into the Cards’ league form, starting next Saturday at Hampton and Richmond.
Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts (Francis Quarm 80), Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Moses Ademola (Alan Inns 84), Jerome Maledon, Craig Faulconbridge, Elvis Hammond (Dave Gilroy 76), Ryan Blake
Unused subs: Matt Pegler, Ola Sogbanmu, Sam Hurrell, Josh Watkins
Booked: Jerome Maledon
Sponsor’s MOTM: Moses Ademola (pictured)