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Brian Caffarey - 4th August 2008

What a contrast with Saturday?s disappointing performance against Brentford! Admittedly against a youthful, and not very impressive. Saints side, the Cards provided a feast of fast, attacking football which had the Kingfield crowd purring with pleasure and positively ?ole-ing' in the second half as pass after pass sliced open the Southampton defence. Obviously, Alty will be a very different proposition but if the Cards can play with the zest, pace and skill they showed this evening, surely they will get some reward?

The pace and quick feet of Manny Williams (pictured) and Liam Marum, prompted intelligently by Paolo Vernazza in a forward midfield role, and with excellent support from the skilful Abdou El Kholti on the left flank and Matt Pattison also in midfield, created openings right from the start. Liam found himself in scoring positions several times in the opening minutes and should have put at least one away as he allowed the Saints keeper to smother the ball after being put through. Vernazza, Pattison and El Kholti also had early attempts on goal

At the back the central defensive pairing of Tom Hutchinson and the experienced Colin Miles looked solid. But they did not have it entirely their own way as a clever chip from Sam Argent clipped the outside of Ross Worner?s post.

Liam Marum?s best effort came midway through the half, with a fine curling shot which went just wide, whilst the ball wouldn?t come down quickly enough for Paolo Vernazza, whose shot accordingly went over the bar.

The Saints came very close to opening the scoring but the impressive Patrice Mondon-Konan managed to slide in to divert the ball from the line after the defence had been well breached.

The Cards then went straight up the other end and scored the goal their pressure had been threatening but which looked as though it might not come. The move began with Vernazza cleverly making space for himself before feeding El Kholti. His pass saw Manny Williams bearing down on the Saints defence. Manny wrong-footed a defender and then finished superbly, curling the ball past the keeper to make it 1-0 to the Cards.

Following another splendid bit of defending from Mondon-Konan, the Cards made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time. The ball came loose to Matt Pattison on the edge of the box and he drove it low and hard into the back of the Saints? net. Celebrations were cut short after the assistant referee flagged, presumably for offside, although there appeared to be a Saints player on the line. The referee consulted his colleague and awarded the goal. Surprisingly vociferous protests followed from the young Saints as their keeper, Tommy Forecast, pursued the referee to the centre spot, apparently claiming that he had been obstructed. All to no avail as the goal stood.

Half-time: Woking 2 Southampton XI 0

The Cards pushed even further forward early in the second half and the game became largely one-way traffic as Kim?s side attacked relentlessly and at speed. There were so many moves to admire that it is impossible to give a full account of them all. One in particular, towards the end, must have involved some twenty passes, finishing only with a headed clearance for a corner. It was a delight to watch.

Kim started to ring the changes from the 63rd minute onwards, and we saw two excellent low crosses from the pacy Joel Ledgister, now on the right flank, which caused havoc in the Saints defence. His deep crosses, though, tended to drift out. Goma Lambu too looked lively on the other side and had a couple of decent efforts on goal.

Woking deserved a third goal and it came in the 76th minute from Tom Hutchinson as he glanced in a fine corner from Paolo Vernazza. Woking continued to press against, by this stage, a rather demoralised Saints side. The Woking team?s performance ? and his own ? was capped in the 90th minute by a very classy goal from Paolo Vernazza. Cleverly making space for himself on the edge of the box, he feinted, created an opening and then ?passed? the ball beyond a confounded Saints keeper.

The final plaudit went, though, to Ross Worner, a spectator for most of the half, who produced a smart save to keep a blank sheet.

Well, we all know Alty will play it very differently on Saturday: there certainly won?t be as much space in midfield as the Saints allowed. But it was very encouraging to see such excellent passing football played at pace. On this showing, Kim will surely want to bend over backwards to recruit Paolo Vernazza, and Colin Miles must also be a firm target. There was much to admire elsewhere in this Woking side, not least a very lively display from Manny Williams, who looks as though he could do very well if given sufficient support. Liam Marum too played with great purpose in the first half and just needs to improve his finishing to be a major force.

Woking: Ross Worner, Patrice Mondon-Konan (Matt Gray, 79), Tom Hutchinson, Colin Miles (Paul Lorraine, 63), Danny Bunce, Kunle (Jerome Maledon, 79), Paolo Vernazza, Matt Pattison (Bradley Quamina, 67), Abdou El Kholti (Goma Lambu, 63), Liam Marum (Joel Ledgister, 63), Manny Williams (Delano Sam-Yorke, 63)

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