MKJ Group

Cards gain comfortable Trophy win

Brian Caffarey
8:37pm, Sat 11th Dec 2010
Harlow Town 0 Woking 2
FA Trophy 1st Round
11 December 2010

The Cards reached the last 32 of the FA Trophy competition with a fairly comfortable win over Harlow Town this afternoon. A good first-half performance saw Graham Baker’s side, containing new signing Joe Keehan and Academy graduate Anson Cousins in place of the injured Aswad Thomas, take a 2-0 lead in the first 18 minutes but, typically, the second-half performance was less commanding, although the Cards dug in well to repel the home side’s attempted fight-back.

The sides took the field at Harlow’s neat new, well-appointed, ground on a comparatively balmy afternoon and there was one very familiar face in the opposition’s red shirts: former Kingfield favourite, Steve Ferguson.

Joe Keehan was pushed forward just behind Elvis Hammond (pictured) and made a promising debut, especially in the first half, when his neat touches and flick-ons created several openings, while also providing a bit of physical support for Elvis. The latter showed his trickery early on, wriggling past two defenders on the bye-line to draw a foul. With three minutes gone, an early chance went begging, as Cousins headed intelligently across the box into Moses Ademola’s path but Moses put it wide. Lee Sawyer was also caught by the linesman’s flag as he attempted to profit from Mark Ricketts’ header.

Another decent chance fell to Woking in the 8th minute. Cousins made an excellent run into the box out left to meet Ademola’s cross but, in attempting to loop his header over the keeper, put it over the bar.

The Cards continued to look dangerous up front as Hammond was just caught offside from a Sawyer pass but had a warning at the other end as Ferguson flicked the ball past Adam Doyle and put in a fine cross, which Ricky Anane cleared.

But in the 14th minute the Cards took the lead, a fine move ending with Ademola picking out Hammond in the box and the striker poking into the corner of the net.

Four minutes later the Cards doubled their lead. Hammond, so difficult to dispossess when on the ball, played a neat pass into Keehan. The new signing cleverly stepped back across the defender instead of shooting and was almost inevitably brought down for a certain penalty. The keeper went the right way but Hammond’s strike arrowed into the corner to make it 2-0.

The home side tried to bounce back but, although Andy Little was called into action on a couple of occasions, the linesman’s flag had already intervened. Woking’s central back three of Joe McNerney, Alan Inns and Adam Doyle looked very solid, as they were to do all afternoon.

A third goal would have sealed the game for the Cards and provided a comfortable afternoon for a change but, as the first half wore on, chances became fewer and the home side got more into the game. Midway through the half, though, Keehan attempted a chip after the ball had been played back to him following a corner but the effort was well over. Cousins fired a low effort wide after Ricketts had sent a back header to him in the left of the area, and Hammond blazed over after Keehan had opened up the defence.
Another excellent move involving Keehan, Cousins and Ademola ended with Sawyer’s shot being deflected for a corner.

Harlow came within a whisker of pulling a goal back in the 37th minute. A deflected ball through the middle suddenly saw Peagram yards clear of the Woking back line. He went round Little but McNerney, racing back, brilliantly cleared off the line.

Harlow continued to give as good as they got leading up to half-time but the Cards went into the dressing rooms with a well-deserved 2-0 lead.

Half-time: Harlow Town 0 Woking 2

Cards fans are used to a slow start in the second half and today was no exception. A brief opening flurry saw McNerney have a shot blocked and Hammond tackled on the edge of the box as he attempted to let fly but the momentum soon lay with Harlow as they made a concerted effort to get back into the game, with the diminutive, but skilful, substitute David Cowley posing a particular threat with his good delivery from free-kicks and economical use of the ball. Reece Yorke headed over from one of Cowley’s free-kicks and then Little was forced to tip the ball over the bar from another, followed by a decisive clearing header by Inns from the resulting corner.

Stubborn defending gradually took the sting out of Harlow’s attempted resurgence and the game became more even-handed, if a little sterile, with few chances being created at either end. For the home side, Cowley had a deflected shot saved by Little in the 59th minute, while Ricketts volleyed over the bar after the ball had been played back out to him from a corner. Sawyer went on a long run out of defence down the Woking left, shrugging off defenders, before Cousins side-footed to the keeper.

By now Keehan had dropped back and Ademola was playing in a more forward role supporting Hammond. But it was a defender, Doyle, who had the next effort on goal, letting fire from distance and sending his effort narrowly wide,

As the game moved into the last quarter of an hour Harlow threw on substitutes, while Ademola shot low and Inns fired over the bar. Graham Baker responded by bringing on Jerome Maledon for Sawyer and Dave Gilroy for Ademola.

The two substitutes were immediately in the thick of the action as Maledon surged into the box, setting up Gilroy, but although the striker netted, the linesman’s flag ruled out the effort. Gilroy continued to find useful space down the right as, first, a cross was blocked and then a shot was deflected for a corner.

With five minutes to go Craig Faulconbridge came on for Hammond but the closest we came to another goal was up the other end as Inns did well to stick a leg out to divert a dangerous cross up and over the bar. A final effort from the home side saw Wheeler head over the bar from a deep cross but the Cards were then home and dry.

This was a professional performance from the Cards, with everyone contributing well in a good all-round, committed display. Even in the second half, when the performance fell away somewhat, the side still looked pretty solid. In the first half in particular Hammond looked very lively and was well-supported by Keehan. Moses Ademola had his moments too and Anson Cousins looked very confident and assured. Alan Inns and Joe McNerney won almost everything in the air at the back and Adam Doyle tackled strongly. Mark Ricketts worked hard as usual in midfield and Lee Sawyer moved the ball around well, especially in the first half. Graham Baker is still looking to see his side dominate a game for 60-70 minutes, rather than 30-45 minutes, but it was, nevertheless, a good win on an afternoon on which it would have been quite easy to have been tripped up.

Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Adam Doyle, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Alan Inns, Moses Ademola (Dave Gilroy 78), Lee Sawyer (Jerome Maledon 78), Elvis Hammond (Craig Faulconbridge, 85), Anson Cousins

Unused subs: Matt Pegler, Charlie Turnbull

Booked: Ricky Anane

My MOTM: Elvis Hammond

Attendance: 324

P.S. Don’t forget that the Cards’ next home game is next Saturday, when St Albans City are the visitors. On Tuesday the Cards travel to Whyteleafe in the Surrey Senior Cup.

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