MKJ Group

Rooks gunned down

Brian Caffarey
9:47pm, Sat 26th Feb 2011
Lewes 0 Woking 4
26 February 2011

Most Cards fans regard a trip to Lewes as one of the best outings of the season: we usually win, it’s a lovely town to wander round and a couple of pints (or more) of Harvey’s will induce a sense of well-being even if the football were to disappoint. (Any inaccuracies in this report are also to be ascribed to the lovely brew.)

All expectations were fulfilled in ample measure this afternoon as the Cards, backed by an impressive away following, won in a canter, notching up their sixth successive league win, with fourteen goals scored and none conceded. Andy Little didn’t have a save to make the entire afternoon. His powder blue kit was as pristine at the end as at the beginning: no need to wash it before the Fleet arrive on Tuesday evening.

In the absence of Reiss Noel, Ricky Anane reverted to right back but it was otherwise the same side that started the second half at Maidenhead United, with Craig Dobson on the right flank. The players took the field in bright sunshine but the black clouds looming over the Downs soon rolled in, scattering spectators from the open terraced banks to the covered stand behind the goal which the Cards attacked in the first half.

The game started in a very lively and open fashion. Adam Doyle – who subsequently didn’t put a foot wrong – allowed a through ball to bounce (and hit his chin!), opening up a shooting chance which rattled the outside of Little’s post. In the 5th minute Dobson slid a pass into Elvis Hammond’s path on the right of the box. An uncharacteristically weak shot from the normally lethal striker presented the keeper with a comfortable save. A minute later Hammond seized on a long ball but saw his shot blocked. Then it was his turn to lay on a chance for Dobson but, with defenders closing him down as he neared the far post, he shot wide with the aid of slight deflection. The burst of spurned chances continued as Lewes put another effort high and wide.

Kieran Murtagh and Jay Davies – who, between them, dictated play for most of the game – then began to take charge as the match settled down. But it was Hammond, in the 14th minute, chasing down a long ball, who brought about the opening goal. Forcing the keeper into a hurried clearance, the ball ricocheted off a defender, looping up into the air and coming down near the far post, where the advancing Dobson slammed it high into the net for his first goal for the Club.

With Woking now in complete control, the second goal soon followed. A through ball from Hammond, splitting the Lewes defence, set up a race between Dobson and the Lewes keeper. The pacy Dobson was too quick for his opponent, nicking the ball round him and then calmly controlling it before passing it into the empty net for his second goal of the afternoon.

The Cards continued to work hard against a Lewes side who often looked overwhelmed. At the back Doyle and Joe McNerney dealt decisively with any balls pumped hopefully forward, when not allowing them to run through harmlessly to Little. Mark Ricketts charged around, breaking up play. Murtagh, all silky skills, and Davies, forever running, controlled the midfield, sweeping the ball out to willing runners in Dobson, Anane and Moses Ademola, while Hammond was always looking to get on the end of balls threaded through.

A lovely pass from Davies to Hammond in the 28th minute looked for a moment as though it had set up the third goal but the linesman’s flag intervened – much to Hammond’s annoyance: dissent which earned him a booking. More link-up play between the same pair a couple of minutes later saw Hammond’s effort saved.

It was all one-way traffic apart from a Lewes shot well over the bar. Davies made a clever run from right to left across the face of the box but seemed reluctant to try his left foot for a shot, his eventual strike being blocked.

As the torrential rain ensued, the Cards continued to play passing football, including a delightful ‘nutmeg’ from Hammond, before going off to warm applause.

Half-time: Lewes 0 Woking 2

The second half was almost too easy for Woking, making it difficult to keep up the tempo of the first period. Even so they were too quick and skilful for a game but limited Rooks side. With the game played out almost exclusively in the Lewes half, it seemed just a matter of time before a third goal materialised, although, perhaps because they’d taken their foot off the pedal a bit, the Cards created fewer openings than in the first half.

Ademola side-footed over just after the break and Anane tried a long-range effort not long afterwards. The one potentially dangerous Lewes attack was snuffed out in the end by Murtagh, anticipating the danger and inserting his body between attacker and the ball – epitomising a great team performance.

In the 62nd minute Dobson, down the right, opened up a chance on goal for Hammond but the latter’s shot, from a tight angle, found the side-netting. He was then replaced by Ollie Palmer – we hope in order to rest him for Tuesday rather than because of any injury.

Ademola was now finding increasing amounts of space down the Woking left as the Lewes defenders tired – in contrast to the youthful enthusiasm of Palmer as he chased every ball.

Midway through the half a superb passing move, starting right at the back, ended with Ademola curling a shot round the far post. Two minutes later another admirable move produced the third goal. Aswad Thomas fed Ademola down the left flank. He passed inside to Murtagh, who struck a fine, low effort into the far corner.

The purple patch continued with a splendid fourth goal just two minutes later. Murtagh freed Ademola once more as Thomas made an excellent surging run in the inside channel. Picking up Ademola’s pass, Thomas swept the ball, left-footed, into the corner to make it 4-0.

The final ten minutes of a very one-sided game saw the Cards continue to press forward – not at full throttle but still energetically enough to create more chances and half-chances. McNerney headed a corner down and up over the bar and Palmer’s snap shot went only narrowly wide.

This was another hugely impressive display from Garry Hill’s side. Confidence is clearly sky high, with everyone eager to get on the ball. There is a really nice balance to the side now and it’s a joy to see the players persevere with passing football.

Bring on Ebbsfleet and Farnborough!

Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Craig Dobson (Craig Faulconbridge 71), Kieran Murtagh, Moses Ademola, Elvis Hammond (Ollie Palmer 63), Jay Davies (Charlie Turnbull 80)

Unused subs: Matt Pegler, Dave Gilroy

Booked: Elvis Hammond, Moses Ademola

My MOTM: Kieran Murtagh (pictured)

Attendance: 834

P.S. Make sure you’re at Kingfield on Tuesday evening when the Cards take on Ebbsfleet United!

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