Superb win for Cards

Brian Caffarey
9:19pm, Sat 23rd Apr 2011
Farnborough 1 Woking 2
23 April 2011

Garry Hill had targeted seven points from the Cards’ last three games but I suspect that not many Woking fans had believed that three of them would come from this trip to second-placed Farnborough. But Garry’s side had other thoughts and, from the kick-off, seemed much more determined than their hosts, taking a deserved lead midway through the first half through Elvis Hammond (pictured), adding to it soon after the break with an own goal and then having to hang on rather nervously at the end after Farnborough had pulled a goal back in the 82nd minute. This great result restores the Cards to fifth place. They now need to beat Weston-super-Mare at home on Easter Monday before seeing what result they need at Ebbsfleet next Saturday.

Missing Adam Doyle and Reiss Noel, Garry recalled Alan Inns from his loan spell at Boreham Wood – and what a superb decision that turned out to be. Inns proceeded to play a ‘blinder’, winning virtually every header and tackle and getting my nomination as ‘man of the match’.

Those who hadn’t been to Farnborough’s ground for a while probably found it hard to believe they were at Cherrywood Road, with an impressive stand largely finished behind one goal – and partially in use for the first time today – and other improvements in evidence. (I’m sure they don’t really need Darlington’s old stand too!)

There was an excellent turn-out from Woking fans on a warm afternoon. A welcome bit of cloud cover came over just before the kick-off and, much to everyone’s surprise, some wet stuff fell – in large tropical drops! – after the interval.

The Cards looked much the sharper side from the kick-off, with Moses Ademola getting a decent effort in as early as the fourth minute whilst, by way of contrast, McMahon over-hit the home side’s first free-kick straight out of play.

Inns, not content with dominating defence, then got some sort of contact on a cross, seeing the ball spin away for a goal kick. Michael Doughty, showing some excellent composure on the ball in midfield, made a nice crossfield run, slipping the ball into Elvis Hammond’s path but the Woking striker’s shot was just wide.

Farnborough had a couple of forays forward around the ten-minute mark, with one causing some nervousness in the Woking defence as the ball travelled across the area but the Cards were soon on the attack again, with a header from Inns, who, however, could not get any purchase on his effort.

At this stage, Woking were inclined to try to hit the front men too quickly, with several balls travelling straight through to Jordan, the Farnborough keeper.

The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute when Doughty hooked a superb ball over the defender and into Hammond’s run into the left of the Farnborough area. Hammond nudged the ball on and then deftly lifted it just wide of the advancing keeper, seeing it roll just inside the far post in front of the ecstatic Woking contingent behind the goal.

The home side gradually clawed their way back into the game but found it hard to get past the industrious Mark Ricketts in midfield and the stalwart defending of Inns and Joe McNerney at the back. A fluent Woking move in the 24th minute involving Craig Dobson, Ricky Anane and Elvis Hammond ended with Hammond shooting over but he’d already been flagged for offside. Ten minutes later Malcolm made a fine run into the box but was just thwarted and then McNerney made a crucial tackle on the half-way line as Farnborough broke quickly upfield.

After Doughty had been fouled Dobson tried to go for the top corner but his free-kick was well over the bar. At the other end, Inns blocked an attack but confusion followed as Anane nearly played Farnborough in accidentally.

From a Woking standpoint, it was now mainly a matter of getting to half-time with their lead intact. The burly defender Smith, up for an attack, swivelled but shot high over the bar. Aswad Thomas foiled another attack with some decisive defending in the corner. Another Farnborough free-kick briefly threatened but two home players got in each other’s way and the ball went harmlessly through to Andy Little. Inns and McNerney did their bit too to get the Cards safely through to half-time.

Half-time: Farnborough 0 Woking 1

Only five uneventful minutes into the second half the Cards doubled their lead. Andy Burgess curled in a free-kick from way out on Farnborough’s left flank. It was hard to see quite what happened as the keeper went for the ball. In any event he failed to take it, with the ball carrying on into the net. I was expecting the referee’s whistle to go for a foul – not that I’d seen one – but instead an own goal was awarded to give the Cards a 2-0 lead!

It now looked a long way back for a Farnborough side who, subconsciously, seemed to have settled for a play-off place rather than believing that they could still challenge Braintree for the title. Nevertheless, Malcolm went close in the 60th minute when some clever play round the box opened up a shooting opportunity, with his chipped effort going narrowly wide. Dobson almost gifted Steve King’s side a goal as his very rash flick as the Cards broke from defence let Binns in on goal but, fortunately for Dobson and Cards fans, he shot wide. Dobson soon found himself replaced by Nathan Koranteng but whether this was as a result of his ‘howler’ wasn’t clear.

By now the referee was adding names to his note-book with questionable frequency as Ricketts joined Anane on a yellow card along with several home players. Others were to follow.

As Farnborough pressed forward there looked to be chances for Woking to grab a third goal but no decisive openings materialised, although Ademola had a decent effort on target after robbing a defender. Farnborough looked intermittently dangerous as they moved the ball quickly around the edge of the Woking area but a brilliantly-timed tackle by McNerney averted the most pressing threat.

As the game moved into the last ten minutes of normal time it was beginning to look as though the Cards would claim a fairly comfortable win but an excellent, clean strike from MacDonald from the edge of the area in the 82nd minute – which gave Little no chance at all – presaged a nerve-wracking finale for Woking fans, exacerbated by the five minutes of added time. The Cards sought to use up time by keeping the ball in the Farnborough corner for as long as possible but McMahon volleyed over from one attack and, in injury time, a header went over the bar, with Little off his line. But by and large some steadfast Woking closing-down and tackling kept the hosts at bay, with the final whistle being greeted with jubilation by Woking fans.

Garry has now got to drum into his players that this terrific win will be no use at all if we don’t beat Weston-super-Mare on Monday!

Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Alan Inns, Craig Dobson (Nathan Koranteng), Andy Burgess, Moses Ademola (Ollie Palmer), Elvis Hammond , Michael Doughty

Unused subs: Dave Gilroy, James Walker, James Pullen

Booked: Ricky Anane, Mark Ricketts, Nathan Koranteng, Ollie Palmer

My MOTM: Alan Inns

Attendance: 1879

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