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Superb Cards notch five

Brian Caffarey - 13th August 2011

Superb Cards notch five Sutton United 0 Woking 5
13 August 2011

The cries of ‘champions, champions!’ were perhaps a little (!) premature, but Garry Hill’s side sent out the clearest possible message this afternoon with this crushing defeat of Sutton United. The scoreline didn’t flatter the Cards - had they taken more of several excellent chances in the first half, the margin could easily have been eight goals.

Missing Jay Davies and Ola Sogbanmu, Garry Hill started with Andy Little in goal, the expected back four of Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle and Derek Duncan, a central midfield of Jack King and Mark Ricketts, with Gez Sole in ‘the hole’ and Moses Ademola and Dale Binns flanking Elvis Hammond.

The hundreds of Woking fans didn’t have long to wait to celebrate as the Cards took the lead with only a minute on the clock. King – a powerhouse in defence and up front as well as in midfield – played a quick ball into Hammond’s path in the inside right channel. His cross landed perfectly at the feet of Binns at the far post to slot home comfortably.

Ademola, who clearly had the beating of his opposing full back, now took a prominent role. Having nearly slipped a ball through to Hammond, he did brilliantly to rob a defender out right and put in a pinpoint cross to Binns, who put a free header wide.

There was a brief flurry of corners from the home side before Hammond and Ademola resumed their tormenting of the Sutton rearguard. The elusive Hammond went on a wonderful run, slithering past defenders and breaking through attempted fouls before finally seeing his cross blocked.

Woking should have added to their single goal lead in the 23rd minute when a quick throw-out from Little sent Ademola away. He played a fine crossfield ball to King but the latter’s shot bobbled wide.

Ricketts – whose success in breaking up opposition play provided an important foundation for this win – then smacked a header against the crossbar from one of Sole’s many dangerous corners, with a follow-up shot also being blocked.

The Cards were frustrated again in the 41st minute when Ademola sent Hammond down the left. The Woking striker looked to have an unpromising angle for a shot but managed to rattle the outside of the post.

By this point there was a little apprehension on the part of Woking fans that their side’s dominance was still only reflected in a single goal lead – and Sutton duly sounded a warning note just before half-time. Leroy Griffiths’s awkward, low cross was palmed away by Little – making his first save of the game – and he did well to grab the loose ball before any damage was done.

Ademola nearly nabbed the long-awaited second goal in injury time, instantly controlling a pass from Duncan and jockeying a defender to force a fine save from the home keeper.

Half-time: Sutton United 0 Woking 1

No doubt the Woking management team emphasised at half-time the need to put the game beyond the home side’s reach as quickly as possible. An immediate response came from Sole, piercing the Sutton back line with a determined, enterprising run, only to be foiled by the keeper.

But, four minutes into the half, the Cards fashioned a superbly-constructed goal. Duncan and Binns combined cleverly down the left. Binns cut inside and slipped the ball to King, who had made an intelligent diagonal run into the left of the area. His cross to the far post was met by Hammond, who chipped the ball into the roof of the net. A contender for ‘goal of the season’ in the very first game!

Hammond and Ademola continued to threaten, prompted by King and Sole. A cute pass from King sent Ademola down the right. His shot appeared to be stopped by the hand of a diving defender but the referee waved away the Woking appeals for a penalty.

The game was wrapped up in the 58th minute. A long ball from McNerney found Ademola deep in the left corner. As he crossed to the near post Sole nipped in to divert the ball adroitly into the net.

Garry Hill now had the opportunity to rest his two strikers, with new signing Paris Cowan-Hall and Wayne Gray taking over. However, there was no diminution in Woking’s attacking intent. Cowan-Hall followed up Gray’s downward header by wriggling through, only to see his goalbound shot deflected for a corner.

Sutton had intermittently threatened to pull a goal back and came closest in the 81st minute when Kavanagh planted a free-kick just wide, with Little stranded.

Gray then latched onto Cowan-Hall’s flicked-on header, taking the ball wide of the keeper, who nevertheless recovered sufficiently to save his shot.

Little did well to tip Dundas’s over-head kick over the bar before the Cards finished with a flourish. In the 89th minute Sole made another determined run through the home back line. Initially blocked by the keeper, he managed to get in a shot from an acute angle. The ball ricocheted off the inside of the far post and rolled over the line on the other side of the goal.

The Cards’ fifth goal – and the one that puts them top of the table on a day when Dover, Tonbridge Angels and Dartford notched four each – owed much to King’s nous in finding space down the right, from where he whipped in an excellent cross to Gray. The keeper got a hand to his header but Cowan-Hall was on hand to nudge it over the line.

Of course, it is early days yet but Woking’s performance today fully justified the optimism felt by many fans about this season’s campaign. The defence will have to prove that it can withstand greater pressure than Sutton were able to muster but there is no doubt that there is huge potential further forward to dominate games and score plenty of goals.

Woking: Andy Little, Adam Newton, Derek Duncan, Joe McNerney, Mark Ricketts, Jack King, Giuseppe Sole, Dale Binns (Nathan Koranteng 73), Elvis Hammond (Wayne Gray 66), Moses Ademola (Paris Cowan-Hall 63)

Unused subs: Aaron Howe, Charlie Turnbull

Booked: Adam Newton, Derek Duncan

My MOTM: A tough choice between Jack King and Moses Ademola, with Mark Ricketts not far behind, but King gets my vote for sustaining his performance over 90 minutes plus.

Attendance: 1200

P.S. Don’t forget that the Cards are at home to Hampton and Richmond Borough at 7.45pm on Tuesday 16 August 2011

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