MKJ Group

Woking draw blank again

Alan Worth
8:47am, Wed 24th Aug 2011
Eastleigh 0 Woking 0
Blue Square Bet South
23rd August 2011

A second goalless draw on the spin, this was another frustrating night for the Cards. Against an Eastleigh side that had yet to register a point in their first three games, Woking failed to break the deadlock and struggled to get in behind the Spitfires’ defence particularly in the first half.

Woking lined up as they had on Saturday apart from one enforced change. An unwell Derek Duncan was replaced at left back by loan signing Mike Cestor with the returning Adam Doyle partnering Joe McNerney in the centre of defence.

Eastleigh started with two former Cards’ players, Jamie Slabber up front with Andy Forbes playing in a rather more unaccustomed role in the back four.

On a grey and overcast night that felt more like November than August, Woking made a bright enough start with Hammond chipping the ball in from the right but just over Gez Sole’s head and Mike Cestor storming forward from the back. And it was Sole who had the first opportunity inside the first ten minutes. Ademola’s reverse played Gez in but, from a tight angle, Barfoot beat his shot away at the near post.

The half now settled into a pattern that was to be maintained for much of the game as Woking generally relied on getting the ball forward quickly to an often-isolated Elvis Hammond. Alternatively the long balls out of defence were quickly returned as Eastleigh’s defence coped easily with Woking’s game plan.

In fact it was the home side who gradually worked themselves into the game and created their first good chance when a clearance from a White cross found its way to Bottomley. His goal bound shot was deflected away for a corner.

After thirty minutes Gez Sole had an opportunity with a free kick but from twenty-five yards he blazed his effort well over. This was quickly followed by some excellent work down the left as Sole, Binns and Hammond combined. Just as it seemed that Elvis would get in behind the defence he was ruled offside in what looked like a tight decision.

A final Woking effort of the half came with Hammond brought down close to the touchline. From the resulting free kick a back post header knocked the ball out to Jack King whose rasping volley was just over.

The Cards had been unable to impose themselves on the half and despite plenty of possession their long ball approach was dealt with comfortably by the home side. For their part the Spitfires had also failed to create a great deal with the Cards also solid at the back.

Half-time: Eastleigh 0 Woking 0

As the second half progressed so Woking became more dominant but still found it difficult to break down the Spitfires. Ricketts flicked on an early free kick from Newton but it fell harmlessly to Barfoot. A neat flick from McNerney over the top almost fell for Sole but the pass was just too strong. Then a Gez Sole free kick to the far post was headed down by Doyle for McNerney only to stab the ball just wide.

Eastleigh had their moments also. Holder-Spooner, on as an early substitute for the injured Bottomley, crossed from the left and White was in on goal after a slip by Doyle. Andy Little was on hand however to make a good save from the forward’s close range effort.

More Woking pressure followed but without any end product and despite the encouragement of the travelling Cards’ fans behind the Spitfires’ goal. Cestor and Binns set up a Gez Sole effort but his shot was well wide. Hammond continued to work hard and finally managed to wriggle up the bye line past defenders but he his final shot was weak and wide.

On seventy minutes a Gez Sole corner from the left was met perfectly by Joe McNerney. His strong downward header was goal bound but unfortunately hit Hammond and was deflected wide when it looked as if the Cards must score.

The game was now beginning to open up as both sides looked to find that elusive goal and the three points. With ten minutes remaining came two chances in quick succession. First Gillespie was in for Eastleigh after a cross from the right. The striker looked to have scored as his shot was deflected but rolled towards the far post. Little got down however and managed to make a good save. Immediately play switched to the other end and Elvis Hammond was one on one with the Eastleigh keeper. He managed to get round Barfoot but did not get enough on his shot and the hosts managed to scramble the ball clear.

Two more efforts followed for the Cards. First a great run from Sole down the left flank saw him set up substitute Wayne Gray but his shot again hit the luckless Hammond. Paris Cowan-Hall, also a late substitute, then had a fine long-range effort turned away low down by a diving Barfoot. From the resulting corner an Ademola header flashed into the side netting.

It was now all Woking but they were almost caught cold in time added on. Sam Wilson, a sixteen-year-old substitute, came close to snatching all three points for the hosts. The Woking defence, appealing for an offside that wasn’t given had stopped but the youngster carried on and curled a great shot inches over Little’s bar.

Finally one last chance for Woking as Gez Sole took a free kick from twenty-five yards out but it was comfortably saved by Barfoot.

The final whistle was greeted with great celebration from the home fans as Eastleigh secured their first point of the season. For Woking it was a case of two points dropped as they slip down to fifth position in the table.

Woking: Andy Little, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Giuseppe Sole Jack King, Moses Ademola, Elvis Hammond (Paris Cowan-Hall 84), Dale Binns (Wayne Gray 73)

Unused subs: Nathan Koranteng, Jay Davies, Aaron Howe

Booked: Adam Doyle 16, Mark Ricketts 22

Eastleigh: Gareth Barfoot, Andy Forbes, Frankie Raymond, Jamie Brown, Tom Jordan, Ross Bottomley (Holder-Spooner 43), Andrew White (Sam Wilson 12), Danny Smith, Jammie Slabber, Richard Gillespie, Henrik Breimyr

Unused subs: Ben Wilson, Andy Cashin-Murray, Jack Vallis

Booked: Danny Smith 30, Henrik Breimyr 53, Frankie Raymond 72

MOTM: Mike Cestor – a second assured performance from the loan signing this time at left back and on a night when few members of the squad really shone.

Attendance: 665

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