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Defeat but no disgrace

Alan Worth - 3rd September 2011

Defeat but no disgrace Welling United 3 Woking 2
Blue Square Bet South
3rd September 2011

Woking slipped to their first defeat of the season in this pulsating encounter at Park View Road. On Non-League Day this top of the table encounter was a credit to the Blue Square Bet South with both sides, roared on by a large and vociferous crowd, playing attacking football and going all out for the win.

In the end it was the home side that came out on top and so retain their top spot in the table with an already healthy lead of five points. Woking remain second thanks to Dartford’s slip-up at Basingstoke but should not be disappointed. They dominated the second half and, but for poor defending at set pieces, could have secured at least a draw, which on the balance of play would have been a fair result.

Garry Hill was forced to make one change with Aaron Howe making his first league start in goal after Andy Little had picked up a “niggling” injury that restricted his kicking. Unsurprisingly, the remainder of the team and starting formation, Paris Cowan-Hall up front with Elvis Hammond, was as for the Tonbridge game.

Playing up the slope, it was the Wings who made the brighter start and within minutes it was clear that their very tall side were going to use long balls into the box to set up chances with the hardworking midfield running on to any knock-downs. It was to be a tough first half for the Adam Doyle and Joe McNerney partnership at the back as the height and pace of the Welling attack made it difficult with long balls played forward quickly putting the Cards under immediate pressure.

Welling looked most dangerous from set pieces and after ten minutes they used their first corner of the game to open the scoring. It was a scrambled affair but the tall Ben Martin was finally on hand to bundle the ball home.

However, it didn’t take long for the Cards to equalise and they, in turn, showed that with their pace and prowess with the ball on the ground they could equally create chances. The goal came after a delightful flick from Moses Ademola that put Paris Cowan-Hall in on goal. His raw pace got him to the ball comfortably before the advancing Thomas and his accurate lob nestled in the bottom of the net.

Woking, spurred on by their success and travelling support, began to look more dangerous. A Dale Binns free-kick, after Hammond had been fouled on the bye-line, found a stooping Mark Ricketts but his header was deflected away. Another cross, this time from Joe McNerney, found a leaping Cowan-Hall but his header was wide. The young striker was almost in again after a reverse pass flicked on by Binns but the ball just rolled away from him and down the slope.

But Woking were still struggling with set pieces. A long free-kick, taken by Jack Obersteller from a central position, flicked off the top of McNerney's head but a flying Aaron Howe was just able to turn the ball round the post. But the Cards failed to take heed of the warning. On twenty-six minutes another Obersteller free-kick from well inside the Welling half was again flicked on by a Welling forward and into the path of Jack Parkinson, who made no mistake from close range.

A rather bizarre booking followed as the referee blew up to stop a promising Woking attack only to book Loick Pires who had jumped over the barriers to avail himself of the toilets before returning to the pitch in the same way.

For the remainder of the half Welling continued to look the most likely to score as their midfield continued to work extremely hard in joining the attack and then getting back quickly to stifle any Woking attacks. Pugh had a shot blocked by Adam Newton before Healy had the ball in the net but it was ruled offside. Ademola volleyed wide at the other end before Jack King also volleyed over after good work from Hammond.

Half-time: Welling United 2 Woking 1

A key question for Woking fans would inevitably be whether the Wings could maintain the work rate through the second half. As it transpired, it was the Cards who managed to dominate from the start as the Welling side began to lose their way.

Two minutes after the re-start Woking fashioned an excellent chance. An Ademola shot was deflected to Hammond on the right. His cross back into the box found an unmarked Dale Binns but, with more time than he appreciated, he volleyed his shot well over the bar. A minute later and the wing man had another opportunity but again his volley was off target. Next it was the turn of Cowan-Hall to draw a save from the diving Thomas.

At the other end Doyle was almost caught out by Pires after yet another Welling set piece and Fazakerly saw his long-range free kick fly straight into the arms of Howe.

After an hour Gez Sole replaced Dale Binns as Woking pushed for an equaliser. Ademola headed over from Newton’s cross and a Sole free-kick, looped to the far post with everyone in the box, was scraped away for a corner.

Against the run of play, Welling fashioned a couple of set piece chances – the second bringing them a third goal. First, Woking had Aaron Howe to thank as he made a fine double save after spilling a shot but saving what looked like a certain goal with his feet. But with twenty minutes remaining the Wings looked to have made the game safe.

Parkinson was again free at the far post to head home Fazakerley’s corner. The Cards should have done better. But again they showed great resilience to pull a goal back almost immediately. Ademola’s long cross field ball from the right was chested down by an unmarked Sole, who then drilled the ball into the far corner with his left-foot shot. Game on!

As the home side looked to be hanging on keeper Thomas almost gifted another chance to the Cards as he dwelt on the ball trying to waste a few more precious seconds. It almost cost him. Almost immediately Wayne Gray, on for Hammond, had a great chance but his point-blank header from a Sole cross was straight at Thomas.

As the game moved into the five minutes of added time Woking continued to pile on the pressure. A great cross from Paris Cowan-Hall was cleared almost off the line as Gray closed in. A final Woking corner and the final whistle was blown much to the relief of the Welling fans.

So, Woking just came up short but it was certainly a great attacking effort against a big, strong Welling side. But for the problem with set pieces it might have been a different story but there’s a long way to go yet and the Cards remain in good shape.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Paris Cowan-Hall, Jack King, Moses Ademola, Elvis Hammond (Wayne Gray 74), Dale Binns (Guisseppe Sole 61)

Unused subs: Derek Duncan, Jay Davies, Andy Little

Bookings: Mike Cestor 45, Joe McNerney 55

Welling United: Dan Thomas, Loui Fazakerley, Jack Obersteller, Joe Healey, Anthony Acheampong, Ben Martin, Jack Parkinson (Jordan Johnson 90), Lee Clarke, Luis Cumbers (Zac Attwood 80), Andy Pugh, Loick Pires

Unused subs: Stephen Camacho, Ollie Poole

Bookings: Loick Pires 31

MOTM: Mark Ricketts – a battling midfield performance from the Woking captain.

Attendance: 1214
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