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The Cards celebrate 124 years in style!

David Richardson
10:20pm, Sat 5th Nov 2011
Woking 3 Havant and Waterlooville 0
Blue Square Bet South
5 November 2011

Woking celebrated their 124th Birthday on Firework Night in fine fashion. 124 years ago today in 1887 Woking played Chertsey in their first-ever game and won. Today Woking played Havant and Waterlooville in their sixteenth league game of the season and completed another excellent victory. As the referee blew the final whistle, fireworks rose into the night sky above Kingfield where more than 1600 fans witnessed another sparkling performance from Woking. Manager Garry Hill spoke afterwards about his team's “great run� in the league in that Woking have now picked up an incredible 39 points from a possible 48.

Hill made two changes to the Woking team that beat Truro 4-1 last weekend, Nathan Koranteng dropping to the bench and a flu-struck Elvis Hammond didn’t feature in the squad. Dale Binns, who had recovered from his injury that ruled him out of the trip to Truro, came in at left midfield and Wayne Gray partnered Paris Cowan-Hall(pictured) up front.

Havant and Waterlooville named the same team that beat Farnborough 5-0 last Saturday. Ollie Palmer, a familiar face to Cards fans, started up front for the Hawks. Palmer had scored seven goals in five games since he joined Havant from Woking and, although he had never scored a first team goal at Kingfield for Woking, he had spoken beforehand about how he was determined to break his “duck�.

Havant and Waterlooville kicked off attacking the Leslie Gosden Stand. Heavy rain the night before meant the ball zipped off a greasy Kingfield surface and this caused the opening ten minutes to be scrappy. In the early exchanges the Hawks' number nine, Scott Jones, forced a corner from Woking’s defence but it was cleared by Alan Inns. Moments later another corner for Havant was awarded, this time it was cleared by Woking’s right back, Adam Newton.

Woking tried to get a foothold in the game through Cowan-Hall. However, his surge forward and then pass couldn’t find Moses Ademola on the right-hand side. Havant’s left back Jon McDonald caused slight problems in Woking’s defence with his long throw and Steve Ramsey forced a comfortable save from Cards' goal keeper Aaron Howe, who Garry Hill signed from the Hawks during the summer. It was from that save that Woking had their first chance of the game in the twelfth minute.

Howe’s long kick forward found the head of Cowan-Hall, who flicked the ball on to his strike partner, Gray, down the middle of the pitch but unfortunately he couldn’t make the right contact with the ball, under pressure from Havant defender Ryan Woodford.

Up the other end, a corner for Havant resulted in a shot from the edge of the Woking penalty area only to land in about row P of the LGS. Cowan-Hall then had a shot blocked that looked destined for the back of the Hawks' net.

Havant were forced into a making a change in the seventeenth minute. Striker Sammy Igoe hobbled off to be replaced by Harvey Whyte. A minute later, a flowing seven-man move by the Cards ended in Jay Davies firing over. Immediately afterwards, Palmer had his best chance of the match. A scrappy piece of play down Havant’s left-hand side found a low cross, pulled back to Palmer, for him to only make very slight contact with the ball following good closing-down from Inns. He will know only too well that he should have scored.

Moses Ademola, up the other end, saw his well-hit shot blocked but soon afterwards Woking had their best chance of the half. Some quick passing ensued between Binns, King, Cowan-Hall and Doyle, who then found himself in Havant’s penalty area. The defender pulled the ball back to Gray, eight yards out, whose left-footed effort was blocked on the line by Hawks' captain Chris Holland and then gathered in by keeper Lyall Beasley in the 24th minute.

Woking probed again from a Davies corner, which found the head of Inns, whose effort was dealt with easily by Beasley. A shot from Perry Ryan was caught by Howe and a corner taken by Ramsey was cleared by Woking’s defence.

Cowan-Hall, running through the middle of Havant’s defence, forced a good save from Beasley. However, Paris was judged to have fouled Paul Hinshelwood in the process. Cowan-Hall was involved again in another chance for Gray which was similar to one earlier. His flick-on to Gray sat up nicely for him but Beasley saved well.

Woking would have felt hard done by not to be ahead at the break.

Half time: Woking 0 Havant and Waterlooville 0

Like the home game against Weston-super-Mare last Monday evening, the Cards came flying out of the blocks and this time it instantly paid off. A clipped ball forward by Jack King found the run of Gray, who finished under the on-rushing Beasley. A deserved goal for Woking. As Woking boss Garry Hill said afterwards, “Once we scored they had to come out and attack and that left more openings�.

It was then a question of whether Havant would buckle after Woking’s early second-half goal. Palmer suggested they wouldn’t with a header minutes later which was saved by Howe. However, Ademola thought differently. Some clever play on the right side from Moses saw him pull the ball back to Gray to finish for his second goal inside seven minutes in the 52nd minute.

Havant looked to get back into the game immediately when Steve Ramsey swung in a free-kick from the right, which met the head of Palmer, which was brilliantly tipped over by Howe who had barely anything to do all game. Cowan-Hall responded to this with a long-range shot that went just over the far post’s top corner. Paris had another shot from range but Beasley saved it well down low. Havant got a free-kick right on the edge of Woking’s penalty area due to handball but Ramsey’s fierce effort hit the wall.

Every time Woking went forward they looked like they were going to score and Cowan-Hall nearly did. The ball was worked well out to the left-hand side to Binns, whose cross-cum-shot was nearly latched onto by a sliding Cowan-Hall.

Davies was taken off in the 70th minute and on came centre back Joe McNerney, allowing captain Mark Ricketts to move into midfield alongside King. Palmer was then taken off two minutes later and was greeted with a round of applause from Woking fans when he went to warm down by the corner flag.

In the 73rd minute Woking got their third. A brilliant strike from Cowan-Hall from at least 25 yards flew into the top left-hand corner with Beasley only managing to get fingertips on the ball. Three points were in the bag for Woking.

Woking continued their pressure. Doyle back-heeled a pass to Paris on the left-hand side, who played the ball across the pitch to King. He then found Ademola, whose cross was deflected just past the back post.

Garry Hill then took off Doyle for Derek Duncan and Ricketts for Giuseppe Sole. Three corners in a row for Woking threatened but came to nothing. Sole then nearly supplied Gray with his hat-trick goal. He crossed the ball in from the right-hand side to the back post to the arriving Wayne Gray, who headed just wide.

A few half-chances for Havant were dealt with and then the referee blew the final whistle.

Overall, it was another impressive performance from Woking. They would have been disappointed not to be leading by one or two at half time but were rewarded with a very good second-half performance. It was important that Woking won today as Sutton, Welling, Chelmsford, Dover and Dartford all won. Therefore with Woking’s three points today they maintain their gap at the top. Garry Hill said afterwards that, “he was delighted with the team's performance�. He spoke about the strength of his squad and how they were “all playing a part�. The team can now enjoy a well-deserved day off. As for Hill, who is doing such an outstanding job at Woking, he will spend the afternoon at White Hart Lane watching Spurs play Fulham.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Alan Inns, Mark Ricketts (Giuseppe Sole 84), Jay Davies (Joe McNerney 70), Adam Doyle (Derek Duncan 81), Paris Cowan-Hall, Jack King, Moses Ademola, Wayne Gray, Dale Binns.

Unused subs: Nathan Koranteng, Andy Little

Havant and Waterlooville: Lyall Beasley, Paul Hinshelwood, Jon McDonald, Steve Ramsey, Chris Holland, Ryan Woodford, Craig Braham-Barrett, Perry Ryan, Scott Jones (Lee Peacock 65), Sammy Igoe (Harvey Whyte 17), Ollie Palmer (Vincent Pericard 72).

Unused subs: Sam Pearce, Jake Newton

Booked: Jon McDonald 61

MOTM: Paris Cowan-Hall

Attendance: 1655

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