Cards share points

Brian Caffarey
11:00am, Wed 23rd Nov 2011
Woking 1 Chelmsford City 1
22 November 2011

Honours remained even at Kingfield yesterday evening as the Cards and the Clarets retained their respective unbeaten home and away records. Neither side could really complain about the result. City took the game to the home side in the first half after falling behind in the 23rd minute to an Adam Doyle header from a free-kick, equalising through Parker in the 36th minute. Woking developed more attacking momentum in the second half but found themselves up against a well-organised, robust defence. The battle will be resumed on Saturday at the Melbourne Stadium in the FA Trophy.

Garry Hill started with the same line-up as against Havant and Waterlooville and Dover Athletic. It was plain from the outset that City were not one of those sides who had come to ‘park the bus’ at Kingfield, clearly confident in their own attacking abilities. They fashioned the first chance as early as the second minute, forcing Aaron Howe to tip away a header, followed by a long throw which went right across Woking’s area.

The Cards responded with Jack King pinging a great pass out to Moses Ademola, whose flighted cross just eluded Paris Cowan-Hall near the far post, with Wayne Gray subsequently volleying wide.

Woking’s game plan seemed to be to get the ball forward quickly to Gray and Cowan-Hall but it soon became apparent but they were well shackled by a City defence, ably led by Kenny Clark, which was not slow to make its physical presence felt.

The flow of the game, and the temper of the home crowd, wasn’t helped by a referee who blew his whistle frequently while seeming surprisingly lenient in penalising some of the foul play.

After the initial few minutes Woking had more of the attacking play but without gaining real fluency. However, a nice move between Doyle, Dale Binns and King saw the powerful midfielder blast an effort wide from 30 yards.

The Woking goal came from one of several ‘clatterings’ endured by Jay Davies. Adam Doyle got goal-side of the defensive wall as the ball was flighted in from the free-kick, guiding his header expertly beyond Stuart Searle and into the far corner.

City responded energetically and soon seemed to be winning more of the midfield, where King and Davies began to look out-numbered. Howe was forced to punch clear and then save from Cornhill. More pressure followed from a corner and a free-kick before Parker spurned a glorious chance to equalise in the 35th minute. The Woking defence was caught upfield as an attack broke down, leaving no cover on its right flank. As the ball came across from there Cornhill had an open goal facing him but managed to put the ball wide.

The reprieve was very short. A minute later Adam Doyle, more tested than of late in the left-back position, was beaten and, as the ball was played in, the Woking defence failed to clear it, with Parker sweeping the ball home in a fine finish.

Both sides fashioned some decent moves leading up to half-time but the Cards’ attack continued to be frustrated by City’s robust defending. City’s best move came when Cornhill scampered past several Woking defenders before shooting high. In injury time Howe and Mark Ricketts had an uncomfortable moment on the edge of the area, with Howe having to punch clear a short-range back header.

Half-time: Woking 1 Chelmsford City 1

Garry Hill cannot have been very happy with the way things had panned out in the first half and it was no great surprise to see Derek Duncan drafted in to fill the left-back slot, with Adam Doyle moving to centre back, allowing Mark Ricketts to bolster the midfield in place of Jay Davies. Elvis Hammond came on too, replacing Paris Cowan-Hall, who had been outmuscled by Clark.

Initially, the Cards found it difficult to develop any great attacking momentum, with the final pass too often going astray or Hammond being caught offside. But Ademola, looking the most dangerous of the Woking attackers, began to see more of the ball and, by the 60th minute, the Cards had begun to apply some concerted pressure on the Clarets’ goal, winning a number of corners.

A superb Ademola cross produced an almighty scramble just in front of the goal line, with the referee mysteriously awarding a free-kick to the visitors before the denouement. Some lovely interplay between Ademola and Adam Newton produced another corner, leading to a Binns pass to Gray, who swivelled to shoot straight at the keeper. The next corner saw a Doyle header blocked, with the same fate befalling an Alan Inns header a few minutes later. A Binns through ball to Hammond saw him just foiled by a combination of Clark and keeper Searle.

But it was far from all one-way traffic, with Chelmsford passing the ball confidently in midfield and always looking as though they had the potential to break through themselves.

In the 77th minute Garry Hill made his final throw of the dice, bringing on Ola Sogbanmu for Gray. But it was Chelmsford who looked more dangerous at this stage. The impressive Miller ran through a posse of Woking defenders before being thwarted. Howe was forced to tip clear for a corner and a free-kick was deflected up and over the bar.

With the game on a knife edge, Woking threatened again, with Ademola shooting just over after he had fooled a Chelmsford defender with his clever footwork. A final Woking corner raised hopes again but this time Derek Duncan was unable to get the ball past the first defender. There was still time for another scrum in the Chelmsford area from a back header and for Howe to punch clear at the other end.

This was the toughest home game the Cards have experienced so far. Chelmsford are clearly a physically strong, capable side, with ability in defence, midfield and attack. The ‘return leg’ on Saturday in the FA Trophy should be another intriguing contest.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Jay Davies (Derek Duncan 46), Mark Ricketts, Alan Inns, Adam Doyle, Paris Cowan-Hall (Elvis Hammond 46), Jack King, Moses Ademola, Wayne Gray (Ola Sogbanmu 77), Dale Binns.

Unused subs: Andy Little, Giuseppe Sole

Booked: Alan Inns 82, Moses Ademola 90

Sponsor’s MOTM: Adam Newton (pictured)

Chelmsford City: Stuart Searle, Justin Miller, Aiden Palmer, Adam Tann, Kenny Clark, David Rainford, Warren Whitely, Sam Corcoran, Kezie Ibe, Max Cornhill, Craig Parker

Unused subs: Michael Bakare, Ben Nunn, Joe Benjamin, Jermaine Brown, Mark Haines

Booked: Sam Corcoran 66

Attendance: 1558

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