Cards win Phil Ledger Memorial Cup
9:22am, Wed 25th Jul 2012
Woking 2 AFC Wimbledon 1
24th July 2012
Woking emerged victorious against League 2 side AFC Wimbledon, as goals from Bradley Bubb and Joe McNerney helped claim the Phil Ledger Memorial Cup.
It was another encouraging pre-season display from Garry Hillâ€™s side, who took the lead mid-way through the first half when Kevin Betsy found Bubb unmarked at the back post.
The Cards doubled their lead with a little under twenty minutes remaining as, with a little help from the inside of the post, Joe McNerney headed home Jesse Waller-Lassenâ€™s corner.
Jack Midson slotted away a late penalty for the visitors, but his sideâ€™s late rally failed to deny their hosts a well-deserved victory.
For arguably the first time this year, the Cards began the game with a line-up that could conceivably start their first league game, away at Wrexham in just over a fortnight. This meant a back four of Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Jack Parkinson and Brett Johnson sitting ahead of keeper Aaron Howe, a midfield three of Mark Ricketts, Lee Sawyer and triallist Dean Sinclair, and a front trio of Loick Pires, playing between Betsy (pictured) and Bubb.
Meanwhile, a near full strength AFC Wimbledon brought with them a team that included the likes of ex-Cards defender Curtis Osano, Sammy Moore, Luke Moore and Christian Jolley, all players that have impressed at a higher level.
The game's first chance fell to the Dons after less than two minutes, Jolley finding himself with time and space in the Woking area, before sending his attempted chip high over the crossbar.
A bursting run forward from Cestor ensured the Cards quickly got themselves into a pleasantly high tempo game, as the full back pulled back the ball for Bubb, who could only mis-hit an effort wide from inside the area.
This marked the first of several exquisite passing moves from the home side, who were causing their visitors obvious problems with their excellent ball retention. Moments later, Sinclair also came close to testing AFC Wimbledon keeper Seb Brown for the first time, shooting just over from the edge of the area.
In the end it was good work from Betsy, a thorn in the Dons' side all evening, which provided the breakthrough. Collecting the ball close to the corner flag on the left-hand side, the Woking man turned, looked up and picked out a perfect cross for an unmarked Bubb at the back post. In just two quick touches the winger controlled the ball and crashed a volley into the top corner of the net.
Visiting skipper Sammy Moore came close to providing the ideal response for his side, but his flashing drive, coming after the Cards had failed to fully clear a corner, struck the outside of a post.
Nonetheless, the Cards continued to have the better of the play in the lead-up to the break, with Johnson heading against a post from Sawyerâ€™s free-kick, before the same combination resulted in another header, this time just wide.
Half-time: Woking 1 AFC Wimbledon 0
The Dons introduced Brendan Kiernan at half-time, and it was his arrival that instantly increased the visitors' threat, the winger breaking down Wokingâ€™s right, cutting inside past Newton, and shooting over.
At the other end, Johnson, playing against his former side, met a third free-kick from Sawyer, again heading into the arms of the goalkeeper, while Betsy saw his goal-bound effort blocked by a defender.
The usual array of substitutions came shortly after the hour mark, with the Cards introducing triallists Waller-Lassen and Rene Steer, as well as McNerney, Jay Davies, Giuseppe Sole and Jack Mazzone.
While the fluency of both teamsâ€™ performances predictably diminished due to the introduction of so many new faces, the hosts continued to create chances, and deservedly doubled their lead: McNerney meeting Waller-Lassenâ€™s corner and thumping his header, via the post, into the corner of the net.
Waller-Lassen might have produced a third goal, as a quick turn and pass set Sole through on goal, Brown doing well to deny last seasonâ€™s top scorer with a fine save.
AFC Wimbledon were given a lifeline with ten minutes remaining, as they were awarded a controversial penalty for Betsyâ€™s supposed trip on Kiernan. Midson converted the spot kick, despite Howe getting a hand to his effort, and the striker quickly returned the ball to the half-way line in the hope of claiming what had previously looked an unlikely equaliser.
However, it was the Dons keeper who was soon called into action again, this time to prevent Waller-Lassen from re-establishing the Cards' two-goal advantage, as he bravely sprawled at the feet of the speedy midfielder.
The full-time whistle blew soon after, and Mark Ricketts became the first Woking player to lift the Phil Ledger Memorial Cup, helping erase memories of a 4-0 defeat in the same fixture two years ago.
All in all, it was another very positive night for the home side. The passing, movement and hard-working nature of all those involved in a red and white shirt was a delight to watch, while the remaining triallists involved â€“ Sinclair, Waller-Lassen and Steer did their hopes of a contract no harm.
The Cards travel to Carshalton on Saturday, before visiting AFC Hornchurch in a newly-arranged fixture next Tuesday. Woking will then finish their pre-season commitments by hosting local rivals Aldershot in ten daysâ€™ time.
Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton (Rene Steer* 69), Mike Cestor, Mark Ricketts (Jay Davies 69), Jack Parkinson, Brett Johnson (Joe McNerney 69), Loick Pires (Giuseppe Sole 73), Lee Sawyer, Bradley Bubb (Jack Mazzone 73), Dean Sinclair* (Jesse Waller-Lassen* 64), Kevin Betsy
Unused Subs: Louie Meech, Jordan Carter, Josh Griffiths, George Frith
Goal(s): Bubb 19, McNerney 72
AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Curtis Osano, Aaron Racini, (Mat Mitchel-King 73) Pim Balkestein (Dan Sweeney 59), Jim Fenlon, Frankie Merrifield (Brendan Kiernan 46), Louis Harris, Luke Moore, Sammy Moore, Christian Jolley, Jack Midson
Unused Subs: None
Goal(s): Midson 80
MOTM: Kevin Betsy â€“ Made the first goal with an excellent cross, and had a thoroughly productive evening. Giving away the late penalty was the only blemish on his otherwise fine game.