The Fleet sink Woking

David Richardson
10:37am, Sun 21st Oct 2012
Woking 0 Ebbsfleet United 1
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
20th October 2012

“It was a bitter pill to swallow beaten at the death�. That was the verdict of Woking boss Garry Hill after Woking conceded a goal in the 88th minute. After a disappointing result in the league last week Woking missed a chance to go through to the first round of the FA Cup and pick up £12500 in prize money on the way. The Cards will be rueing not having taken their chances before Ebbsfleet substitute Moses Ashikodi smashed the ball into the roof of the net as the game drew to a close.

Adam Newton returned from injury as Garry Hill was forced into replacing the suspended Joe McNerney. Newton slotted into right back as Jack Parkinson accompanied Brett Johnson in the middle of the back four. Loick Pires (pictured) came in for Dean Sinclair up front as well as Aaron Howe who replaced Sam Beasant in goal. Woking lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Kevin Betsy playing behind front man Pires, with Bradley Bubb coming in from the right and Gavin McCallum from the left.

Ebbsfleet kicked off the first half with Woking attacking right to left towards the Kingfield Road End. Both teams looked for an early goal with Fleet striker Phil Walsh firing over from long range whilst up the other end Parkinson headed wide from a deep McCallum corner. Ex-Card Liam Enver-Marum tested Howe with an effort which was matched at the other end as McCallum’s strike was gathered by Preston Edwards.

Right-back Craig Stone produced Ebbsfleet’s best chance of the half as his cross, put in at the near post, was headed wide my unmarked midfielder Neil Barrett in the 8th minute.

However, it was Woking who were having the better of the ball with Woking midfielder Lee Sawyer in outstanding form. He sprayed a forty yard pass across the pitch to Newton on the right, who surged forward, played a one-two with Pires and hit a first time shot towards the far post that clipped the cross bar and went behind. It was a delightful move and showed just how well Woking can pass and play stylish football.

Woking pushed forward, enjoying greater possession of the ball, but couldn’t quite find the killer pass for a breakthrough. Enver-Marum’s flick from an in-swinging corner almost caused some problems for the Woking defence but the ball was deflected away before he was then through on goal, following an incisive pass from Tom Phipp. This time his smart finish was ruled out as he was originally in an offside position.

For the remainder of the half it was largely one-way traffic towards the Ebbsfleet goal. Sawyer tried to find a way through the Fleet defence with a mazy run, Pires just couldn’t connect with a header from a dangerous McCallum cross and Betsy and Pires combined well to lay off captain Mark Ricketts with a shot from range that just went wide. Bubb had one of Woking’s better chances in the 34th minute but his side-foot strike was straight at Edwards. Claims for a Woking penalty were heard moments later after Bubb’s poked effort towards goal hit an Ebbsfleet defender's arm.

Walsh almost headed the visitors into the lead with their last chance of the half but the thankful Howe watched the ball fall past his far post. Phipp’s free-kick to the right of the Woking penalty area didn’t trouble Howe’s goal as referee Nick Kinseley brought the first half to a close.

Half-Time: Woking 0 Ebbsfleet United 0

Woking would have liked to have started the second half as they finished the first. However, Enver-Marum’s fierce shot just went over and Woking also had to deal with a dangerous Walsh header and a shot from the same player that was also just over. Pires, who was leading the front line well, holding the ball up, laying it off and winning headers, had a sight of goal but his effort went over the bar in similar fashion. Bubb then saw two efforts fly over the bar before Ricketts saw his long-range effort do the same.

Sawyer continued his good standard of passing, swinging the ball out to the left-hand side for Betsy, whose strike at goal was saved. Minutes later Betsy, involved again, cut in from the left-hand side and ran across the edge of the penalty area, fed Pires through but his effort on his weaker right foot was skewed wide. Pires this time turned provider as he cushioned the ball down for McCallum to have an effort which was deflected into the side netting.

With Woking getting much the better of Ebbsfleet, Liam Daish decided to make a change bringing on forward Ashikodi for Enver-Marum. As the sun started to go down and the clouds rolled in on an overcast afternoon the game turned a bit scrappy with both teams desperate for control of the ball.

Two further substitutions from Ebbsfleet in the 81st and 86th minutes confirmed their desire to win the game, which is exactly what happened in the 88th. A cross in from the left was met with force from a Fleet forward, Howe was on hand to keep it out of the Woking goal. The ball fell to Ashikodi to fire into the roof of the net. A devastating blow for the Cards.

Woking threw everything forward in the hunt for a late equaliser but Ebbsfleet did enough to see the game out and must be given credit for their performance. Garry Hill said afterwards that, “he couldn’t fault his players’ effort but felt they hadn’t created as many opportunities as he would have liked�.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Mark Ricketts, Loick Pires, Jack Parkinson, Bradley Bubb, Kevin Betsy, Lee Sawyer, Brett Johnson (Brett Williams 90), Gavin McCallum

Unused Subs: Adam Doyle, Dean Sinclair, Sam Beasant, George Frith, Louie Meech

Caution: Mike Cestor 38

Ebbsfleet: Preston Edwards, Craig Stone, Patrick Ada, Phil Walsh (Nathan Elder 81), Paul Lorraine, Liam Enver-Marum (Moses Ashikodi 73), Tom Phipp, Joe Howe, Neil Barrett, Liam Bellamy, Lanre Azeez (Ben Greenhaigh 86)

Unused Subs: Lucas Menz, Adam Williams, James Folkes, Sam Akinde

Caution: Joe Howe 7, Liam Bellamy

Sponsors MOTM: Loick Pires

Attendance: 1272

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