MKJ Group

Cards fall short in local derby

Brian Caffarey
8:56pm, Mon 26th Aug 2013
Aldershot Town 2 Woking 1
The Skill Premier
26 August 2013

Old rivalries were renewed today as the Shots and the Cards took to the pitch at a sunlit EBB Stadium for the first time since Aldershot’s Conference-winning campaign in the 2007-08 season. But the Hampshire side’s historical domination continued as they ran out comfortable 2-1 winners after taking the lead in just 22 seconds. A second goal followed on 19 minutes – it had to be Brett Williams of course, who scored it – and it might have been three but for a much-disputed offside decision by a linesman. Woking pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute after the home side had spurned several opportunities to make the game safe but Garry Hill’s side never really looked like they would share the points.

With Jack Parkinson joining Gez Sole and Josh Payne in the ‘suspended’ group, Garry Hill had one enforced change to make from Saturday’s disappointing defeat at home to Welling United, bringing in Joe McNerney into central defence, but he also chose to move Brett Johnson and Anthony McNamee to the bench, bringing in Mike Cestor to replace the former and Gavin McCallum instead of the latter.

The new central defensive partnership immediately fell asunder as Matt Paterson brushed McNerney’s challenge aside just inside the box and, with no one coming across to make the second tackle, strode on to plant a left-shot wide of Aaron Howe and into the far corner.

Recovering somewhat from this disastrous opening, the Cards proceeded to have their share of possession, with Gavin McCallum looking liveliest at this stage, but without really looking as though they were likely to ‘hurt’ the home side – with the lack of real penetration a notable feature throughout the game. George Bowerman, not looking like a natural ‘target man’, saw very little of the ball up front and was kept well in check by the home defence. About the only ‘scare’ came when a defender headed the ball virtually out of his keeper’s hands from a McCallum cross.

The Cards’ midfield and defence had looked a little vulnerable to pace and this was their undoing in the 19th minute when Oyeleke made a decisive burst past a couple of Woking players, releasing the ball to Paterson out left. His cross was delivered perfectly for Brett Williams, arriving umarked at the far post, to glance home to make it 2-0.

Williams, no doubt determined to prove a point, almost burst through the Woking defence three minutes later but was foiled at the expense of a corner. Initially cleared, the ball was played back in and appeared to come off Cestor, who had mis-kicked, and then on to two Aldershot players, in an offside position, one of whom slotted home. After consulting the linesman, the referee disallowed the goal – much to the ire of the Shots fans.

Woking continued to struggle to carve out any openings, with the best shot of the first half coming from McCallum in the 34th minute, forcing the home keeper into a smart stop at his near post.

Brett Williams had a fierce volley palmed away by Howe two minutes later after a cross had looped over Adam Newton’s head but was off target with another volleyed effort shortly afterwards. Captain Craig Stanley then tried his luck from even further out but Howe was able to hold it. Molesley too had a crack at goal and then nearly succeeded in running through the Woking defence.

In injury time Bowerman won the ball out on the Woking right and fed Gavin Williams but he shot wide.

Half-time: Aldershot Town 2 Woking 0

The Cards looked a bit brighter initially after the break, with McCallum getting in a decent header from a Williams’ corner but, unfortunately, it went straight to the keeper. And there were one or two useful-looking forays down the left flank, although Kevin Betsy was well shackled by the Shots defenders. At the other end, Howe punched clear from a corner.

McCallum, again, forced the keeper into action in the 60th minute, as the latter spilled his fierce effort but no one was near to take advantage.

Martin Rowlands came very close indeed to extending the Shots’ lead in the 63rd minute as he fizzed a free-kick inches wide of Howe’s post.

In the 65th minute Garry Hill brought on Anthony McNamee for Gavin McCallum and Freddie Ladapo for Bowerman. But it was the Shots’ substitute, Aaron Wickham, who had replaced the impressive Paterson, who gained most attention as he proceeded to waste a couple of good opportunities to make the game safe for the home side. Slipped through by Molesley, he had only Howe to beat but shot wide and proceeded to do the same again three minutes later.

Garry Hill then brought on George Frith for John Nutter, moving Mark Ricketts to centre back, with McNerney going up front and Cestor being given an attacking role down the left flank. McNerney showed once again that he offers more than just a physical presence up front. Cestor chipped a ball nicely into the path of Williams in the box. The Shots’ keeper, Morris, came out and, depending on your point of view, either brought down Williams or got a hand to the ball first, with Williams ‘making the most of it’. If it was a gift horse, Williams didn’t look it in the mouth, despatching the penalty well past Morris to make it 2-1. Oddly, the referee didn’t even book the Shots’ keeper.

Wickham might have forestalled any Cards’ revival as he was put through again, but he shot early and straight at Howe. Brett Williams, after an ambitious overhead kick, then slipped past McNerney on the by-line, only to see the ball somehow go straight across the face of the Woking goal without going in.

The Cards tried to summon an equaliser, as Cestor linked up well with Betsy down the left flank but the latter was stalled each time he tried to make progress in the area, with a ‘soft’ penalty appeal cutting no ice with the referee. Four minutes of added time came and went, with the Cards still not looking as though they would find a decisive cutting edge.

So, another disappointing defeat. The Cards largely matched the Shots in the middle of the park, with Lee Sawyer and Mark Ricketts both working well, but they were toothless up front, presenting very little threat, and looked vulnerable at the back. The side could certainly do with the confidence that a three-point haul against Gateshead next Saturday would bring.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, John Nutter (George Frith 70), Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Lee Sawyer, Gavin Williams, Kevin Betsy, Mike Cestor, George Bowerman (Freddie Ladapo 65), Gavin McCallum (Anthony McNamee 65)

Unused subs: Brett Johnson, Sam Beasant

Booked: Mike Cestor

Aldershot Town: Glen Morris, Joe Oastler, Craig Stanley, Jake Goodman, Adam Webster, Martin Rowlands, Brett Williams, Matt Paterson (Aaron Wickham 61), Manny Oyeleke, Chris Barker, Mark Molesley

Unused subs: Jordan Roberts, Jack Maloney, Cameron Brown, Luke Williams

Booked: Joe Oastler, Manny Oyeleke

Attendance: 3138 (652 away fans)

My MOTM: Lee Sawyer (pictured) – busy and unobtrusive in midfield but more often than not the instigator of any promising move and managed to remain calm. Closely challenged by Mike Cestor, who showed real class on the ball at times.

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