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Cards head out of the FA Cup

Andy Turner - 27th October 2013

Cards head out of the FA Cup Woking 0 Luton Town 1
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
26th October 2013

Woking failed to make it past the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup for the second consecutive season, again losing 1-0 at home to a fellow Skrill Premier club. A spirited opening by the Cards did not bring the goal that was needed and a single headed goal by Mark Cullen in the first half was enough to win it for the Hatters.

Woking started with Sam Beasant in goal, Joe McNerney and Jack Parkinson in the centre of defence with John Nutter and Adam Newton either side of them. Captain Mark Ricketts and Josh Payne were in the middle of midfield with John Goddard and Kevin Betsy out wide. Gez Sole replaced the unavailable Scott Rendell up front with Gavin Williams filling in the hole.

In a scrappy opening, neither side showed much fluidity with a number of passes going astray. Woking gained a couple of early free kicks with fouls on Williams and Betsy but they failed to trouble the Luton defence. The first incident of note was in the seventh minute when Luton’s Shaun Whalley went down in the box under a challenge from Parkinson. The referee appeared to point to the spot but in fact gave Woking the free kick and cautioned the Hatters player for simulation. Luton were starting to look more dangerous now with Whalley and Mark Cullen starting to cause the Woking defence problems. Whalley was released clear down the left but McNerney cleared the danger. Luton then gained a corner but Anthony Charles headed just wide. Woking hit back and a neat move between Nutter, Sole and Goddard saw the latter drive into the box only for his shot to be blocked. On the quarter hour, Luton’s Jake Howells was released down the left-hand channel and into the box but his shot was saved well with his legs by Beasant. After twenty-five minutes, Woking went close to opening the scoring when Williams whipped in a dangerous cross which Sole got a head to but his effort went agonisingly past the post.

Three minutes later saw arguably the defining moment of the match for Woking. Williams passed to Goddard who failed to control the ball but a challenge from a Luton player sent the loose ball conveniently into the path of Sole. He broke clear of the Luton defence but, with only the 'keeper to beat and with Kingfield holding its breath, he shot high and wide and Woking’s one real opportunity to take control of the match disappeared. This was to prove costly as a few minutes later Luton took the lead. A promising move for Woking involving Betsy and Adam Newton was broken up and Luton swiftly transferred the ball down the other end only for Jack Parkinson to clear for a corner. Luton’s Dave Martin whipped in the corner and Mark Cullen headed the ball home unopposed to give Luton the lead.

Woking hit back well. Gez Sole wriggled clear of the Luton defence only to be hauled down by Anthony Charles, who received a yellow card for the challenge. John Nutter took the free kick into the area and the 'keeper did well to hold onto the ball at the first attempt. Sole and Betsy then combined down the right, allowing the latter the space to cross in towards Goddard but the ball struck a couple of Luton defenders before rather luckily bouncing into the keeper's arms. Woking were finishing the half on top and it took an excellent full-length save from the Luton 'keeper to deny Josh Payne's superbly struck pile-driver from twenty yards.

It had been an evenly contested first period and Woking could consider themselves unlucky to be going into the break trailing.

Half-time: Woking 0 Luton Town 1

Woking started the second half kicking towards the Gosden Stand and Kevin Betsy was soon in the action when he cut into the box and brought a good save from the 'keeper down to his left. Luton swiftly counter-attacked but the move was broken up by a neat piece of skill by Josh Payne who coolly controlled the ball inside his own penalty area, looked up and sent a superb ball upfield to release Gavin Williams. He made progress into the Luton area but shot over.

On the hour, the visitors almost extended their lead. Parkinson was dispossessed by Shaun Whalley, who raced into the Woking area only for the home defender to redeem himself with an excellent challenge to block the Luton player’s cross. On sixty-seven minutes, Anthony McNamee replaced John Goddard and was soon in the action as he combined well with Sole to release Betsy down the right whose tantalising cross was cleared at the expense of a corner by the Luton defence. With time ticking away, Woking pushed for that elusive equaliser by replacing Williams with new recruit Craig Sutherland, a young forward who has been training with Glasgow Rangers. Joe McNerney was also moved up front and it was the defender turned striker who looked most likely to achieve a breakthrough in the dying minutes but his efforts on goal were blocked by the efficient Luton defence. Somewhat surprisingly, the fourth official indicated that there would be an additional six minutes of play. However, Woking rarely threatened during this added-on time and Luton held onto their one goal lead to progress to the 1st round proper of the FA Cup.

Woking had shown plenty of energy and commitment and some good, incisive play on occasions. On another day, they might well have snatched a victory but, rather worryingly, they again failed to find the net against Skrill Premier opposition. At least Scott Rendell will be available again next Saturday for the potentially tough home encounter against promotion hopefuls Grimsby Town.

Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Jack Parkinson, Josh Payne, John Goddard (Anthony McNamee 67), Giuseppe Sole (George Frith 80), Gavin Williams (Craig Sutherland 72), Kevin Betsy.

Unused subs: Aaron Howe, Will Salmon, Niall Wright, Reece Beckles

Cautions: None

Luton Town: Elliot Justham, Jonathon Smith, Steve McNulty, Anthony Charles, Jake Howells, Dave Martin (Andre Gray 72), Mark Cullen, Shaun Whalley, Matt Robinson (Andy Parry 77), Ronnie Henry, Paul Benson

Unused subs: Solomon Taiwo, Mark Tyler, Alex Wall, James Stevenson

Cautions: Anthony Charles, Shaun Whalley, Paul Benson

Attendance: 1452

Sponsor's Man of the Match: Sam Beasant - another assured display from the Woking 'keeper.
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