Boz's Fruit & Veg

Cards disappoint in big derby game

Brian Caffarey
8:07pm, Sun 28th Dec 2014
Woking 1 Aldershot Town 2
28 December 2014

One of the things that Woking fans most respect about Garry Hill is that he doesn’t try to pull the wool over their eyes. We could all see that this was a very poor performance and Garry said so, very plainly, after the game. The scoreline might suggest that this was a close-run encounter but Woking were never in this match. The Shots looked livelier and more committed while Woking, for whatever reason, looked sluggish and desperately short of ideas and confidence. It was only in the last ten minutes or so when Jack Marriott pulled a goal back that the Aldershot goal came under any sort of pressure: before that the Shots keeper, Dan Thomas, replacing the suspended Phil Smith, had only a couple of shots to deal with.

The Cards’ lacklustre showing was all the more surprising since there was only one change from the side that had performed well on Boxing Day in gaining a 2-2 draw at Eastleigh, with John Goddard coming in for Theo Lewis, who dropped to the bench, in a continuing 4-5-1 formation. The Shots meanwhile had suffered their fourth league defeat in a row at home to Barnet.

Woking got off to the worst possible start, conceding a goal as early as the 7th minute – and it was a very ‘soft’ goal to give away. Andre McCollin, on the Woking right, clipped the ball in with the outside of his boot with no great pace. However, Ross Worner, playing his last game of his second loan spell, seemed to be distracted by an attempted header and the ball trickled into the far corner.

Little did we know that Chris Arthur’s fierce drive in the 12th minute would be virtually Woking’s only shot on target before the final flurry. Thomas, who put most of his early kicks into touch, briefly fumbled it. Gez Sole legitimately went for the loose ball. The Aldershot players over-reacted, with the result that Gez and Sam Hatton picked up early yellow cards.

Inevitably, the early goal seemed to lift the Shots, while Woking looked increasingly at sea, giving the ball away far too easily, being outmuscled in midfield and lacking invention in attack. The Shots threatened again through a deep cross, which just evaded Brett Williams, and then the speedy Jordan Roberts flashed an effort just wide of Ross Worner’s right-hand post. The impressive Dan Holman, seizing on a poor crossfield pass from Joey Jones, then fired in a long-range shot which landed on top of the Woking net.

Dean Morgan, the only player who looked as though he might trouble the Shots’ defence, did actually get another effort on target shortly afterwards but it was a comfortable save for Thomas.

Adam Newton came on to replace the unhappy Joey Jones, who had been penalised twice for foul throws, but had barely got on the pitch before Aldershot doubled their lead in the 28th minute. A cross came in which, perhaps, Worner should have come for. Brett Williams headed it goalwards. Worner got his hand to it but could only tip it onto the bar, presenting Williams with a simple tap in.

Jordan Roberts charged forward again in search of a third goal, with Dan Holman just putting his effort wide. At the other end a rare Woking foray into the opposition area saw Jack Marriott attempt to chip Thomas but the ball sailed a couple of feet over the bar.

The Shots continued to dominate the midfield, while the Shots’ defence managed to cope comfortably enough with balls sent forward to the Woking front men, who were often too easily dispossessed. Home fans’ hopes were raised by the award of a free-kick just outside the area but it was too close for Gez Sole to do other than hit the wall. Injury time simply added to Woking’s sense of frustration as, in a brief period of sustained Woking pressure, the referee ignored a good ‘shout’ for a penalty and then stopped the game, to the Cards’ disadvantage, as an Aldershot player lay injured in the area.

Half-time: Woking 0 Aldershot Town 2

Kevin Betsy came on at half-time for John Goddard but was able to make little impact, being closed down very quickly on most occasions when he did receive the ball. Hopes of a Woking revival soon evaporated as a litany of misplaced passes and wasteful, ineffective, possession followed. With the Cards unable to gain any momentum, reliance had to be placed again on a Gez Sole free-kick but, as before, the foul was too close to the goal and Gez couldn’t lift his effort over the wall. Just occasionally, the Cards threatened to break through from the odd Dean Morgan flick-on or Chris Arthur surge but Thomas in the Shots’ goal had barely anything to do apart from holding a weak Betsy left-footed effort.

The Shots, for their part, looked as though they might add to the scoreline with a quick breakaway – with Kieran Forbes hitting the side-netting in the 72nd minute – but, on the whole, seemed content to defend their two-goal lead.

The Cards were definitely ‘lifted’ by the arrival of Scott Rendell, replacing Gez Sole, as he began to win a few balls in the air. A corner produced another shout for a penalty in the 80th minute as a Joe McNerney header came off a defender’s hand and then Jack Marriott managed to get his toe to a through ball, slipping it under the keeper but wide of the goal.

Woking managed to pull a goal back in the 88th minute, Jack Marriott deflecting the ball past Thomas after a Josh Payne cross had looped off a defender.

The Cards ramped up the pressure for the remainder of the game, which included four minutes of added time, but they could not create a clear-cut opening which would have provided them with – in truth – an undeserved share of the points.

As Garry Hill said after the game, the Cards have ‘lost their way’ in the last month or so and this was a particularly disappointing performance in front of a large crowd: it’s hard to think of any Woking player who played to their potential this afternoon and, collectively, there seemed to be a lack of real grit and determination to make things happen.

Woking: Ross Worner, James Clarke, Joe McNerney, Joey Jones (Adam Newton 26), Chris Arthur, Jack Marriott, Keiran Murtagh, Josh Payne, John Goddard (Kevin Betsy 46), Giuseppe Sole (Scott Rendell 70), Dean Morgan

Unused subs: Jake Cole, Theo Lewis

Goal: Jack Marriott 88

Booked: Giuseppe Sole

Aldershot Town: Dan Thomas, Joe Oastler, Chris Barker, Sam Hatton, Brett Williams, Jaydon Gibbs, Jordan Roberts, Kieran Forbes, Andre McCollin (Dan Fitchett 80), Manny Oyeleke, Dan Holman

Unused subs: Anthony Tonkin, Tristan Plummer, Naby Diallo, Tom Derry

Goals: Andre McCollin 7, Brett Williams 28

Booked: Jaydon Gibbs, Joe Oastler, Jordan Roberts, Sam Hatton, Dan Holman

Sponsors’ MOTM: Jack Marriott (pictured)

Attendance: 3556 (746 away fans)

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