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Cards end season on a high

Ben Mitchell - 1st May 2016

Cards end season on a high Woking 2 Eastleigh 1
Vanarama National League
Saturday 30th April 2016

Today's game heralded the completion of another long season and Woking were determined to end it on a high.

Two goals from Keiran Murtagh and John Goddard in as many minutes in the first half sealed a well deserved win for the Cards, mathematically ending Eastleigh's slim chance of qualifying for this year's play-offs.

Matt Tubbs' deflected goal from former Woking player Josh Payne's 35-yard volley did give Eastleigh hope late on, but they were unable to create any further clear-cut opportunities to claim an unlikely point.

The first half had no hint of an end of season dead rubber with the away side pressing hard to try and grab a quick goal to put the pressure on their promotion rivals, and within the first five minutes Eastleigh fans thought they had taken the lead. A sharp cross from the left hand side was only partially cleared by the fist of Woking 'keeper Jake Cole and was soon lofted back into the 6-yard box. After a short goalmouth scramble Eastleigh's Jai Reason wheeled away in celebration having stabbed the ball into the back of the net, only for the linesman to signal that he had been offside.

That touch of good fortune appeared to light a fire under the home side, who were soon on the attack with increasing regularity down the wings with Chris Arthur and Bruno Andrade using their pace to good effect.

Soon it was Woking who took the advantage when a break from Arthur culminated in a low whipped cross into the box. The ball evaded the onrushing Giuseppe Sole but Eastleigh goalkeeper Ross Flitney was unable to gather cleanly and Murtagh was on hand to gleefully smash the ball into the net from close range for the opening goal.

The Eastleigh team had barely processed the enormity of the task facing them when the Cards struck again. An Eastleigh penalty claim was waved away by referee Wayne Barratt and the home side swiftly set up a counterattack. A long ball was sent through to Andrade who was clear through on goal when he appeared to be impeded by the last man in Eastleigh's defence. Woking played on, however, and Matt Robinson took one touch to control the loose ball, looked up and curled a cross round the back of the rapidly back-pedalling Eastleigh defence for Goddard to side foot home at the back post from 8 yards to extend his side's lead with only 15 minutes played.

It was indeed the two goal scorers who now began to take the game by the scruff of the neck as they controlled play in the midfield area.

Murtagh seemed to be displaying an array of tricks and skills to evade defenders, one saw him run the ball through his legs and with his back to goal slip a pass between two players into the path of Sole, who brought a sharp stop from Flitney.

The visitors were unable to create more than a handful of opportunities in the first half, the best of which came from Ross Lafayette's bobbling attempt from outside the box which was smothered well by Cole diving low to his left.

Half-time: Woking 2 Eastleigh 0

With the visitors now needing to score five times to have any hope of play-off qualification, you would have expected them to come out of the tunnel with all guns blazing.

Instead, it was the home team who continued their fine work from the first half with Sole and Murtagh combining well with a one-two which cut open the Eastleigh defence only for the sliding intervention of Paul Reid to prevent a third Woking goal.

Sole did find the back of the net shortly afterwards only to be denied by an offside flag before the visitors finally sparked into life, albeit by using route-one tactics as they began lofting balls into the Woking 6-yard box forcing several corners and half-chances. The closest they came to reducing the arrears, however, was a diving header from Tubbs, which he could only glance wide of goal.

Eventually, Eastleigh did get themselves back into the game with a quarter of an hour remaining - and a fortunate goal it was too. Payne stunned a fizzing, long-distance volley into a crowded penalty area which ricocheted off Tubbs and slowly bounced past a despairing Cole into the Woking net.

With 15 minutes to go until the full-time whistle, neither side really looked as if they were going to capitalise on any of the slim chances they were managing to create for themselves, with the ball being raced from one box to the other like a pendulum.

Aside from a late goal line scramble where three Woking defenders seemed unsure which of them wanted to launch the ball to safety first, the game was comfortably and deservedly won by the home side.

Garry Hill had spoken mid-week of his hopes that the Cards would be able to finish in the top half of the table, and indeed they did just that, ending the campaign in 12th place courtesy of this victory and defeats for Bromley and Lincoln City.

Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice, Chris Arthur, Mark Ricketts (c), Brian Saah, Joey Jones, Keiran Murtagh, Giuseppe Sole (Daniel Carr 76), John Goddard (Godfrey Poku 87), Mathew Robinson, Bruno Andrade (Cameron Norman 80)

Unused subs: Nick Hamann, Alex Smith

Yellow card: Keiran Murtagh 77

Goals: Keiran Murtagh 13, John Goddard 15

Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Joe Partington, Michael Green, Will Evans, Paul Reid (Lee Cook 46), Yemi Odubade, Josh Payne, Jai Reason, Ross Lafayette, Matt Tubbs, Matthias Fanimo (Jack Midson 58)

Unused Subs: Ben Strevens, Michael Poke, Dan Harding

Yellow card: Lee Cook 72

Goal: Matt Tubbs 74

MOTM as nominated by match sponsor Peacock Build and Maintenance: Giuseppe Sole (pictured)

Attendance: 1,853
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