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Cards fail to rise to the occasion

Brian Caffarey - 4th December 2016

Cards fail to rise to the occasion Woking 0 Accrington Stanley 3
Emirates FA Cup Second Round
4 December 2016

The Cards’ big day came and a crowd of over 3,700 heeded the cry to get behind the side but the occasion proved to be a huge anti-climax. Woking failed to make their early advantage pay against a side which looked short of confidence and ideas. The Woking defence then parted for a cross, Billy Kee diverting via a deflection. A rush of blood to the head saw Charlie Carter sent off and a second goal was conceded before half-time. That looked like ‘game over’ and so it certainly proved, with Woking offering little after the break and Accrington easing through, contenting themselves with adding one more goal.

Garry Hill started with a back five of Caprice, Saah, Yakubu, Thomas and Shaw; a midfield of Saraiva, Carter and Jones; and with Ugwu and Lewis up front. Keiran Murtagh was a surprise addition on the bench but was presumably not really fit and didn’t come on even though he was clearly sorely missed in a midfield which, Jones excepted, hardly got going.

Woking started brightly and ought to have taken the lead in the second minute when Dennon Lewis, played through with only the keeper to beat, dragged his shot wide with the goal gaping in front of him. Later on, as the game went decisively in Accrington’s favour, one couldn’t help wondering how it might have turned out if that chance had been taken.

The Cards proceeded to look the more threatening side, with Jake Caprice showing signs that, in spite of being heavily marked, he might be able to create chances for the in-form Gozie Ugwu. At the other end Hall dealt easily with a free-kick floated in and, after a bit of a scramble, Yakubu booted a cross clear.

On the quarter hour mark some concerted pressure saw Saraiva’s cross cleared before Caprice put the ball back in, Carter and then Ugwu nearly profiting.

More Woking attacking play followed as Caprice’s cross from a swift counter-attack was blocked, followed shortly by a foray down the other flank which saw Carter’s effort saved by the visiting keeper.

Accrington made their first real incision on 26 minutes, with Jordan Clark getting behind the right of the Woking defence but shooting straight at Hall. Home hopes were reinforced by calm defending from Terell Thomas – along with Jones, probably Woking’s standout performer – and some clever play by Caprice. But those hopes were instantly deflated when, on 34 minutes, the predatory Billy Kee netted via a deflection after a cross and a scramble in the box.

The Cards’ task became infinitely more difficult two minutes later with Carter’s dismissal. One high-ish tackle was instantly followed by another and the referee, surrounded by baying Accrington players, produced a red card. Video replays will no doubt show if the crucial tackle was really that heinous.

The Cards had a let-off on 41 minutes when John O’Sullivan got clear on the right of the Woking area and passed across but none of his team mates was there. But a minute later the tie was effectively all over as Accrington grabbed a second goal. Once more, a low cross came in. Kee got ahead of Yakubu and steered the ball past Hall.

Half-time: Woking 0 Accrington Stanley 2

There is very little to say about the second half from a Woking perspective. The visitors made the most of their two-goal lead and one-man advantage, enjoying a lot of possession as they passed the ball around at the back, inviting the Woking players to come on to them and to leave even bigger gaps in midfield and defence. In practice the Cards seemed unable to exert any pressure and Accrington enjoyed a virtually carefree half, with their keeper not having to make a single save.

Garry Hill brought on Delano Sam-Yorke, who added a bit of energy, and, later, Frankie Sutherland and then Anthony Edgar but none of them was able to make any significant difference to what (it was abundantly clear) was a lost cause.

Accrington squandered several decent chances to add to their goal tally before, in the 61st minute, counter-attacking down Woking’s right after Caprice was caught up field, O’Sullivan clinically headed home in spite of Yakubu’s attentions.

Apart from a couple of bursts down the right by Sam-Yorke and the odd blocked effort from outside the area Woking presented virtually no threat, while Accrington proceeded to use the ball intelligently, creating quite a few openings but failing to capitalise.

The overriding feeling at the end of the game was that this was a huge opportunity squandered against a side that can hardly have believed their luck to have won so comfortably. The Cards will have to play a lot better at Ebbsfleet next Saturday if they are to make progress in the FA Trophy, although survival in the Conference National now has to be the overwhelming priority.

Woking: Brandon Hall, Jake Caprice, Brian Saah, Ismail Yakubu (Anthony Edgar 72), Terell Thomas, Frazer Shaw (Frankie Sutherland 70) Joey Jones, Charlie Carter, Fabio Saraiva, Gozie Ugwu, Dennon Lewis (Delano Sam-Yorke 59)

Unused subs: Keiran Murtagh, Luke Kandi, Andy Little, Michael Poke

Sent off: Charlie Carter, 36

Booked: Ismail Yakubu

Accrington Stanley: Aaron Chapman, Matty Pearson, Mark Hughes, Omar Beckles, Jordan Clark, Scot Brown (Aaron Davies), Sean McConville, Patrick Lacey (Romuald Boco 58), John O’Sullivan, Seamus Conneely, Billy Kee (Terry Gornell 72)

Unused subs: Seamus McCarten, Steven Hewitt, Ross Sykes, Elliot Parish

Goals: Billy Kee 34 and 42; John O’Sullivan 61

Booked: Patrick Lacey

Sponsors’ (Surrey Tiles) MOTM: Joey Jones

Attendance: 3718

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