Cards first draw of the season maintains unbeaten run
9:07pm, Sat 30th Sep 2017
Woking 1 Hartlepool United 1
Vanarama National League
30th September 2017
Two first half goals shared the spoils as Woking faced recently relegated Hartlepool on Saturday afternoon. Jamie Philpott's equaliser on halftime maintained Woking's positive start under Anthony Limbrick. Substitute Inih Effiong hit the bar with virtually the last kick of the game for Woking, preventing the home side from breaking into the top 2.
Woking welcomed Hartlepool United to the Laithwaites Community Stadium stadium on a crisp autumnal Saturday afternoon. Pools, like Woking, had a stuttering start to the National League season but have found better form of late. The Cards were looking to maintain their position in the playoffs with a 6th win from seven at Kingfield- the best home record in the league.
Hartlepool kicked the game off in an all blue and white strip infront of a bumper Kingfield crowd.
Two minutes in and Nathan Ralph dealt with the Pools first attack of the game shepherding the ball out for a goal kick after Carl Magnay's run from full-back. Nathan Baxter was then alert off his line a minute later to claw the ball away from the onrushing Thorne. Woking created the first clear-cut chance of the game in the 11th minute after a neat run by Nathan Ralph created an attack. Regan Charles-Cook twisted and turned and played a through ball into Charlie Carter. But the Woking academy graduate fired a fairly tame shot that Scott Loach parried away.
That same man then caused two strong penalty shouts for The Cards to be waved away in the 18th minute. Tenacious work from The Cards attack allowed Carter to pounce on the loose ball, he was hauled down twice in quick succession but the referee waved them both away. It has to be said Moaners' Corner was particularly disgruntled with the decisions.
A slip from Nathan Ralph allowed Pools a one-on-one opportunity halfway through the first half, but once again Woking keeper Baxter was alert off his line and dived at the attackers feet to prevent the opening goal.
Unfortunately for Woking the opening goal did come for the away side in the 26th minute. The Cards were exploited from a set-piece, a trend that has become familiar in this positive start to the season. A throw-in led to a quick looping cross-come-shot from the left-hand side by Franks. The ball looped all the way to the unmarked Ryan Donaldson who had a free header at the back post. He guided his header back across goal over Baxter, who did get a touch on it but to no avail. 1-0 to the away side.
Woking almost instantly equalised as Joe Ward created another excellent chance for Woking just past the half hour mark, a cute stepover fooled the Pools defence and the square ball found Charles-Cook in space at the back post. The Charlton loanee fired a powerful effort down to Loach's bottom corner but the Pools keeper was equal to it, a similar save to Carters chance earlier in the half.
Hartlepool continued to frustrate the home side in the closing stages of the first half. However, Woking did force the equaliser. Matt Young's awkward looking cross forced a corner for Woking in the two additional minutes. Pools thought they dealt with the set-piece until Chez Isaac chipped the ball back into danger, the ball eventually dropped to Kane Ferdinand in the 6 yard box, Ferdinand was tackled but only into the path of Jamie Philpott. Philpott still had a lot to do but he fired an effort under Loach and in, via a failed Hartlepool clearance off the line. The ball cannoned into the side of the net and the Millwall loanee made it 2 goals in 2 games following his winner away to Fylde last Saturday.
It would have been harsh on the home side to go into the break 1-0 down. Woking had the better of the chances throughout the half and finally broke through the away sides stubborn back line just before halftime.
Half-time: Woking 1 Hartlepool United 1
Woking kicked off the 2nd half attacking a raucous Jewson end. The home side started the 2nd half in forceful mood with two Chez Issac corners unfortunately coming to nothing. Isaac then had a go at goal himself in the 50th minute but his 30-yard volley sailed well over the bar. Chances were at a premium in the opening proceedings of the 2nd half, Charles-Cook nearly created an opening for Ward in the 55th minute but his lofted ball was inches to high for the Woking winger.
The lack of chances prompted the visiting side into making two changes just after the hour mark. One of those subs, Devante Rodney, instantly hit the woodwork in a heart-in-mouth moment for the Woking fans. Josh Stauntons weak header towards Baxter caused Rodney to intercept with his knee, his touch looped fortuitously over Baxter and hit the base of the post, a let off for The Cards.
Shortly after the chance, Woking goalscorer Jamie Philpott was replaced by Inih Effiong. Ralph was then booked for a foul as the visitors looked to spring a quick counter in the 71st minute. It was the visitors turn to have a man in the book as Inih Effiong was clattered down as he tried a quick counter, this time for the home side. The game was even with twenty minutes remaining, despite the lack of chances.
The visitors were awarded a questionable corner with 15 minutes remaining, which The Cards dealt with comfortably. Pools continued to force the issue and had another chance which forced a comfortable save from Baxter in the 75th minute. It was now Woking's turn to have a corner themselves as the half finished with a real end-to-end feel but Isaac's corner was too deep for any Woking head.
The half reached its final stages with both sides enjoying possession and attacks but with no real chances being created. Charles-Cook's deflected effort from long range five minutes from time created another set-piece opportunity for The Cards but again Issac's delivery could not find a teammates head.
The chances finally came for Woking in the three minutes additional time. Bobson Bawling's powerful drive was tipped over superbly by Loach. Agonisingly for The Cards the best chance of the game fell to substitute Effiong with what was virtually the last kick of the game. Bawling's tricky run into the box lead to a square ball into Effiong in the box. The Woking forward crashed a powerful shot from 8 yards out that flew past Loach but cruelly onto the bar. It would have been a perfect end to another strong performance at home for The Cards but they had to settle for a point.
Woking's first draw of the season after 13 games leaves The Cards in 7th place, still in the playoff places. Woking now travel to Chester in buoyant mood following a fruitful unbeaten run.
Woking: Nathan Baxter, Matt Young, Josh Staunton, Jordan Wynter, Nathan Ralph, Chez Issac, Kane Ferdinand, Charlie Carter (Bobson Bawling 74), Joe Ward, Jamie Philpot (Inih Effiong 65), Regan Charles-Cook
Goals: Philpott 45+1
Bookings: Nathan Ralph 70
Unused Subs: Sam Mason, Declan Appau, Fabio Saraiva
Hartlepool: Scott Loach, Carl Magnay, Louis Laing, Liam Donnelly, Nicky Deverdics , Nicky Featherstone, Michael Woods, Lewis Hawkins, Ryan Donaldson (Rhys Oates 63), James Thorne (Devante Rodney 63), Jonathan Franks
Goals: Donaldson 26
Unused subs: Scott Harrison, Connor Newton, Jack Munns
Sponsors motm: Nathan Ralph, another solid display for the young full-back producing a solid showing in defence whilst still creating chances with good crosses.