Unsteady ship sunk by Chipstead

John Pearce
12:00am, Wed 6th Dec 2017
Woking 1 Chipstead 3
Surrey Senior Cup Round 2
5th December 2017

A much-changed Woking side failed to muster a response to a focussed and determined Chipstead side, and the Cup holders were dumped unceremoniously out of the competition at the first hurdle.

The sparse crowd indicated that the lure of the SSC had failed to overcome the combined effects of a drop in temperature and the combined financial pressures on fans of Christmas and following the Cards on the Road to Wembley.

As expected, the Woking starting line-up was predominantly a mix of players returning from injury and academy players. The latter included three that were not already registered with the senior squad: Marc Correia (supporting Jamie Philpott up front), and midfielders Charlie Hester-Cook – who made a couple of appearances in this competition last season – and Reggie Young. On paper, a back four of Young, Orlu, Staunton and Stojsavljevic looked solid. Jason Goodliffe appeared to be in charge on the night, with Anthony Limbrick taking a back seat in the stand.

The visitors came with a few Woking connections. Charlie Penny was making his first appearance in a starting line-up for over a year, after a long and difficult recovery from an ACL injury (the impression is that Merstham had forgotten to re-sign him). Their coaching team included former Woking midfielder Rob Kember, who featured in most of the ‘action-packed’ 2002-03 season, and defender Rob Smith, from a time when it felt like we had more Smiths at the back than Morrissey.

Chipstead seized the initiative from the start, with an early attack down the right. In the 15th minute, a testing ball was put through to Penny in the box, but came to nothing; shortly after Matt Warren’s shot on goal was deflected out for a corner. Ollie Twum then found himself in front of Woking’s goal with the ball at his feet, and easily slotted it into the net past Mason. 0-1.

Their dangerous looking No. 11, Lalor-Dell, slipped past a couple of Woking defenders on the left and put a ball into the box, which was cleared by Matt Young.

Staunton, in particular, sought to galvanise the Cards with some loud and colourful exhortations. Woking began to ply with a bit more fluency; an attack on the left in the 23rd minute was headed wide by Philpot and seven minutes later, he shot wide from a great Orlu through ball. A corner on the right came to nothing due to jostling in front of the Chipstead goal.

Then, in the 41st minute, the ball was passed to Twum in the Woking box and he gratefully accepted the opportunity from close range. 0-2. However, he injured himself in the process and limped off to be replaced by Chris O’Flaherty.

A major Lazar blast from about 40 yards out sailed unthreateningly over the visitors’ goal, and that was about it for the first half.

Half-time: Woking 0 Chipstead 2

The sound of ‘Eton Rifles’ over the PA at half-time should have reminded the Cards of the importance of accurate shooting to get themselves out of the jam they were in.

Jason Banton replaced Saraiva at the break and, for a while, the Cards stepped up a gear. Correia shot straight into the Chipstead keeper’s arms in the 49th minute. Five minutes later, he picked up a through ball as he moved into the left-hand side of their goal area, took it to the byline and crossed; it hit a post and rebounded to a grateful Philpot’s feet for him to poke home for a goal. 1-2.

On 61 minutes, Philpot had another scoring opportunity but lifted the ball over the keeper and the bar; 5 minutes later, he appeared to have been tripped in the box but nothing was given. In between these two attacks, academy defender Callum Brown replaced Staunton and, In the 72nd minute, Ross Murdoch came on for Reggie Young.

A Hester-Cook shot went straight into Sibley’s arms, a Banton free kick just outside the box bounced harmlessly off the nearest Chipstead player and Appau then fired one over the bar from outside the box. After 78 minutes, Banton collected a ball near the opponents’ penalty area and jinked his way skillfully past a couple of defenders before shooting wide.

A Chipstead corner on the right was headed over. Banton picked up a ball from a Cards corner, moved to the byline and crossed, but there was no one there to receive it. With the game now in its final 10 minutes, he was tripped in front of their goal; Matt Young’s resulting free kick was blocked.

Any sense of urgency that Woking should have been showing at this point of the game was frustrated by Chipstead’s energy, enthusiasm and ability to counter attack. Then, in the 87th minute, their No. 11 Lalor-Dell – impressive throughout – collected a ball on the right wing, took it past a couple of defenders and, from the corner of the Woking area, curled a left-footed shot past Mason into the far corner of Woking’s goal. A superb goal which made it 1-3 on the night for the visitors and effectively killed off any prospect of a comeback from the home side.

Woking had little left to offer and the game continued largely uneventfully to a conclusion.

The Cards have some big and challenging games coming up in both League and FA Cup in the near future, and it is entirely understandable that a ‘second/third string’ side would be fielded for this particular game. What was disappointing, after the heroics against Peterborough United the previous Saturday, was the lack of any convincing response to a team from 5 levels further down the pyramid, and the failure of fringe players to grasp their opportunity to catch the eye. The casual viewer will have been left with the inescapable impression that this competition was a very low priority.

Nevertheless, onward to Gatehead and, hopefully, upward…

Woking (4-4-2): Sam Mason, Matt Young, Lazar Stojsavljevic, Charlie Hester-Cook, Richard Orlu, Josh Staunton (Callum Brown 62), Marco Correia, Declan Appau, Jamie Philpot, Fabio Saraiva (Jason Banton 45), Reggie Young (Ross Murdoch 72)

Unused subs: Aaron Randall, Dan Choules

Goals: Philpot 54

Bookings: None

Chipstead: Michael Sibley, Matthew Warren, Erivaldo Felix, Callum Maclean (Oska Henderson 78), Sam Page, Matthew Males, Ollie Twum (Chris O'Flaherty 44), Jeremy Boakye, Charlie Penny (Allan Tait 62), Dylan Cascoe, Leon Lalor-Dell

Unused Subs: Robert Smith, Tony Stone

Goals: Twum 16, 41, Lalor-Dell 82

Referee: Nigel Lugg

Attendance: Small

My MOTM: The sudden realisation, towards the end, that I’d have to identify an MOTM was momentarily distressing. However – without wishing to give the impression that he was superb on the night - Jason Banton made a difference when he came on at half-time with some deft skills, if no more than should be expected of him with his reputation.

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