ASHFORD TOWN (Middx) 0 WOKING WHITES 1
12:00am, Sun 6th Apr 2008
Ashford Town (Middx) 0 Woking Whites 1
U18 Southern Youth League Cup Quarter Final
The Woking Whites youngsters earned themselves a home draw in the League Cup semi-finals with a determined performance away to Ashford.
The game started brightly with opportunities being created at both ends; on just 3 minutes Laith Aldoori found himself free just outside the Ashford box but his scorching drive drifted agonisingly over the Ashford crossbar; 12 minutes gone and Barry McWilliam in the Woking goal had to have his wits about him as the Ashford striker smashed a terrific left -oot volley goalward; immediately thereafter Yanic Owusu created a chance for Woking on 15 minutes but pulled his shot wide.
We then entered possibly one of the best Woking phases in the first half as, on 17 minutes, Daniel Sintim drilled a 40 yard pass wide right to Ricardo Williams, whose early cross caused panic in the Ashford box. From the resulting corner Ashford were unable to clear their lines and the ball fell nicely to Sintim, whose ferocious strike flew narrowly over the Ashford crossbar. Then a few minutes later a nice pass from Aldoori to Owusu led to the ball being swept out wide right to Williams. His cross found the head of Owusu but the keeper managed to palm the ball away and gather it at the second attempt.
The Woking back four of Gatcum, Sintim, Mcnerny and Aldoori were uncompromising in defence, quelling the vast majority of the forays on the Woking goal. Ashford were, however, well organised and pushed forward at every opportunity. They managed to create two or three more chance in the first period but their attempts were easily gathered by Barry McWilliam in goal.
The Woking midfield of Matt Powell, Grant Edgecock and Luke Baker were, as always, full of energy and endeavour; Danillo Cadete and Ricardo Williams were showing lots of pace down the wings and Yanic Owusu was working very hard as a sole striker.
Half time: Ashford 0 Woking 0
Nerves started to play a part in the second period as the game became a little scrappy with passes going astray and too many clearances finding touch.
Five minutes gone and the tiring Yanic Owusu was replaced by the fresh legs of Jamie Montgomery. The initiative almost paid off immediately as a couple of minutes later Matty Powell fed a ball through to Montgomery on the Ashford box. Unfortunately, his shot was pulled just wide of the left hand upright; then on 17 minutes Montgomery got another chance but pulled this one to the right. On 23 minutes Ricardo Williams could have put the game to bed as he found himself in front of goal some 12 yards out. He did not connect well and his shot found the keeper's arms.
Extra time was not an enticing prospect so the pack formation was reshuffled with Michael Carey coming on wide left for Danillo Cadete. Given the opportunities that both teams had created, the game should have been sewn up in Woking's favour. Of course, it is at times like this that the opposition can suddenly go down the other end and score.
Not sure what it is about Woking keepers but Barry McWilliam is looking a very, very exciting prospect and, with just 8 minutes remaining, he pulled off one of the most outstanding saves of the season as he palmed away an excellent Ashford strike destined for the Woking top corner.
This save and the subsequent substitution by Matt Howard to bring on Sam Robinson for Ricardo Williams were the significant turning points of the game.
With just five minutes remaining, the best pass of the game from Sam Robinson evaded the Ashford centre half and the marauding Jamie Montgomery outpaced the defence and without taking a touch he guided his volley into the bottom left-hand corner of the Ashford goal.
Ashford 0 Woking 1
The last few minutes were somewhat bad tempered as a Woking side played 'keep ball' in the corners. It was not pretty, but with at least 10 games to play in the next three weeks and definitely not needing extra time, it was necessary.
Full time: Ashford Town (Middx) 0 Woking Whites 1
Some stoic, determined and brave performances across the board from this Woking side keeps them in the frame to win the Southern Youth League Cup. Amazingly, the last time Woking won this competition was in the season 1983-84.
Undoubtedly Sam Robinson and Jamie Montgomery for the goal, together with the outstanding save from Barry McWilliam, must get a mention but over the 90 minutes, although there are 7 or 8 names in the hat for the man of the match award, on balance the award goes to:
MOM: Laith Aldoori
Squad: Barry McWilliam, Laith Aldoori, Joe Mcnerny, Daniel Sintim, Adam Gatcum, Grant Edgecock, Matt Powell, Luke Baker, Danillo Cadete, Ricardo Williams, Yanic Owusu.
Subs used: Jamie Montgomery, Michael Carey, Sam Robinson.
Subs not used: Dan Thorogood, James Oliver Pearce.
Ashford currently sit top of the SYL North Division some eight points clear of second place. They are a pacey, physical side who prior to this game would have had aspirations of completing a League and Cup double. That baton of opportunity now passes to the Woking Whites, albeit that they have to win their 5 remaining home League games, including another game with Ashford, plus overcoming Chipstead in the Cup semi -inals to even be in with a chance. The Whites are also still in contention for the Football Conference Youth League SE Conference title and have to win their remaining four fixtures to secure more silverware. The Woking Reds have already won the FCYL Southern Conference and await the draw for the National Play-off semi-finals.