Woking 1-0 Eastleigh – Debutant Clarke scores with second touch
Woking put in a resilient performance as a debut goal from Jahmari Clarke was enough to give them all three points. The substitute scored with just his second touch after only arriving a few hours before from Reading on loan.
This score line might make it seem as though today’s game wasn’t one for the memory books, but Woking FC supporters will tell you otherwise. This victory sees The Cards beat an Eastleigh senior side for the first time since August 2017 and pushes them up to fifth in the league standings.
It was the Spitfires who had the first chance of the game as they started brightly with a good move leading to a cross that was met by JJ McKiernan. He headed the ball across the face of the goal, but Tristan Abrahams couldn't get any contact on it.
Padraig Amond had the first chance for the hosts as he got a shot off, but Joe McDonnell held comfortably in the Eastleigh goal.
Just moments later, Woking had a deep free kick which skipper Josh Casey floated towards the back post. It found James Daly outside the box, but his effort hit the post.
JJ McKiernan was involved in the action again when he didwell down the right-hand side before playing the ball intoTristan Abrahams who almost managed to backheel it into the goal in spectacular fashion but it was just wide.
Amond was involved again for his side when he found spacedown the right and passed to Rohan Ince who set himself to place his effort to the 'keeper's left, but it was saved very well.
Jim Kellermann was up next to test Joe McDonnell as his strike stinged the palms of the goalkeeper and out for a corner but nothing resulted from the outcome.
On the half hour mark, Ryan Hill struck a rocket-like effort from the edge of the box goal bound but Craig Ross was ready and made a remarkable diving save, not for the first time this season.
Just before the break, Ricky Korboa got down the left-handside after some good work from Daly, cutting inside but his effort was well saved. Both teams went in level at half time.
The first chance of the second forty-five minutes came from the home team when a free kick clipped in from deep found Joe McNerney who nodded the ball down to Amond in a central position, but his effort was saved.
Once the hour mark had arrived, Darren Sarll decided to make his first substitute of the game and replace Southampton loanee Jake Vokins with another on loan player in Jahmari Clarke. Jahmari was only announced by the club at 10:00 BST.
As far as making a good first impression goes, he definitely welcomed himself in good spirits with the fans as with just his second touch, he found the back of the net to put The Cards in front. Korboa, who was Woking’s best player going forward, put in a low cross to Clarke who fired in from close range, into the top right-hand corner.
The young striker’s finish means that he now has three senior goals to go along side his two that he scored away at Birmingham City in the Championship back in November 2021.
Former Woking academy graduate Charlie Carter made an appearance for the visitors when he came on in the 70th minute to a half and half reception.
However, just moments later, Woking found some space to deliver the ball and found McNerney who charged at it from deep, but he mistimed the header.
The hosts held out for a valuable three points to make it four games unbeaten in all competitions.
Something important to note was the fact that Woking did the basics really well and constantly put the visitors on the back foot. Previous Woking sides, under different management, have been known to be too kind whereas right until the very end today, they battled away and even took some yellow cards for professional fouls.
Of course, you don’t want suspensions building up and unfortunately James Daly will miss Tuesday nights game at home to Yeovil Town now, but it is so refreshing to see the team battling until the very last whistle, to try and make finishing in the playoffs a real reality.
As mentioned, Woking are back at home on Tuesday when they will take on a struggling Yeovil who have just appointed a new manager. It will also be the first game between the two sides, since Darren Sarll ripped up his contract with them, to make the swich to Surrey. It’s surely going to be a fiery contest with many players on the pitch having played for both sides but whatever happens, today’s result is one important victory! #COYCards
Woking Starting XI: Ross, Moss, Cuthbert, McNerney, Casey (c), Vokins (61), Ince, Kellermann, Daly, Korboa (89), Amond
Subs: Wady, Bilongo, Roles (89), Clarke (61), Roberts
Eastleigh Starting XI: McDonnell, Camp, Kelly, Atangana (68), Martin (c), Cisse, Whitehall, Hill, Langston, Abrahams (68), McKiernan (79)
Subs: Rutherford, Carter (68), Hesketh (68), Willson, Ebanks (79)
Man of the Match: Rohan Ince