Woking 3 Hemel Hempstead Town 1
For an injury hit Hemel side it was always going to be a tough ask down at Championship chasing Woking and that proved to be the case but Joe Deeney’s side gave their all, especially in the second period where they certainly had the home side rattled.
The Tudors actually made a bright start with Leon Lobjoit forcing a decent save from Craig Ross in the first minute but moments later they went a goal down when Dave Tarpey raced down to the byline before crossing to the diminutive Paul Hodges who met the ball unchallenged and headed past a helpless Laurie Walker in the Tudors goal. Dave Tarpey was looking very threatening early on and almost made it 2 – 0 on seven minutes but his effort went wide. Tarpey has come into the Woking front line on loan from Barnet and he has been a thorn in Hemel’s side before, once scoring four times for Maidenhead in the Championship winning season in a 5 – 0 drubbing. Tudor’s fans were well aware of his ability and he was really causing problems for them again, with his pace and movement and he broke clear again on 11 minutes. Walker did superbly to block his shot but as the ball ran wide Tarpey collided with Joe Howe and the referee pointed to the spot. It looked like the striker had made the most of what appeared to be a clash of legs but, as has been the case with these decisions lately, it went against Hemel again.
Tarpey stepped up to take the penalty himself and made no mistake, sending Walker the wrong way to put The Cards two up.
The small group of Tudors fans who braved the M25 were fearing the worst as Woking piled forward and Walker was called into action again when Hodges hit a drive that he did well to save. A Woking free kick from the left was then missed by everyone except Jack Cook who arrived completely unmarked at the back post but somehow put his header over the bar from two yards out. Laurie Walker showed his displeasure at Hemel’s lack of defending by kicking the goal frame in anger.
To the visitor’s credit they kept battling away and started to get a foot hold in the game, Jordan Parkes had a decent chance before the break but put his shot into the car park behind the stand, much to the amusement of the Cards fans behind the goal.
During the interval Deeney make a tactical change, bring on forward Arel Amu for defender Oliver Swain and he made an immediate impact scoring with his first touch when he received the ball on the edge of the box before turning to shoot past Ross and into the bottom corner.
The goal came somewhat out of the blue but it was just the lift Hemel needed and they started to push Woking back into their own half. Despite their increased possession they failed to create any real clear cut chances though and the home side looked menacing on the counter attack. Indeed Walker was the busier keeper saving brilliantly from Hodges, Tarpey and Hyde. With the clock ticking down and the Tudors battling for every ball, there was a feeling that they might just nick a point. Woking were guilty of lots of time wasting and were prepared to throw themselves to the ground at the slightest contact as nerves started to jangle but the game was finally settled in the 87th minute when a long ball down the middle deceived Darren Ward, who managed to get a head to it but in trying to get it back to Walker it dropped to the edge of the box leaving the keeper stranded. Harvey Bradbury pounced on the error, rounded Walker and blasted it past Joe Howe who had dropped back onto the line to make it 3 – 1 much to the relief of the 1600 Woking fans in the ground.
Manager Joe Deeney was left to reflect on another frustrating evening but said that you just cannot afford to give a side like Woking a two goal lead in the first 12 minutes. He was pleased for Arel Amu, getting his first goal for the club and felt his side stuck at it but in the end the better team won. Its fine margins again and he whilst he couldn’t fault his players for their efforts they need to start putting in a team performance for the whole 90 minutes.
He hopes to have Sinclair, Cawley, Connolly, Watt and Kpohmouh back for the Concord game, with new signing’s Kieran Monlouis and Arthur Read, who comes in on loan from Luton Town also available, Joe will be looking to pick up the three points, but it won’t be easy against a side who are very much in the Play Off mix.
The club have also announced that Ismail Yakubu and James Kaloczi have left the club to join former manager Dean Brennan down at Kingstonian. The club would like to wish both players all the best for the future.
Hemel 1: Laurie walker 2: Joe Howe 3:Ollie Swain (Arel Amu) 4: Jordan Parkes © 5: Darren Ward 6: Tom Hamblin (James Kaloczi) 7: Kevan Cotter 8: Frankie Musonda 9: Leon Lobjoit 10: Jack Snelus 11: Scott Shulton (Ismail Yakubu)
Attendance 1633 Tudors Man of the Match Jordan Parkes.