A controversial penalty in the latter stages of this Lucas Fettes Cup Semi Final denied Hayes & Yeading United the chance to progress to the final as Woking ended up 3-2 winners.
Despite the high standard of play from both teams which produced an intriguing first half, few chances were created. In fact aside from a goal apiece, there was little of note to report. United’s goal came in the 16th minute when Nathan Webb surged forward from midfield courtesy of a one two with Daniel Wishart and was fouled in the penalty arc. From the resulting free kick, Joel Jacobs curled a beautiful shot in off the cross bar.
However, Woking were level seven minutes later when Callum Eagle was first to a loose ball with a firm header forwards. Olly Palmer’s flick on was perfectly in the path of the onrushing Josh Watkins who had a simple finish past Alex Tokarczyk.
The second half really did open up. Josh Christopher fed the ball to Wishart whose smart turn and shot was equally matched by Matt Peglar’s flying save to tip the ball wide. Peglar was more fortunate with Wishart’s next effort as a deflection off Eagle took the sting off the shot but he nevertheless fumbled his catch before gathering the ball in.
Woking brought on England Colleges forward Ola Sogbanmu and got more of a foothold in the game. Palmer twice met deep corners, the first he headed wide of the post but the second forced Tokarczyk into a full stretch save.
Woking took the lead in the 69th minute. Watkins got free on the right and crossed the ball. Christopher headed the ball under pressure but Sogbanmu collected the loose ball, created space and fired it into the top corner.
Rather than deflate United, the visitors were spurred on to find an equaliser. Wishart beat Richards at the bye-line before cutting the ball back to George Isaac. Isaac met the ball at pace but his effort hit the post.
As United pushed forward, Woking almost caught them on the break. Watkins beat Jacobs to Dean Worman’s pass and sped off down the right flank, beating two players before fizzing a low centre across the face of goal with which Sogbanmu narrowly failed to connect.
However, it was United who got the next goal, a deserved equaliser as Mark Goodman beat Anson Cousins before crossing. Peglar looked to have the cross covered but he dropped the ball into the path of Worman whose volley bounced down and up into the roof of the net.
The match reached fever pitch in the closing stages but with Aaron Gough and Callum Eagle for the hosts and Leo Cunningham and Isaac Bonket for United in outstanding form, both sets of defences stood firm.
That was until the final minute before stoppage time when Will Hammond chased down a loose ball on the right flank and although his cross seemed to strike Cunningham on the shoulder, to the dismay of the United players, the assistant referee signalled for a penalty which the referee duly gave. Sogbanmu had to wait quite some time before he could take the kick but he placed the ball firmly beyond the outstretched hand of Tokarczyk into the bottom corner.
Frustrations boiled over as a melee ensued in injury time, the result of which was a straight red card for United forward Daniel Wishart. However, despite having just ten men, United heaped pressure on Woking during stoppage time and almost got an unlikely equaliser when Cyrus Longdon-Hughes’s cross was headed by Gough into the path of Worman whose shot rose inches over the bar. However, it was not to be for United, and Woking go into Monday’s final in search of a league and cup double.
Report by Nick Bell. Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Isaac Bonket.