Guiseley AFC 1 Woking FC 1
Vanarama National League
September 10th 2016
A late deflected strike from Fabio Saraiva earned Woking a share of the spoils at fellow National League strugglers Guiseley.
Having been brought on as a late substitute Saraiva connected with a Chike Kandi cross and the fierce deflection took it away from the goalkeeper to level the scores. The goal restored parity after Adam Boyes had given the West Yorkshire side an early second half lead.
Coming off of the back of the defeat at Macclesfield Garry Hill adopted a 3-5-2 system with new loan signing Connor Essam joining Brian Saah and Joey Jones in defence. Jake Caprice and Nathan Ralph were employed as wing backs, getting up the field where possible to join the midfield trio of Murtagh, Kretzschmar and Lewis. In his first league start of the season Delano Sam-Yorke returned from injury to join Gozie Ugwu up front.
Wearing all yellow the Cards showed their intent from the start and put the Lions under immediate pressure. A back pass from the Guiseley defence to home goalkeeper Jon Maxted was miskicked into the path of Murtagh whose first time shot was hit powerfully but wide.
Guiseley hit back immediately with the speed and trickery of Reece Webb-Foster regularly at the heart of their attacking. The new loan signing from Bradford City saw an early shot curl narrowly over the Woking crossbar.
For the Cards Gozie Ugwu was intent on making himself a nuisance to the Guiseley defence. A good chance in the 6th minute was created by his tenacity. After twisting past two defenders the striker’s low shot was only denied by Maxted’s efforts to palm the ball beyond his post.
The home side again attacked with a Clee cross finding its way to Boyes who was free and in space to head for goal. Michael Poke in the Cards goal was relieved to see the shot narrowly clip the top of crossbar and out for a goal kick.
Minutes late the Lions pushed Woking back again as Will Hatfield surged forward on a mazy run. Once inside the box he shot powerfully but this was well read by Jake Caprice whose strong block took the ball away for a corner.
As the game see-sawed back and forth the Cards carved out a series of good chances to break the deadlock. In the 20th minute, an in-swinging corner from Kretzschmar found its way to an unmarked Ugwu. However his first time header was not low enough to trouble Maxted. Minutes later Lewis found the gap to shoot strongly for goal. The power of the shot showed a visible swerve but Maxted got across acrobatically to tip the ball around the post. From the resulting play some intelligent play by Sam-Yorke played in Ugwu. However, on this occasion, he was unable to trouble Maxted with his tame shot.
At the other end Webb-Foster was causing difficulties for the Cards defence. Having seen a 20 yard free kick narrowly clear the crossbar, he then played in Clee whose left footed shot looked goal bound until Poke got his fingers behind the shot to claw the ball beyond the far post.
As the first half drew to a close the Lions were beginning to find a way to control the pace of the game and Woking found their opportunities more at a premium. Shortly before the break Guiseley had one last chance to get ahead when Webb-Foster played in Purver. Again Michael Poke reacted well to the fierce shot to ensure parity at half-time.
Half Time: Guiseley 0 Woking 0
Worryingly for the Cards they appeared to come out of the changing rooms sluggishly for the second half. Within two minutes of the restart they were behind. After cutting inside from the left touchline Clee found time to cross into the box. Boyes read the move better than the Cards defence and he was able to meet the ball with a powerful strike that this time would be too far from Poke and hit the top corner of the net.
Immediately from the restart Woking were again on the back foot as the Lions searched for a quick second goal. Jordan Preston was sent clear with only Poke to beat. However this time the Cards goalkeeper did just enough to divert the shot for a corner.
The Cards got their first opportunity in the 52nd minute as Caprice made progress down the right hand flank. His cross looked to be good for Murtagh but the Cards Captain could only head wide of the goal.
However shortly after Murtagh again pushed forward and found the space and time to generate a strong long range shot. With Maxted, beaten the ball rose narrowly too high of the top corner of the goal.
In chasing the game it was becoming apparent that the Cards were now enjoying their best spell of the match. This was underlined by an excellent opportunity to level in the 60th minute when Caprice’s cross found Ugwu. After his initial shot was blocked by a Lions defender the ball came straight back to him but his follow-up sailed high over the bar.
With a frantic pace to the game and players understandably tiring Garry Hill called in the changes and introduced Saraiva, Kandi and Penny. It would prove to be the way back into the game for Woking.
In the 82nd minute Kandi was set loose down the right hand side. His quick thinking saw him cross early for an unmarked Saraiva approximately 12 yards out. As he met it first time to head goal bound an instinctive deflection diverted the ball away from the committed Maxted who could only see the net behind him bulge. Saraiva was joined by his teammates as they celebrated in front of the Cards fans standing behind the goal.
With time running out it was the Cards who pushed forward for the winner. Saraiva’s low cross had the home defence scrambling to clear and with the final attack shots from both Kandi and Saraiva were both frantically blocked as Guiseley held out for a point.
Some may argue that the result will do little to help either team in their respective battles to escape the lower reaches of the National League. However the Cards can take great heart that they found a way to battle back and deny a potential relegation rival victory in this proverbial ‘six-pointer’.
Woking 3-5-2: Michael Poke, Jake Caprice (Charlie Penny 79), Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Connor Essam, Nathan Ralph, Keiran Murtagh (c), Max Kretzschmar (Fabio Saraiva 65), Dennon Lewis, Gozie Ugwu, Delano Sam-Yorke (Chike Kandi 65)
Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Charlie Carter
Goal: Fabio Saraiva (82)
Guiseley 4-2-3-1: Jon Maxted, Javan Vidal, Ashley Palmer, Robert Atkinson (c), Nicky Clee, Jake Lawlor, Alex Purver, Jordan Preston, Reece Webb-Foster (Marcus Williams 60), Will Hatfield, Adam Boyes (Michael Rankine 90)
Unused subs: Dan Atkinson, Luke Porritt, Simon Walton
Goal: Adam Boyes (47)
My MOTM: Keiran Murtagh – A Captain’s performance with assured leadership. Pulled his side back up when the chips were down and led by example in looking for ways to get Woking back in the game. Keiran helped to break up play when Guiseley applied pressure but was also at the heart of Woking’s efforts to push forward in search of the equaliser.