Woking 2 Wrexham 0
Vanarama National League
17th September 2016
Woking welcomed Welsh National League counterparts, Wrexham, to the Laithwaite Community Stadium on the back of a promising 3-1 win against Torquay United on Tuesday night. Garry Hill named an unchanged starting XI from the win, with the only solitary change in the squad being Anthony Edgar coming in for the departed Charlie Penny on the Cards bench.
Woking lined up in the rigid 5-3-2 formation that worked so well in the week and Wrexham lined up in what looked to be like a 4-3-3 with Hamza Bencherif sitting in front of the back 4.
The first chance of the game came in the 3rd minute when Mark Carrington lobbed a ball forward from the halfway line which troubled Cards keeper Michael Poke who just about kept it away from the onrushing Wrexham forward. The away team started well, full of energy, with fluent moves being strung together within the first 10 minutes.
The first chance for the Cards eventually came in the 14th minute. Jake Caprice found Nathan Ralph at the back post, Ralph cushioned his header down to Delano Sam-Yorke but the forward had a lot to do with his back to goal and could not add to his two goals already this week. Sam-Yorke looked like he was being held as he fashioned his back heel shot but the referee wasn’t interested despite the shouts of the Cards faithful behind the goal. Another penalty shout came to no fruition five minutes later when Ugwu slotted Sam-Yorke in one on one with Jalal; the Cards forward knocked the ball round the Wrexham keeper but was brought down in the process where the referee once again deemed it a fair challenge.
Woking continued to grow in the first half as Wrexham saw less of the ball; Fabio Saraiva bent a delicious curling effort just wide of the top left corner in the 22nd minute from Ugwu’s square ball. A Cards corner two minutes later was then comfortably collected by Jalal. Jake Caprice continued his marauding runs from right wing back and his dangerous ball in eventually fell to Woking skipper Murtagh who hit a powerful drive on target.
As Woking continued to attack a Wrexham counter was becoming increasingly likely. Ten minutes before the end of the half, Poke was forced to make two good saves. One was low to his right from a John Rooney free-kick 30 yards out and the other came from the following corner which the former Southampton keeper did well to claw away. Poke left the best save for the 40th minute, a loose ball fell to Carrington 20 yards out. The Right back then teed himself up to unleash a rasping volley destined for the top left corner but for Poke’s heroic left hand palm over the bar. Yet another Wrexham volley was fired in on the stroke of half time which was dealt with by Poke, this time with relative ease.
The First Half ended with the away side just having the better of proceedings, a couple of sharp saves by Poke kept it goalless at the break. Jake Caprice was the Cards stand out player in the first half.
Half-tine: Woking 0 Wrexham 0
Both teams were unchanged as The Cards attacked the main stand in the 2nd half in what was a fresh autumnal afternoon at The Laithwaite.
Like the 1st half, the 2nd ebbed and flowed with both teams struggling to impose a real feel of the ball. A mistake by Wrexham’s keeper allowed Saraiva to hang in a corner to the back post where Connor Essam leapt highest to head just wide of the right post -probably the Cards’ clearest chance of the game up to then. Another header this time fell to Wrexham in the 50th minute, with Jordan Evans diverting a header just wide. Another dangerous Saraiva delivery found Sam-Yorke's head, but the Cards striker was deemed to have fouled a Wrexham defender.
Woking then suddenly really started to impose themselves 10 minutes into the second half. Caprice, who was a menace all afternoon, found Sam-Yorke’s head yet again, but the Cards striker could only divert his header over Jalal’s goal. The combination then was reversed a minute later as Sam-Yorke fed Caprice on the edge of area but his shot was charged down by a man in Wrexham Green.
The first booking of the game came in the 63rd minute as Wrexham’s Tyler Harvey pulled down a Woking man on the halfway line in what looked to be a promising move. Then the Cards skipper, Murtagh was booked two minutes later. Wrexham looked to add impetus to their attack by bringing on Gerry McDonagh for Shaun Harrad in a like for like switch; the Welsh side reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation with McDonagh the spearhead. The sub teed up Rooney 25 yards out who unleased a shot well wide of the target. This prompted The Cards into their first change of the afternoon in the 74th minute as the hero in midweek, Sam-Yorke, came off for Chike Kandi.
Caprice then played the ball of the game as he carved the Wrexham defence wide open. He lofted a ball from his own half behind the defensive four of Wrexham into Ugwu’s path. Ugwu didn’t have much of an angle to work with, but had great vision to loft it over Jalal who was off his line. The ball, however, fell agonisingly onto the roof of the net. The Cards came even closer in the 80th minute as Joey Jones saw his header tipped onto the post from yet another ball in from Caprice.
Woking continued to dominate the second half, and the breakthrough finally came in the 81st minute. The ball was fed to Fabio Saraiva on the halfway line. The Centre midfielder then had time and space, and drove at the Wrexham defence. As he found himself 20 yards out, he unleashed an unstoppable drive into the bottom left hand corner, and Jalal had no chance. A fabulous goal to make it 1-0.
The breakthrough prompted Wrexham into action, as Bradley Reid was brought on. The 85th minute saw yet another Cards penalty shout waved away as Ugwu was hauled down yet again in the box.
It wasn’t to matter though as Woking doubled their lead in the 87th minute. A mazy run from Dennon Lewis found Ugwu on the left. Ugwu then produced a wonderful save from Jalal. But the Wrexham stopper could only palm his save across the goal onto the right foot of substitute Kandi. He made no mistake by lashing his effort off a defender into the roof of the net. Woking had fully deserved the two goals on their second half showing.
Wrexham forced Poke into another fine save; substitute Bradley Reid volleyed an effort from the back post which was saved acrobatically by Poke down at his near post.
The Cards left it late, but produced yet another impressive 2nd half showing in a week to make it two home wins on the bounce - also, a first clean sheet of the season for Hill’s men.
Woking (5-3-2): Michael Poke, Jake Caprice, Nathan Ralph, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Connor Essam, Keiran Murtagh, Fabio Saraiva (Charlie Carter 90), Dennon Lewis, Gozie Ugwu, Delano Sam-Yorke (Chike Kandi 74)
Goals: Sariava 81, Kandi 87
Bookings: Lewis, Murtagh, Jones
Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Max Kretzschmar, Anthony Edgar
Wrexham (4-3-3): Shawn Jalal, Hamza Bencherif, Martin Riley, Curtis Tilt, John Rooney (Bradley Reid 84), Sean Newton, Mark Carrington, Paul Rutherford, Jordan Evans, Shaun Harrad (Gerry McDonagh 67), Tyler Harvey (Rob Evans 84)
Unused subs: Nortei Nortey, Kai Edwards
Ref.: Carl Brook
Sponsor's (HSL Building Services) MotM: Gozie Ugwu. Combative throughout, he held the ball up well with his back to goal and distributed it accurately, and generally combined effectively with Delano Sam-Yorke up front as they had in the previous game against Torquay.