Woking 1 Barrow 1
Vanarama National League
22nd October 2016
The Cards welcomed National League playoff hopefuls Barrow to the Laithwaites Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon looking to maintain their impressive home form of late. Gozie Ugwu partnered ex-Portsmouth man Matt Tubbs upfront, with Ugwu looking to build on his two goals in the FA Cup replay win against Torquay United in the week.
A foul on Barrow’s Akil Wright produced the first set-piece of the game 2 minutes in, which came to nothing. Swiftly after, Watford loanee Dennon Lewis squared it to the unmarked Ugwu in the box who dipped his shoulder and fashioned a shooting opportunity, but his powerful drive was well blocked by the Barrow defence.
A set piece then came in a more promising position for Barrow after Cards skipper Kevin Murtagh fouled his opponent. Paul Turnbull lined the ball up 20 yards out, then beautifully bent it around the wall. He beat Cards keeper Hall, only to be denied by the left post.
The Cards then gave away their 3rd dangerous set-piece in the opening 10 minutes. Turnbull this time opted for the cross, lofting the ball into the imperious figure of Moussa Diarra, but his header looped aimlessly into the hands of Hall.
Barrow’s pressure seemed to be slowing twenty minutes in, only for the Cards to be dealt a sucker punch. Good work on the right found Akil Wright, whose cross was inch perfect for the unmarked Byron Harrison. Harrison made no mistake with his header, producing a powerful effort that Hall was unable to reach inside the left-hand post.
Cards nearly replied 3 minutes later. The confident Ugwu beat the Barrow defence in a footrace onto a long ball, only to loft his effort off the bar. Woking continued their strong response to going a goal down, winning a succession of corners in the 26th minute, which unfortunately came to no fruition. Tubbs disposed a Barrow man in the 35th minute, leading to another corner for the Cards. The corner found Murtagh at the back post whose deflected effort nearly trickled all the way through for an equaliser.
The first half ended in a lull with Woking struggling to break through Barrow’s stubborn back line. Although a Cards free-kick just before the break nearly levelled proceedings. Frankie Sutherland’s ball in found Terell Thomas’s head at the back post, but it was off target.
Half-time: Woking 0 Barrow 1
Both teams came out in the 2nd half unchanged on what was a crisp autumnal afternoon in Surrey.
The Cards got a golden opportunity to level proceedings in the 50th minute. A long ball found the dangerous Ugwu, who beat Diarra for pace to the byline. Diarra then lashed a dangerous high foot in the direction of Ugwu which hit him in the face, allowing the referee to award a penalty. Matt Tubbs stepped up and made no mistake from 12 yards sending Barrow keeper Joel Dixon the wrong way, striking his spotkick into the bottom left hand corner.
Cards continued their strong start to the 2nd half with Tubbs and Ugwu linking up yet again only to be prevented by Dixon. Ugwu was nearly found again, this time by Jake Caprice who clipped in another teasing ball which his striker could not quite connect with.
Woking’s dominant 2nd half start prompted Barrow into a change just short of the hour mark. With Richie Bennett coming off for Ross Hannah in a like-for-like replacement upfront. A Barrow corner 2 minutes after, found goalscorer Harrison at the back post. His deft header found another Barrow man in the middle, but his effort was comfortably saved by Hall.
Woking were almost gifted the lead in the 68th minute, as a seemingly harmless backpass to Barrow’s keeper was pressured by the pacey Dennon Lewis. Dixon then scuffed his clearance straight into the path of Lewis, but the Barrow keeper recovered well and dived at Lewis’s feet to prevent a certain goal.
Woking’s first sub was a forced one in the 70th minute. A collision in the box caused Thomas to come off injured. Fabio Sariava replaced him, with skipper Kevin Murtagh dropping to centre-back. Frankie Sutherland was also replaced by Anthony Edgar.
After the flurry of changes, it was a substitute who nearly gave Barrow the lead. Hannah lashed a powerful effort from 20 yards out which Hall did well to palm away from his bottom left-hand corner.
The 2nd half ended in frantic fashion with both teams searching for a winner. Hall yet again, dealt with another cross 15 minutes from full-time as Edgar tried to find Ugwu in the middle. Barrow then went more direct in the final ten minutes with a deluge of long throws and direct balls which skipper Murtagh continued to deal with comfortably. Sub Anthony Edgar then looked to pounce on a loose ball with a conspicuous challenge which the referee punished with a booking. Goal-scorer Tubbs then came off in the 86th minute for Delano Sam-Yorke.
Woking continued to limit Barrow to speculative efforts, this time Turnbull adding to the collection with a wild long shot way over the bar. A large chunk of added time saw a succession of corners for Barrow as pressure continued build on the Cards goal. A pacey ball in led to a Barrow volley just wide of the target.
But Woking stayed resolute and compact and prevented a Barrow winner - a defensively sound performance from the Cards to grind out a good point against tough opponents.
Woking: Brandon Hall, Jake Caprice, Nathan Ralph, Joey Jones, Terell Thomas (Sariava 70), Kieran Murtagh, Charlie Carter, Frankie Sutherland (Anthony Edgar 73), Dennon Lewis, Matt Tubbs, (Sam-Yorke 86), Gozie Ugwu
Goals: Tubbs (51)
Bookings: Murtagh (66), Edgar (85)
Unused Subs: Chike Kandi, Andy Little
Barrow: Joel Dixon, Shaun Beeley, Moussa Diarra, Danny Livesey, Nick Anderton, Liam Hughes, Ryan Yates, Paul Turnbull, Akil Wright (Meikle 80’), Richie Bennett (Hannah 60’), Byron Harrison
Goals: Harrison (20)
Unused Subs: Andy Haworth, Alex-Ray Harvey, Euan Murray
Referee: Carl Brook
Sponsor’s (Paul Robinson) MOTM: Keiran Murtagh. Commanded the midfield with direct balls. Defensively sound when asked to drop back into defence in the 2nd half.