Boreham Wood 2 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
29th October 2016
Having suffered controversial and late defeat at home to fellow strugglers Braintree Town in midweek, The Cards made the two main changes available to them, Jake Caprice being absent with injury as it transpired. Ben Jefford came in on loan from FGR at left back, enabling Nathan Ralph to play at right back, Keiran Murtagh returning in midfield and Frankie Sutherland operating in front of the defence. with Fabio Saraiva being on the bench
Woking began brightly taking the game to The Wood as if they knew they must and an early cross from Terell Thomas for Tubbs was just cut out. Ilesanmi countered with a run deep into Woking territory, a foreboding of the threat to come down Woking’s right, before being dispossessed.
Ben Jefford was showing proficiency and confidence spreading passes across his back four and not afraid to get forward with an overlap and cross, but again could not find his strike forwards with his driven ball. At the other end a deep cross from the left found Andrade but his volleyed effort flew high over. Another Woking move worked in Matt Tubbs on the edge of the Wood penalty area, but his guided shot for the top corner was well held by keeper Grant Smith.
Ilesanmi again found space and crossed, cleared out by Woking for Andrade to return it from the right which was guide-headed away for safety by Joey Jones.
A diagonal cross by Jefford fell for Tubbs inside the penalty area but he could not line up his shot which was trapped by the defence and cleared. They had more success a few moments later from a corner won and swung in by Nathan Ralph superbly to meet the leap of Joey Jones, burying his header home for the lead.
The Wood reacted attacking down the Woking flanks and Kenny Davis arrived late from midfield to head down but into Hall’s arms. Another swift counter by the home side saw Jones sliding to get a vital touch deep in his area with attackers waiting, the ball being launched back in by right back Ben Nunn, but too high and out for a goal kick.
The Cards were trying to exert control and worked a moved with Jefford and Lewis for a teasing left wing cross for Ugwu but the ball was cut out. However, they were increasingly under the cosh as the half closed.
Andrade got a clear sight of goal moments later and hammered his shot straight at Hall who had the reflexes to block it from going through his legs. From a free kick not cleared the ball fell to centre back Matt Paine and he produced a surprising flighted shot for the top corner tipped over acrobatically by Hall.
An expression of frustration was Keiran Murtagh’s tackle in midfield and Referee Hair made the totting up gesture and booked him. Jefford was worked away on the left and had his foot hurt after a desperate late lunge by the Wood right back forced a corner that was cleared.
Scares again for Woking as the half closed. Andrade got clear on the right to cut back the ball into the penalty area but did not find a team mate. In the two minutes of stoppage time Balanta was found with a swinging right hand cross, from right back Nunn. All on his own the striker stooped and headed straight into Hall’s arms when either side of him would have been 1-1.
Half-time: Boreham Wood 0 Woking 1
Woking sought to rebound from being under pressure in the closing 15 minutes of the first half as Gozie Ugwu tried to find space on the edge of the penalty area but was blocked out from getting a shot in. Often the case as Woking could not find a ‘final ball’.
They could not resist growing home side energy and power though. Jeffery and Ilesanmi appeared trapped on the left touchline by two Cards’ defenders, but Ilesanmi whipped the ball in and there was Balanta to head powerfully through Hall’s desperate leap in the centre of goal, for the equaliser.
Attacks were coming from left and right now as Nunn, in particular, overlapped from right back for Wood and fired over crosses. Dennon Lewis was forced to come off and be replaced by Fabio Saraiva. That change encouraged probing down the left and Ugwu nearly broke through.
Any signs of recovery from the home side’s leveller proved a false dawn though, as space was again created deep into Woking’s area and this time the ball fell for Andrade, to coolly guide his shot inside Hall’s right hand post for what proved to be the winner.
Frustration at losing another lead showed as when Woking did create space centre field with neat passes, Saraiva fired from well out from goal , well over the bar. Murtagh created space and fired a low cross in but keeper Smith was down and and clutched it.
Ugwu somehow made space from his own challenge in the air in getting the rebound, but advancing on goal, he shot wide when a ball into the six yard area looked the better choice.
Wood weren’t done themselves and Jeffrey’s low bounding cross was just taken and clutched by Hall. Back came Woking and Ugwu headed down for Saraiva to fire more narrowly over.
A double substitution saw Delano Sam-Yorke come on for a tiring Charlie Carter, although really the swap was for Tubbs up front with Anthony Edgar coming on wide left, as Woking looked for an equaliser. Noticeably, Wood made just a single change at the same time as Jamie Lucas replaced the hardworking Kenny Davis in their midfield.
Jeffery broke on the counter for Wood but shot horribly wide from outside the Woking area.
Ralph worked space and curved a superb left foot cross in for Delano Sam-Yorke’s neat deflected header, but it just missed the far post. Edger charged and broke two tackles to reach the left hand edge of the area but, closing in, his cross was too high for teammates arriving on goal.
Murtagh produced a moment of real skill to create his own space, having worked into the penalty with the help of Ralph and his fierce and low left footer had Smith diving full length to tip round his far post.
Even closer was Saraiva’s free kick a couple of minutes later from wide right, which he hammered in and hit the near post of a shocked keeper Smith’s goal The rebound pinged around the 6 yard area and away when it could so easily have fallen to a Woking forward.
Five minutes of stoppage time produced a break by Ilesanmi and a vital touch by Jones to save a further goal, and little else, as the hosts held on to secure their continued climb in the top ten.
It is now 7 games without a league win and despite very creditable performances, the comeback against Eastleigh and the draw with high flying Barrow to pick two, Woking are not comfortable enough in games to hold what they have gained. With well over a third of the crowd being for Woking there should also have been more noise coming from the away fans who certainly encouraged their side throughout.
They will need to shout to be heard at Stockport where County will relish that match next Saturday. Having slipped into the bottom four with this result Woking must get their heads up again and rise to the occasion for that vital FA Cup first round clash.
Woking: Brandon Hall, Nathan Ralph, Joey Jones, Terell Thomas, Ben Jefford, Charlie Carter (Delano Sam-Yorke 72) Frankie Sutherland, Keiran Murtagh (c), Dennon Lewis (Fabio Saraiva 58), Gozie Ugwu, Matt Tubbs (Anthony Edgar 72)
Subs not used: Andy Little, Max Kretzschmar
Goals: Joey Jones 20
Boreham Wood: Grant Smith, Ben Nunn, Matt Paine, Danny Woodards, Femi Ilesanmi, Mark Ricketts, Kenny Davis (Jamie Lucas 72), Conor Clifford, Bruno Andrade, Angelo Balanta, Anthony Jeffrey.
Subs not used: Adriano Moke, Daniel Uchechi, Ben Goodliffe, Aaron Kuhl
Goals: Balanta 55, Andrade 60
Referee: Neil Hair
MOTM: Joey Jones – ably assisted at times by Terell Thomas in the centre of defence - resisted Boreham Wood and made vital interceptions. He also tried to find a ball forward to pierce the home defence on the ground especially and capped it with the goal.