Woking 3 Gateshead 0
Vanarama National League
26th November 2016
Gozie Ugwu produced a predatory performance in front of goal to guide the Cards to a much-needed home victory over Gateshead. A skilful header in the first half was followed up by two opportunist finishes in the second half to secure his first Woking hat-trick and three points for the home side. The win moves Woking up a place into 19th position in the Vanarama National League.
Gateshead arrived at Kingfield having accumulated an impressive 38 goals this season and were unbeaten in the league since September. Garry Hill appeared to select a side with strong emphasis on defence in order to counter the threat from the visitors. He made two changes to the midweek defeat at Dover. Ismail Yakubu and Dennon Lewis earned recalls to the side at the expense of Charlie Carter and Luke Kandi.
The Cards attacked the Jewson Stand in the first half. At first both teams struggled to create any clear openings with each trying to get an understanding of their opponent.
However, that soon changed in the 9th minute when Jake Caprice beat his man. Though he initially stumbled after a trip from a stray leg Caprice managed to keep his footing and get away down the right side of the field. Sensing players advancing into the penalty box Caprice hit a mid-height cross to the near post. Ugwu managed to out manoeuvre his marker and stoop low to expertly head the ball down into the bottom corner for an early Cards lead.
The goal seemed to initially settle the Cards but a mix up in the 17th minute between Saah and Thomas allowed Sam Jones to race clear for the Tynesiders. Saah recovered well and managed to track back to get an important tackle in just as Jones was preparing to shoot.
In the 19th minute a late low tackle by Joey Jones earned him a booking and a stern talking to from the referee. The resulting free kick was met by Manny Smith who headed over the bar.
In similar fashion to the earlier goal Caprice managed to again race clear down the right wing. However, this time his cross was cleared for a corner by Brundle. The resulting play led to an inviting low cross being delivered by Saraiva from the right. On this occasion, no Cards player was able to get on the end of the cross.
Moments later Lewis managed to escape the offside trap and race clear of the Gateshead defence. After drawing the advancing goalkeeper, he squared the ball for Shaw who was racing through the join him. Unfortunately, there was just a little too much power on the cross for the despairing Shaw to be able to claim what would have been a certain tap-in to an empty goal.
The Cards continued to press the Gateshead back line. Murtagh found the space to be able to break forward. Sensing Ugwu with him he played an early through ball sending the striker clear. Ugwu steadied himself and hit a powerful shot which was clawed over the bar well by Hanford.
For the remainder of the first period the Cards found themselves having to retreat as Gateshead fought back. A number of high crosses were met by the Tynesiders attacking line though none ultimately threatened Woking’s goal. Towards the end of the half a coming together left Dennon Lewis down injured with Gateshead breaking forward with the numerical advantage. A series of forward passes led to McLoughlin hitting a powerful shot that narrowly rose over the bar, much to the relief of Brandon Hall who had been unable to get a hand to the ball.
Half Time: Woking 1 Gateshead 0
The second half began with each side making a change. Atkinson was replaced by York for the Tynesiders. However, Woking’s substitution appeared to be an enforced one with Keiran Murtagh appearing to show discomfort at the end of the first half. He was replaced in midfield by Frankie Sutherland.
Initially the changes appeared to favour the visitors with them taking a greater control of the game. When Thomas was slow to clear the ball it almost allowed Johnson a free shot on goal. Moments later a similar lead up led to Sam Jones shooting on the turn though to the relief of the Cards his shot was high and wide of the near post.
A long throw from Brundle again infiltrated the Cards defence as it was met in the penalty box by Bolton. Again, his free shot should have tested Hall better as it rose over the bar.
Sensing that his side could be beginning to lose control of the game Garry Hill made a change. Dennon Lewis being sacrificed for Anthony Edgar in the 55th minute. This substitution seemed to lift the Cards and the pendulum of play swung back in their favour. Consecutive tackles by Edgar and Sutherland led to a piercing ball into the Gateshead penalty box. Only the decisive defending of Bolton prevented the opportunity for somebody to get on the end of the cross.
However, three minutes later the Cards had doubled their lead with the Cards pressuring some pondering defence from the visitors. Saraiva charged towards Hanford as he looked to comfortably claim the ball and sensing the pressure made a mess in his attempt to clear. The loose ball fell to Ugwu in the centre of the visitor’s half and though Hogan sensed the danger and raced back towards his goal line as cover Ugwu coolly passed the ball between goalkeeper and defender into the unprotected net.
Though Gateshead briefly threatened to get back in the game with a fierce shot by Johnson that was beaten out by Hall the next significant attack in the 72nd minute sealed the game. This time a hopeful high ball over the Gateshead back line found the Tynesiders chasing back to clear. As McLaughlin advanced towards his own goal and Hanford moved out of his goal to collect neither appeared to sense that Ugwu was seeking to get in between them. When the ball bounced, it gave Ugwu the perfect opportunity to get his foot in ahead of McLaughlin and lob the ball over Hanford to seal the win and a hat-trick.
Despite the now certainty of defeat Gateshead continued to press the Cards until the very end. After Fyfield had advanced down the left wing and was caught by Caprice earning the Woking number 2 a booking; the resulting free kick was calmly headed away by Thomas when surrounding by opposing players.
In one last effort to deny Brandon Hall his clean sheet a low cross by York was cleverly deflected by Johnson with the outside of his foot towards the far post. However, much to Hall’s relief, it narrowly sailed wide of the far post.
The Cards will hope to follow up this win with another next week as they host Bromley in the Vanarama National League on Tuesday.
Brandon Hall, Jake Caprice, Frazer Shaw, Terell Thomas, Ismail Yakubu (c), Brian Saah, Joey Jones (Delano Sam-Yorke 86), Fabio Saraiva, Dennon Lewis (Anthony Edgar 54), Keiran Murtagh (Frankie Sutherland 46), Gozie Ugwu
Unused subs: Michael Poke, Luke Kandi
Goals: Gozie Ugwu (9, 56, 72)
Booked: Jones, Shaw, Caprice
Dan Hanford, James Bolton, Manny Smith, Liam Hogan (c), Jamal Fyfield, Wes Atkinson (Wes York 46), Mitch Brundle, Russell Penn, Paddy McLaughlin, Danny Johnson, Sam Jones
Unused subs: Sam Johnson, George Smith, Gus Mafuta, Luke Hannant
Booked: Fyfield, Hogan
Sponsors MOTM: Gozie Ugwu: Goals win games. It was Ugwu’s determination and his ability to take his chances that helped him to register his first Cards hat-trick and a valuable Cards victory.
Referee: Dean Treleaven