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WOKING 1 OXFORD UNITED 2

Brian Caffarey - 18th April 2008

Woking 1 Oxford United 2
19 April 2008

The Cards can consider themselves unfortunate not to have shared the spoils this afternoon in a keenly-contested encounter with Oxford United. Woking deservedly equalised early in the second half, through a Gez Sole penalty, but a goalkeeping error opened the way for United?s winner in the 77th minute. There was quite a lot to admire, though, in a very committed performance from this Woking side.

Woking were missing Tom Hutchinson at the back. Paul Lorraine and Jay Gasson, however, formed a solid central defensive partnership. Matt Gray played at right back, with the returning Danny Bunce on the other flank. Up front Liam Marum got the nod alongside Marvin Morgan.

The U?s had a great chance to take the lead as early as the 5th minute when a ball intersected the back line. The speedy Odubade chased it through. Ross Worner stayed back, narrowed the angle and made a fine save.

The Cards took a while to get going, the ball finding touch too often on the dug-out side of the pitch from throw-ins and clearances. Jay Gasson, surprisingly, had the first effort on target, popping up on the right with a sprightly run and shot, but there was not enough pace to trouble U?s keeper, Billy Turley. A nice move, a few minutes later, saw Matt Pattison?s shot, with the outside of his boot, drift comfortably wide. Oxford countered with a long-range strike from Craig McAllister before taking the lead in the 20th minute.

Turley?s hurried clearance was flicked on out to the left wing, where Odubade had plenty of space to dart into the area and finish clinically, wide of Ross Worner and into the far corner.

Gez Sole came close to levelling the scores straightaway with a characteristic, fiercely struck, free-kick, which whistled over the bar. Woking began to achieve a bit more rhythm but United showed their ruthless streak as three players went into the referee?s book in quick succession. Odubade was just foiled again in the box before, in the 39th minute, Marvin Morgan?s fine run and shot through Turley?s legs threatened a Cards equaliser. Unfortunately, Turley got just enough of a touch on the ball to halt its progress.

Half-time: Woking 0 Oxford United 1

A lively second half opened with dangerous attacks from both sides, McAllister heading over from a corner and an increasingly prominent Marvin Morgan doing well to steal the ball in the box and put over a useful cross. Liam Marum too began to run at the United defence, creating openings. At the other end, though, Odubade?s pace continued to cause problems, but Jay Gasson did superbly to thwart him twice in as many minutes. The goal Woking had been threatening, though, came in the 58th minute. Goma Lambu did well to keep a Marum pass in play in the bottom corner, in front of the LGS, and quick interplay between the two in the box resulted in a clip on Marvin?s heels for a penalty. Gez Sole has had plenty of penalty practice recently but he needed a bit of luck to convert this one. Turley saved his shot but Gez, following up, was able to ram the ball home before Turley or his defenders could intervene.

Both sides looked for a winner. Marvin Morgan?s excellent run was spoiled by a weak shot and McAllister wasted another good chance from a corner ? which Quinn repeated some 10 minutes later. The Cards continued to put some decent moves together but without having quite enough cutting edge near the goal.

In the end the match turned on a couple of goalkeeping errors from Ross Worner in the 77th minute. He failed to hold onto a high cross at his far post, conceding a corner. As the corner came over he went to intercept but failed to get there and the impressive Phil Trainer headed home.

The Cards fought hard to recover a second time. Goma Lambu probably ought to have got at least a shot in as the ball deflected nicely to him in the box but was crowded out by defenders. Bradley Quamina let fly with a thunderous effort which flew just wide and Paul Lorraine?s header from a corner arrowed straight to Turley. It was then panic stations in the United area as both Liam Marum and Marvin Morgan tried to force the ball home from an almighty scramble. Turley was fortunate too a few minutes later as the ball went loose again but no Woking player could profit. That proved to be the last throw of the dice as United rode out comfortably the last few minutes of a very competitive match.

This was my last match of the season and I went home feeling pleased with a decent Woking performance in which the ball was passed more often than in most matches this season. Nor could one question the commitment shown by the whole side. There is something there for a new manager to build on.

Woking: Ross Worner; Matt Gray, Paul Lorraine, Jay Gasson, Danny Bunce; Goma Lambu, Matt Pattison, Bradley Quamina, Giuseppe Sole; Marvin Morgan, Liam Marum

Unused subs: Nick Gindre, Adam Green, Matt Ruby, Jerome Maledon, Damian Batt

Booked: Marvin Morgan

Attendance: 1857 (including 448 from Oxford United)

Sponsor?s (GMB) MOTM: Goma Lambu (pictured)
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