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Maidenhead ease past under-par Cards

Glen Harrington - 29th August 2010

Maidenhead ease past under-par Cards Woking 0 Maidenhead United 2
Blue Square Bet South
28 August 2010

Two improved performances and a vital six points gave the Cards renewed confidence as they entertained Maidenhead United. The visitors had experienced a similar start to the season with two victories and two defeats from their first four games.

Manager Graham Baker elected for the same starting eleven and substitutes from the narrow victory over Lewes on Tuesday evening. This meant the injured Ricky Anane was still unable to return and left new signing Will Viner still waiting for his debut in goal. A notable name in the visitors’ team-sheet was former Card Bradley Quamina, all set for an enticing midfield battle against Woking skipper Mark Ricketts.

The hosts started the game on the front foot, United keeper Steve Williams forced into an early save as Dave Gilroy pulled the ball back across goal for Toby Little to shoot. Top scorer Gilroy once again looked in ominous form as, in the early stages, he showed great control and skill to turn his man before linking up well with the rampaging Aswad Thomas down the left.

However, Woking’s bright start suffered an early blow in the eleventh minute. Andy Forbes, who looked to have been hobbling since an early attack, finally gave into a suspected groin injury. The Cards forward hobbled off and was replaced by fellow target man Craig Faulconbridge.

The game quietened down at this point, Maidenhead starting to find a good rhythm and allowing the Cards little time to dwell on the ball. Despite this, Adam Doyle and Alan Inns looked in good form at the back and it was not till mid-way through the half that the visitors were able to get a sight of goal. A chip over the top found winger Alex Wall who, with surprising pace, muscled his way past last man Aswad Thomas. Clean through on goal, Wall tumbled to the ground under pressure from the Woking full-back. No penalty given.

An incredulous United Manager Johnson Hippolyte, convinced his side should be in front, did not have to wait long to get his way. Just before the half-hour mark dangerous winger Wall once again collected the ball on the right-hand side. Cutting inside Thomas, he released a speculative shot from a very tight angle – Adam Doyle bravely throwing himself in the way, only to deflect the ball past Lenny Pidgeley and agonisingly over the line.

Mark Ricketts, already struggling to keep up the heads of his team-mates, was temporarily forced off himself with a wrist injury. As the Woking captain was being bandaged up, the Cards lost all shape and Maidenhead flooded forward in pursuit of a second.

In the final five minutes of the half the Cards finally came close to finding the net themselves – if only through the most unlikely source. A cross from Moses Ademola looked to have found only the head of Maidenhead defender Mark Nisbet. Nonetheless, the Maidenhead skipper appeared to completely lose his bearings, powering his header against the underside of his own crossbar. The ball cannoned down to the floor but, despite vigorous appeals, it was judged not to have crossed the line.

Half-time: Woking 0 Maidenhead United 1

The Cards continued to struggle after the break and soon withdrew Moses Ademola and Jerome Maledon in favour of Daryn Hennessy and Sam Hurrell.

With the midfield still trying to sort out its shape and with strikers Faulconbridge and Gilroy still horribly isolated, the visitors deservedly doubled their advantage. A neat spell of passing play found star-man Kieron St. Aime in acres of space, and he made no mistake firing past Lenny Pidgeley – Cards fans already heading for the exits.

To their credit the Cards fought back as they sought to avoid a likely ear-bashing from their management team. Toby Little returned to the left-hand side and Sam Hurrell joined Ricketts in the centre of the park, a position where he was impressive in pre-season. Daryn Hennessy took Ademola’s position on the right-hand side and Faulconbridge and Gilroy finally managed to get their feet on the ball. A whipped cross from Thomas came closest to a Cards’ consolation as McNerney, sliding in at the back post, could only find the side netting.

At the other end Maidenhead, who had been struggling for goals up until this match, were eager to cancel out their own negative goal difference. Only smart stops from Pidgeley denied both Kieron St. Aime and Ashley Nicholls.

The Cards finally mustered a consistent spell of pressure in the closing stages, with Joe McNerney’s fine header looping over the keeper, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag. Little and McNerney both saw their free-kicks well saved by Steve Williams, who finally began earning his match fee when he pulled off a fine save to deny Gilroy’s shot in anger.

The game eventually ground to halt after three added minutes, the uninspiring Cards booed from the field by those home fans who had remained to see the final minutes. Take nothing away from Maidenhead, who worked hard for each other and thoroughly deserved their result, but these are the games the Cards must win to match the performances of late last season. Woking will perhaps feel harshly done by after the “did it cross the line?” incident and McNerney’s disallowed goal, but unfortunately any sort of result might have flattered the hosts. On the plus side the Cards remain just three points away from the play-off places and have the ideal chance to correct their performance with Monday’s match at Boreham Wood.

Woking: Lenny Pidgeley, Joe McNerney, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Alan Inns, Adam Doyle, Moses Ademola (Daryn Hennessy 63), Jerome Maledon (Sam Hurrell 63), Andy Forbes (Craig Faulconbridge 11), Dave Gilroy, Toby Little.

Unused subs: Francis Quarm, Gomez Dali.

Bookings: McNerney 65.

Maidenhead United: Steve Williams, Bobby Behzadi (Emmanuel Sackey 76), Jack Bradshaw, Ashley Nicholls, Mark Nisbet, Andrew Fagan, Alex Wall (Daniel Brown 72), Bradley Quamina, Kieran Knight, Kieron St. Aimie, Ashley Smith (Lee Barney 80).

Unused subs: Jon Munday, Warren Carter.

Goals: Wall 29, St. Aimie 68.

Bookings: Wall 48, Quamina 88, St. Aimie 90.

MOTM: Dave Gilroy – worked hard but received little service throughout, left frustrated.

Attendance: 952
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