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Cards leave it late

Brian Caffarey - 10th November 2010

Cards leave it late Bromley 2 Woking 2
9 November 2010

Graham Baker would probably have settled for a point from this game before kick-off, especially given the inevitable distraction of Woking’s FA Cup run. As it was, the Cards took the lead in the first half, briefly raising hopes that another win on the road would boost play-off prospects. In the end, though, his side had to rely on an injury-time penalty to grab a point from hosts who should have wrapped the game up well before then.

As expected, Graham brought in Craig Faulconbridge and Dave Gilroy up front, neither of whom had figured at the Withdean Stadium on Saturday, along with Alan Inns for the injured Adam Doyle at centre back. Elvis Hammond and Moses Ademola dropped to the bench, where they were joined by youth team keeper Jordan Kennedy, replacing Matt Pegler, who had been involved in a car crash the previous day.

Bromley had an early chance when a poor clearance from the otherwise reliable Joe McNerney allowed the ever-dangerous Warren McBean to run through into the area. Fortunately for Woking, he over-elaborated and the chance fizzled out as defenders recovered.

Jerome Federico, switching flanks from left to right, looked to be the Cards’ best outlet early on, though he faded in the second half. His pace fashioned a couple of quick breaks downfield, the second of which ended with an ambitious effort which flew well wide.

In marked contrast to the game at Brighton, this match was open, with both sides seeing a substantial amount of the ball in their opponents’ half. Bromley’s short passing game was easy on the eye and in McBean and Tony Finn they had front men with pace who could test defenders with quick breaks. Woking’s back line, though, held firm and benefited from a number of offside decisions.

A smart save by Andy Little in the 13th minute proved to be unnecessary as a result of one of those decisions. Woking replied with a blocked shot by Jerome Maledon after Gilroy had chested down a fine diagonal cross from Federico.

Little was called into action again as Finn whipped in a fierce free-kick which the Woking keeper was able to hold securely only at the second attempt. The ‘tit for tat’ continued as Francis Quarm drove an excellent volley narrowly over the bar, whilst Little did well to pull out, from just under the bar, a free-kick from Marlon Patterson.

The Cards got their noses in front in the 23rd minute in fortuitous fashion. McNerney’s free-kick straight into the box was back-headed on by Inns. As a Bromley defender tried to hack the ball clear it hit Gilroy’s back and looped over the stranded keeper and into the net.

Woking came close to getting a second goal straightaway as Maledon, receiving from Ricky Anane in the right of the area, slid a lovely ball across towards Gilroy at the far post but it asked just too much of the front man.

Woking’s lead did not last long. In the 33rd minute Aswad Thomas ‘sold’ himself in an attempted tackle on the Woking left. A high looping cross was swung in towards the far post. McBean, apparently unchallenged, rose superbly to power a header back into the opposite corner to level the scores at 1-1.

The Cards continued to find openings in the Bromley defence whilst also looking vulnerable to the Ravens’ quick breaks. Faulconbridge slipped a nice pass to Gilroy but the Bromley keeper was out quickly to smother his shot. Thomas then connected with a corner but his header went straight to the keeper. Gilroy had another effort blocked. He was unable to control the ball as the defence obligingly played it back out to him but Thomas sent in a deep cross which Faulconbridge nodded back to Maledon. The midfielder was unable, however, to get sufficiently over the dropping ball and skied it over the bar.

An entertaining and open first half ended with another terrific free-kick from Patterson, which drew an equally fine save from Little, diving to his left to palm the ball away.

Half-time: Bromley 1 Woking 1

Graham Baker brought on Moses Ademola at half-time in place of Quarm. On the face of it, the Cards had plenty of pace down the flanks to exploit but neither Federico nor Ademola was able to make much impact as the half progressed.

Bromley started the second half slowly, with some sloppy play allowing the Cards plenty of possession. With only a couple of minutes gone, Faulconbridge appeared to have a great chance as a defender’s mis-hit back pass put him in a position to lob the keeper, who was in nomansland, but he chose instead to play the ball inside to Gilroy, who was quickly snuffed out by a combination of keeper and defender.

Ademola then tore into the right of the area, only to be frustrated by a well-timed tackle. Gilroy was next to find himself in a shooting position but, again, the opportunity was lost as defenders got back to cover. Then Maledon, soon to be substituted by Charlie Turnbull, nearly profited as the Bromley keeper fumbled a save.

After some 10 minutes or so of Cards’ dominance Bromley seemed to stage a recovery, whilst Woking began to lose possession too cheaply. Thomas did well to rob a Bromley attacker as he prepared to shoot. Bromley’s John Scarborough then wasted a decent opportunity as his downward header went wide.

Bromley’s pressure paid off in the 61st minute. The Cards failed to prevent a cross coming in from their right, which was pulled back to Scarborough, who stabbed home to make it 2-1 to the home side.

A poor clearance from the Bromley keeper raised away fans’ hopes of a quick response but the ball bounced off Faulconbridge and the chance was gone. That was his last bit of the action as Elvis Hammond then came on in his place.

With their tails up, and Woking having to push forward, it looked fairly likely that Bromley would make the game safe with a third goal. McNerney and Little did well, though, to thwart McBean as he tore into the area. There was more frustration for home fans as Finn broke fast down the right wing only to dither before moving the ball on too late. He tried to make amends a few minutes later with a curling left-footed strike but it was comfortably wide of the far post.

With Woking’s passing tending to make little headway, the Cards increasingly resorted to long balls, trying to take advantage of the pace of Ademola and Hammond. One such ball reached Ademola but his cross was hit so fiercely and so deep that it gave his team mates little chance of getting on the end of it. Another long ball from McNerney came to Gilroy but he chose, surprisingly, to swing a boot at it rather than bring it under control.

There seemed little prospect of the Cards pulling a goal back as attacks faltered and the minutes slipped away, whilst McBean spurned a glorious chance to kill the game off, glancing a perfect cross wide of Little’s goal. Dunk made a strong run into the box but his effort was wide of the post and then Little came out to prevent Vines getting a shot in.

Into injury time, McNerney played another long ball, finding Hammond in the box. He was nearly tripped as he veered right. Staying on his feet, he managed to get his shot away, which was stopped by a defender’s hand for a last-gasp penalty.

Gilroy (pictured) insisted on taking it and tucked it comfortably away for his second goal of the night.

There was just time for Harwood to attempt a late winner for the home side but his left-footed strike was off target.

This was a very respectable performance from Woking, especially in the first half, against a side sitting second in the table. Bromley fans will no doubt feel that, on the balance of play, their side should have claimed all three points but the Cards’ willingness to fight to the end – seen in late recoveries in several recent games – was much to their credit. They now need to go for all three points at home on Saturday against another highly-placed side, Chelmsford City, putting aside all thoughts of the Cup replay against Brighton next Tuesday.

Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Alan Inns, Joe McNerney, Jerome Maledon (Charlie Turnbull 57), Francis Quarm (Moses Ademola 46), Craig Faulconbridge (Elvis Hammond 67), Dave Gilroy, Jerome Federico

Unused subs: Jordan Kennedy, Ola Sogbanmu

Booked: Alan Inns

My MOTM: Joe McNerney

Attendance: 408





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