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Last gasp Boro' sting the Cards

Glen Harrington - 5th March 2011

Last gasp Boro' sting the Cards Woking 1 Farnborough 1
Blue Square Bet South
5th March 2011


A Dale Binns goal, deep into second-half stoppage time, cruelly denied the Cards all three points in an extremely scrappy affair at Kingfield. Kieran Murtagh’s early strike looked to have been enough to give Woking victory in a fiercely contested local derby, before Binns’ late effort.

Manager Garry Hill unsurprisingly named the same Woking side that had won so convincingly against Lewes and Ebbsfleet, new signing Nathan Koranteng also making the bench. His opposite number Steve King made just one change to the team that were 2-0 victors over Dorchester last weekend, bringing in Dale Binns in place of Michael Malcolm.

As has been well documented, both squads came into the game on the back of strong runs – the Cards victorious in their last seven without conceding, the visitors winning four of the last five, including matching their hosts' 3-0 victory over Ebbsfleet United.

With easily the best Kingfield crowd of the league season present, also the third highest of the Blue Square Bet South term so far, the game started with high volume and high tension. The Cards could not have asked for a better start to settle those nerves. A lovely move culminated in Elvis Hammond collecting possession on the edge of the area. Turning his defender, he slipped the ball through for Kieran Murtagh, recently awarded the league’s player of the month award for February, who finished coolly into the bottom left-hand corner.

Unperturbed, the visitors looked for an instant reply, Binns getting the ball into the area, only for Kezei Ibe to fire over under pressure from Adam Doyle (pictured), playing against his former club. Three minutes later and Doyle was again involved, looking as if he had brought down Ibe as he attempted to race clear in the area. Thankfully, the referee did not agree – no penalty.

However, Steve King in the Farnborough technical area appeared not to share the official’s lenient view. And that would be an understatement. After two minutes of continuing to berate the linesman, King was give his marching orders and, having eventually left his seat, headed straight down the tunnel.

Buoyed by the displeasure of their opposition's players and supporters, the Cards looked to press forward in search of a second – headers from Murtagh and McNerney forcing Boro’ keeper Michael Jordan into action.

But it was Moses Ademola who was to come closest to doubling the hosts' lead. A corner, swung in by Craig Dobson, was met by the head of Adam Doyle as the Cards continued their aerial dominance. Despite Jordan getting a leg to it, the ball deflected out to Ademola, who seemed certain to score from six yards, the goal gaping. It was not to be.

Shortly afterwards Moses again had his head in his hands – a flowing move from the Cards commencing with Hammond breaking free after a Farnborough corner, with Murtagh then being allowed the time and space in the middle of the park to pick out a pass for Ademola. Taking it first time, Ademola struck it with his left foot, disappointingly seeing the ball fly wide of Jordan’s left post. While it remained only 1-0, the visitors were still very much in the game.

Half-time: Woking 1 Farnborough 0

Minutes into the second half and Moses contrived to make it a hat-trick of chances. Collecting the ball from Murtagh, Ademola did well to hold off the defender, and attempt the shot on the turn,but was unfortunate to see what was the most difficult of his three chances go narrowly wide.

With Craig Dobson looking tired and struggling to get into the game on a heavy pitch, new signing Nathan Koranteng, another loan player from Peterborough, got his chance, almost immediately making a telling contribution. Aswad Thomas barrelled his way down the left and fed the ball down the line for Koranteng. A couple of strides later and the cross came in, Hammond unlucky to turn his shot wide.

The Boro’ continued to plug away and were proving, as expected, by far and away the biggest test of Garry Hill's and Steve Thompson’s magnificent run at Woking’s helm. Jack King hit his 65th minute volley straight at Andy Little.

With several other players in red and white also appearing to be feeling the strain of Tuesday’s win, Hill opted for two changes in quick succession, replacing the hard-working Davies with Ollie Palmer, and bringing on the more physical defensive presence of Reiss Noel in place of Ricky Anane.

The Cards' defending was becoming desperate and, despite an Ademola header wide, the visitors were enjoying their first real spell of sustained pressure on the Woking back-line. McNerney, Doyle and captain Mark Ricketts, in particular, were all doing wonderfully well to restrict the number of opposition chances – Binns driving his cross through the Woking area, only for no one to be able to connect.

Boro’ were running out of options and, in desperation, Assistant Manager Justin Skinner threw on the more attack-minded Anthony Thomas and Michael Malcolm in place of their two full-backs.

With no board signalling added time, the Cards were merely attempting to hold out until they heard the blissful sound of the referee’s whistle. They couldn’t hold on. Four minutes past the ninety and Ibe somehow made his way past Doyle, squeezing in his cross and leaving Binns free to tap in the first goal Woking have conceded in over twelve hours of football – sending the strong travelling support into waves of delight.

So, in the end, a little cruel on Woking who had battled bravely, especially in the second half, with the Boro’ side possibly showing the fitness advantage of having gone without a mid-week fixture. Adam Doyle, the Cards’ stand out player, much to the displeasure of those who once counted him one of their own, not only matching but surpassing his usual exploits, and doing well to ignore the jeers and taunts of the travelling support. Ricketts too was immense, chasing and harrying everything in midfield, and was one of those left spread-eagled on the floor at the sound of the final whistle.

Although many Woking fans may see this as two points dropped, especially with the Cards falling to eighth in the table, it is worth remembering the position this team was in at the start of the seven match winning run. The hosts remain unbeaten in eight league games, conceding just that single Binns goal, and have picked up a vital point in a game against high-flying opposition, who themselves made every effort to be worthy of the draw.

It is also worth noting that of the twelve games remaining the Cards face members of the current top five only three times, a game at home to Welling and visits to Ebbsfleet and Farnborough. The season is far from over and with the teams between second and eighth still separated by just nine points, anything really could happen. It all starts again with Tuesday’s visit to Weston-super-Mare.

Woking: Andrew Little, Ricky Anane (Reiss Noel 75), Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Craig Dobson (Nathan Koranteng 55), Kieran Murtagh, Moses Ademola, Elvis Hammond, Jay Davies (Ollie Palmer 70).

Unused Subs: Craig Faulconbridge, Matt Pegler.

Goals: Murtagh 4.

Bookings: McNerney 46, Anane 50, Doyle 87.

Farnborough: Michael Jordan, Osei Sankofa (Michael Malcolm 84), Craig Braham-Barrett (Anthony Thomas 84), Jack King, Steve Robinson, James Smith, Bradley Bubb, Gary Holloway, Kezei Ibe, Dean McDonald (Paul Booth 58), Dale Binns.

Unused Subs: Nic Ciardini, Owen Price.

Goals: Binns 90+4.

Bookings: Holloway 17, Braham-Barrett 68, Binns 72, Malcolm 88.

Sponsors’ and Supporters’ MOTM: Adam Doyle – Endured unwelcome abuse from the Farnborough supporters all afternoon, responding with one of his best performances yet. Did not deserve to see his side concede the late equaliser.

Attendance: 2,123
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