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High drama as Woking edge home

Brian Caffarey - 25th April 2011

High drama as Woking edge home Woking 4 Weston-super-Mare 3
25 April 2011

What a fantastic game! But, if you’re a Woking fan, you probably couldn’t truly savour it until the referee blew the final whistle after eight minutes of added time. Typical Woking! What ought to have been a straightforward home win over a mid-table side turned into a roller-coaster ride which, in turn, appalled and delighted the Kingfield faithful as the Cards went 2-0 down, pulled the game back to 3-2, conceded an equaliser and then grabbed all three points with the best of four superb home goals.

The win, combined with other results, lifted Woking to 4th place in the table, still needing a point from their last game at Ebbsfleet next Saturday to be absolutely sure of a play-off place.

A sun-drenched crowd, packed with kids making the best of the ‘free entry’ initiative, settled down to watch a game the Cards had to win to retain the initiative in their quest for a play-off place. The only change from Saturday’s side at Farnborough was the addition of James Walker in place of the injured Mark Ricketts – whose absence was certainly felt on an afternoon when the Woking defence, lacking the skipper’s defensive shield, looked horribly exposed at times against a nifty Weston forward line.

The expectant home crowd of nearly 2,000 were no doubt looking forward to a Woking offensive but were in for a dreadful shock. With only four minutes on the clock, Weston swung in a free-kick from the Woking left. Price rose and looped a header towards the far corner of the goal. Those fans sitting in the LGS may have realised instantly that the ball had gone over Andy Little and into the net but out on the Chris Lane Terrace it just looked as though it had gone harmlessly over the bar. The silence was gradually replaced by the disturbing realisation that the Cards were 1-0 down!

Weston continued to make the running as Ingram fired in a shot, which, however, was very comfortable this time for Little. The Cards responded – with the added encouragement of great vocal support from the KRE – as Inns headed over. A Ricky Anane cross looked promising and then Moses Ademola did superbly to pull the ball back from the byeline only for Walker’s shot to be blocked.

The Seagulls continued to look threatening as they broke quickly from defence. The Cards were fortunate not to concede another goal as their opponents took a quick free-kick, with the Weston striker’s effort only just being foiled by a combination of Anane and Little.

Craig Dobson fashioned an excellent run down the right, with his superb cross being headed out for a corner. The next chance fell to Inns again in the 24th minute as he rose well to head an Andy Burgess free-kick just over the bar, with the keeper having committed himself.

A minute later, though, it began to look like a nightmare afternoon for the Cards as the visitors went 2-0 up. Joe McNerney dithered on Woking’s left flank and was robbed. The ball was played into Kirk, who scooped it past Little.

Woking desperately needed to get back into the game quickly and, fortunately, did just that. Ademola and Elvis Hammond combined well to feed Aswad Thomas down the left, who swung in a tremendous low cross, which Dobson met with a bullet header from a couple of yards out. 1-2!

Roared on by the home crowd, the Cards sought to pull another goal back, although not till after another scare at the back when a ball was played over Inns, with the Weston forward just unable to profit from it. Thomas, again, showed great determination as he burst through two defenders. His cross was mis-hit but found Walker. By the time the latter had turned, however, his shot was blocked.

As the game swung from end to end, Ingram nearly took advantage of a loose ball from Dobson and then McNerney dealt coolly with another Weston attack, moving the ball sweetly out of defence.

Disaster almost struck in the 34th minute as the Woking defence hesitated as the linesman flagged. Ingram looked certain to score as he fired in a fierce effort but lightning-quick reflexes enabled Anane to stick out a boot on the line and divert the ball for a corner.

After that extremely fortunate ‘let-off’ the Cards pressed forward again. Dobson crossed dangerously but no one gambled at the near post. And then with 42 minutes gone Ademola seized on a loose ball in the box and volleyed superbly, high with his right foot, arcing the ball towards the intersection of post and bar and then off the woodwork and into the net. 2-2!

Ademola was centre stage again just before half-time when his clever footwork opened up a cross but, again, no one was in the area looking for it. And, just before the whistle, Inns rose once more from a Dobson corner but got just under the ball.

Half-time: Woking 2 Weston-super-Mare 2

The Cards started the second half sloppily and were lucky not to go behind again. McNerney cleared weakly, Diallo ran through, rounded Little, who had tried to close him down near the byeline and crossed to Ingram just beyond the far post. Fortunately for Cards fans, the Weston top scorer nodded wide with the goal at his mercy.

More uncertainty followed as Little struggled with a back pass, nearly getting caught by an opposing forward as he attempted to clear. Kirk then went close with a header from a corner.

At last Woking began to pull themselves together as Burgess threaded a ball through to Hammond. He thrashed the ball into the centre, where Walker did well to connect with it first time, sending a volley just wide.

In the 58th minute some careless play by Trowbridge handed the initiative to the Cards. Being harried as he attempted to play the ball out of defence, he passed straight to Michael Dougherty, who immediately played it forward to Hammond in plenty of space. The Woking striker strode forward and unleashed a tremendous strike from the edge of the area which beat the keeper all ends up. 3-2 to the Cards!

Surely, having got their noses in front at last, the Cards would go on and make the game safe? With Ollie Palmer now on for Walker, Woking pressed forward, winning several corners down the left as Thomas, linking up well with the impressive Dougherty, made good progress down the left flank. But some passages of fluent play didn’t quite create the opening needed.

Instead it was the visitors – and all credit to them for making such a terrific game of a match which was of no real consequence to them – who struck decisively in the 73rd minute. As a high ball came over, Little tried unsuccessfully to collect it through a crowd of players. He then tried to usher a player away towards the byeline but his defenders meanwhile had failed to pick up Kirk, who, when the ball was played back to him, had time to steady himself, take aim and fire into the net. 3-3!

After a lengthy stoppage during which Little had his head bandaged, and the other players had a much-needed drink of water, the game resumed, with Woking desperately seeking a fourth goal. Palmer had the ball taken off his toes as he sought to latch onto a Hammond flick, and then Ademola’s surge into the box nearly produced an opening at the far post, before Burgess (pictured), in the 82nd minute, conjured up a sensational strike to put the Cards ahead once more. Picking up the ball out right, he looked up and then caressed the ball with his left foot up and over the keeper and into the far corner. A goal worthy to win any game.

But no Woking fan was counting chickens at that stage, given the way this match had see-sawed. On the stroke of full-time Nathan Koranteng, on for Ademola, made a fine run down the left but Lyle Taylor, on for Hammond, couldn’t quite reach his cross.

Into eight minutes of added time, the Cards tried to keep the ball in the Weston corners as far as possible, while Palmer chased and closed down as if his life depended on it. The only real worry came from a Weston corner but Little dived acrobatically to punch the ball away. At the other end, Taylor played Doughty through the middle but the Weston keeper came out to block his effort in a one-on-one.

At last the final whistle went, heralding a pitch invasion by excited young fans, while their older brethren waited to hear the results of play-off rivals and tried to get their breath back after one of the most exhilarating games ever seen at Kingfield.

Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Michael Doughty, Joe McNerney, Alan Inns, Craig Dobson, Andy Burgess, Moses Ademola (Nathan Koranteng 87), Elvis Hammond (Lyle Taylor 85), James Walker (Ollie Palmer 62)

Unused subs: Dave Gilroy, James Pullen

Sponsor’s MOTM: Elvis Hammond

Attendance: 1975

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