WOKING 1 LEWES 1
2 September 2008
Well, this wasn?t quite what the doctor ordered! But it could have been a lot worse: the Cards left it till the 85th minute to salvage a point in a game which it seemed that they would win at a canter in the opening 20 minutes. But the point was enough at least to move us off the bottom of the table.
Injuries to Paul Lorraine, Colin Miles, Abdou El Kholti and Joel Ledgister reinforced the case for a 4-4-2 formation. Patrice Konan joined Tom Hutchinson in central defence, with Bradley Quamina pulled back into the right back position and Danny Bunce on the other side. The midfield comprised Goma Lambu, Matt Pattison, Paolo Vernazza and Gez Sole, with the two new signings, Tony Thorpe and Wilfried Domoraud, up front.
Woking started as though they would quickly overpower the Rooks. But, as so often happens in football, if you don?t make the early pressure pay, the opposition tend to come back into the game as the impetus fades. Before that occurred, however, the Cards launched waves of attacks. Domoraud had a weak header in the first minute as the ball bounced up in the box. Lambu should have done better when a good run by Danny Bunce into the box created a chance but mis-kicked. Goma?s cross for Tony Thorpe two minutes later was better, with the new signing just glancing his header wide. It was the turn next of the other new arrival, Domoraud, to get in the action when, seizing on a flicked header from Matt Pattison, he strode through on the Woking left to test the Lewes keeper with a left-footed strike. On the quarter hour mark Danny Bunce tried an ambitious effort from 30 yards, the ball passing a foot or so over the bar. A minute later a good move involving Domoraud and Lambu ended in a scramble in the box. The ball reared up but wouldn?t come down quickly enough to allow Gez Sole to get the ball on target.
Then it all started to go wrong. In the 23rd minute Matt Pattison lost the ball carelessly as Woking pushed forward. Lewes counter-attacked quickly down their right, with Danny Bunce still out of position. Tom Hutchinson tried to close down Scott Taylor, but the latter sent in a tremendous curling shot which lodged in the far top corner of the Woking goal. After the wonder strike by Forest Green Rovers? Mohamed, Kim Grant must wonder if he?s jinxed.
Woking?s play became scrappier, with some poor passing from Vernazza and colleagues in midfield. Lewes nearly doubled their lead in the 25th minute when an excellent free-kick caught Lenny Pidgeley too far off his line. The ball pinged against the cross-bar and, fortunately for the Cards, sailed clear.
Woking continued to make most of the running but looked less and less convincing as moves broke down with poor crosses or misplaced passes. Matt Pattison had a good shout for a penalty ? the first of several ignored by the referee ? as his shot was blocked. Thorpe then did well to get in a finely-angled shot from the right of the area, which the keeper parried but there was no Woking player following up.
Delano Sam-Yorke appeared just before half-time for the injured Vernazza and made an immediate impact. Taking on two defenders, he pulled the ball back smartly but Thorpe swung and missed and then Lambu, turning, crashed the ball wide of the goal.
Half-time: Woking 0 Lewes 1
With four minutes of the second half gone, Domoraud went close from a corner, heading just over the bar. But Woking weren?t able to reproduce the momentum of the opening stages of the first half. It was Delano who seemed to cause the Rooks? defenders the biggest headache, not so much from his threat on goal but because of the number of times they had to resort to fouling him to halt his powerful runs. He too had a shout for a penalty as a Lewes defender?s hand seemed to stop him in his tracks. Gez hit the wall from one of his free-kicks and Domoraud poked a left-foot effort wide after a smart turn, but the Lewes keeper wasn?t really being tested.
The minutes ticked away alarmingly as Manny Williams came on for Goma Lambu and still the Cards seemed no nearer to clawing a goal back: thoughts of victory having largely been replaced at this stage by the hope that we might grab a point. Tom Hutchinson headed over from a Danny Bunce free-kick but the main memory is of poor crosses and moves breaking down too easily. At the other end, a weak back header threatened an even bigger mountain to climb but the danger was averted.
Gez Sole did well, though, to burst through into the box in the 77th minute, forcing the keeper into a good block, with Matt Pattison?s follow-up meeting the same fate. Increasingly, the main hope seemed to lie with trying to find Tom Hutchinson?s head from throw-ins, corners and free-kicks. In the end the break-through came in the 85th minute from yet another foul on Delano. Danny Bunce?s free-kick was aimed towards Tom. A defender got there first. The ball fell on the edge of the area to the Woking player you?d most want to find in that position ? Gez Sole ? who shot home past a possibly unsighted keeper. Relief all round!
The Cards pressed for a winner, with Lenny Pidgeley pumping the ball forward, but the most promising opportunity was probably a free-kick in the sort of position Gez favours. This time, though, the ball sailed well over.
Obviously, a point is better than none but this wasn?t a convincing performance from the Cards, with no one really standing out. Tony Thorpe showed that he knew what to do but did not make much impact, whilst Wilfried Domoraud showed occasional flashes. All in all, the Cards can?t really complain that they got only a draw ? and they nearly didn?t achieve that!
Woking: Lenny Pidgeley, Bradley Quamina, Patrice Konan, Tom Hutchinson, Danny Bunce, Goma Lambu (Manny Williams, 63), Matt Pattison, Paolo Vernazza (Delano Sam-Yorke, 43), Giuseppe Sole, Tony Thorpe, Wilfried Domoraud
Unused subs: Ross Worner, Adekunle Salau, Phil Gilchrist
Booked: Giuseppe Sole, Tom Hutchinson, Wilfried Domoraud, Bradley Quamina
Sponsor?s (Repropoint) MOTM: Tom Hutchinson (pictured)