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Woking rock Maidstone United for first away win of the season

Haydn Cobb - 19th November 2016

Woking rock Maidstone United for first away win of the season Maidstone United 0 Woking 3
Vanarama National League
19th November 2016

A brace from Gozie Ugwu steered Woking to their first away win of the season in the league which saw them rise out of the relegation zone in the Vanarama National League.

Fabio Saraiva got Woking on their way with his sixth league goal of the season to give Garry Hill’s side the lead on the half-hour mark before Ugwu doubled the advantage five minutes later with a bullet header.

Ugwu’s second goal came in an almost identical fashion to his first thanks to smart work by Jake Caprice which enabled the striker to nod home and wrap up Woking’s first win on the road this season.

What could please Hill even more than the three goals was a first clean sheet in the league for two months as the Cards end their winless run of eight league matches.

Woking boss Hill made three changes to his starting line-up with Chike Kandi and Terrell Thomas returning plus new signing Frazer Shaw in immediately placed at left back.

Woking’s previous outing on a 3G artificial pitch was a frustrating loss at Sutton United but the Cards, with a timely confidence boost from the Surrey Senior Cup win on Tuesday night, looked comfortable in possession in the early stages.

Hunting a first away win in the league this season, it was Maidstone who had the early chances but goalkeeper Brandon Hall easily dealt with the opening efforts on the Woking goal.

After weathering the home team’s pressure in wintery rain, the away side grew into the game with Murtagh making threatening runs into the Maidstone United box, given more freedom in midfield with Joey Jones playing the holding midfielder role.

Murtagh proved the inspiration for Woking’s opener as he was fed the ball into the inside-left channel by Frazer before reaching the goal line and cutting back to an onrushing Saraiva. Fresh from his midweek hat-trick, Saraiva had the presence of mind to slot his left-foot effort around the Maidstone bodies and into the bottom right corner.

With the Gallagher Stadium stunned into silence on the half-hour mark, Woking doubled their lead five minutes later through Ugwu’s fifth league goal of the campaign. Jake Caprice carved out a yard of space on the right flank to whip in a delightful cross for Ugwu to attack from the back post and nod back across goalkeeper Lee Worgan.

Despite Woking’s recent woes on the road, the away side kept their composure to see out the half by limiting their hosts to just one other shot on goal, which required an outstretched Hall to beat out Bradley Hudson-Odoi’s curling freekick.

Halftime: Maidstone United 0 Woking 2

With the home side eager to get back into the match Maidstone United started on the front foot but the Cards soaked up the pressure and posed a threat on the counterattack.

It was Woking who had the best chances early on, with Ugwu’s fizzing shift and shot blocked out by Worgan, while Charlie Carter saw a free header narrowly flash past the left-hand post.

In truth Woking could have had their first away win of the season wrapped up inside an hour with an open opportunity for Saraiva and his second goal of the game. The Cards worked the ball well across the Stones penalty box to find Saraiva in plenty of space on the left but his unchallenged effort was blazed over the crossbar.

However, Woking never lost composure with the knowledge opportunities would continue to come and Ugwu gave his team a three-goal cushion with less than 20 minutes remaining. In an almost role replay of Ugwu’s first of the afternoon, Caprice sprinted down the right wing to deliver a pinpoint cross for his striker to head home in front of the travelling supporters.

In a season where Hill’s side has continued to demonstrate flashes of high quality football, Woking were eager to cap a terrific performance with a first clean sheet in the league in two months. Former Cards player Yemi Odubade was substituted on for Maidstone United and the pacey forward threatened but the Woking’s backline held firm to complete the team’s best performance of the season so far.

Maidstone United: Lee Worgan; Callum Driver, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Kevin Lokko; James Rodgers, Bradley Hudson-Odoi (Yemi Odubade 72), Jack Paxman, Alex Flisher, Bobby-Joe Taylor (Ben Greenhalgh 79), Jamar Loza

Unused subs: Liam Enver-Marum, Dan Sweeney, Jack Evans

Bookings: Rodgers (35)

Woking: Brandon Hall; Jake Caprice, Brain Saah, Terrell Thomas, Frazer Shaw; Fabio Saraiva, Joey Jones (Frankie Sutherland 82), Charlie Carter, Keiran Murtagh, Chike Kandi (Delano Sam-Yorke 68); Gozie Ugwu (Anthony Edgar 84)

Unused subs: Andy Little, Ismail Yakubu

Goals: Saraiva (29), Ugwu (34, 72)

Bookings: Murtagh (58)

Referee: Chris O’Donnell

MOTM: Gozie Ugwu – Shone brightest alongside a number of star performers with his clinical finishes for two goals.

Attendance: 2147
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