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Cards suffer first home defeat

Brian Caffarey - 19th August 2017

Cards suffer first home defeat Woking 0 Leyton Orient 2
Vanarama National League
19 August 2017

The Cards can have no complaints about this defeat. There was no shortage of effort but a distinct lack of guile and penetration, with only one, weak, attempt on target the whole afternoon. After a dull, fairly even, first half Orient started the second period on the front foot and quickly took the lead when Macauley Bonne side-footed home an excellent cross from another ex-Woking player, Jake Caprice. Bonne made the game safe with a fine finish with a few minutes to go.

On a bright afternoon in front of a good crowd the Cards lined up as on Tuesday evening, the only change being the appearance of Jason Banton on the substitutes’ bench in place of Ivan Nsimbi.

Both sides started cautiously – understandably so in Orient’s case in view of the 6-1 hammering they had endured midweek at Bromley. But there was an absence of caution about the first talking point: a wayward header from Josh Staunton, from a strange back pass from Joe Ward, after five minutes which flew wide of Nathan Baxter for a corner. Neither side seemed able to wrest control of the game for more than a few minutes. Kane Ferdinand and Chez Isaac looked comfortable, but not especially creative, in midfield, while Orient had clearly done their homework on Ward, forcing him inside, where, on a couple of occasions, he might perhaps have had a pot shot rather than trying to get a better angle. Bobson Bawling, on the other flank, was also closed down. Woking’s attacking attempts weren’t helped by poor deliveries from the first two corners gained.

James Dayton, for the visitors, looked more creative, finding space, but in the first half at least little came of his promptings. On 19 minutes he fed Bonne, but the latter skied the ball high into the Leslie Gosden Stand. Jobi McAnuff shot across the goal soon afterwards and Baxter punched clear a Dayton free-kick.

The game continued to splutter, with both sides’ attacking moves tending to break down before the penalty area was reached. Richard Orlu could not get enough on a Ward free-kick to the far post to direct it back across the goal. Philpot went closest for Woking in the 33rd minute when he curled a shot wide of the far post, while Orlu’s long leg just foiled David Mooney when the experienced striker threatened to get clear in the area.

Two minutes before the end of an uneventful half Drayton dragged a free-kick wide of Baxter’s near post, having managed to evade the defensive wall. Joe Widdowson made a dangerous run into the right of the area but the move ended with Mooney being booked for diving.

As the half ended, both sides were probably content to go in on level terms but one or other needed to up their game if the stalemate was to be broken.

Half-time: Woking 0 Leyton Orient 0

It was Orient who quickly took the initiative after the break. Dayton latched onto a high ball, letting fly with a decent volley, which Baxter held cleanly down at his near post. Then Alex Lawless, from a central position, hit a rising drive narrowly over the bar. On 50 minutes the visitors’ pressure paid off. Dayton swung a ball wide to Caprice, who crossed low into the box, leaving Bonne with a relatively simple side-foot to open the scoring.

The Cards steadied themselves and, for a short time, looked as though they might stage a fight-back. Effiong barged his way into the area before being out-numbered. Philpot’s back heel freed Ward to fire in a fierce cross, which Josh Coulson did well to clear. Ward’s in-swinging corner forced keeper Charlie Grainger into a decisive punch under pressure.

But Orient soon resumed control and, in the 62nd minute, Anthony Limbrick made his first substitution, bringing on Charlie Carter for Ferdinand. However, the Cards still failed to get any rhythm going or to exert any real pressure on the Orient defence. Woking’s cause wasn’t helped by uncertainty at the back, with Orlu looking uncomfortable every time the side attempted to play their way out of defence: three times in a row this simply led to lost possession.

Anthony Limbrick then brought on Jason Banton for his first appearance in a Woking shirt, replacing Bawling. But this substitution too seemed to make little or no difference. It was Orient who looked more likely to fashion a goal. Dayton volleyed from distance, while Bonne got behind Staunton to meet a long high ball but could not get any power in his header, which was easily fielded by Baxter.

On 80 minutes Orient had a great chance to wrap the game up. McAnuff’s shot was blocked but the ball fell to Mooney only a few yards out. However, he was only able to direct the weakest of shots straight at Baxter. It proved to be the briefest of respites for Woking. In the 86th minute a Woking attack broke down all too easily, with the ball being played out quickly to Bonne down Woking’s right. He scampered towards the near post before opening his body and finishing smartly across Baxter and into the far corner.

Added time saw Staunton blocking a shot from substitute Josh Koroma before Grainger made his first save of the match as Ward struck tamely from a square pass from Carter.

Orient, on their second half showing, looked a useful side, who may well challenge for a play-off place. Anthony Limbrick, for his part, was left pondering on a disappointing display from his charges, who failed to achieve any momentum, looking short of attacking ideas. A better performance will be needed if anything is to be gained from the trip to Wrexham in a week’s time.

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Louis Ramsay, Josh Staunton, Richard Orlu, Nathan Ralph, Chez Isaac, Kane Ferdinand (Charlie Carter 62), Jamie Philpot, Bobson Bawling (Jason Banton 72), Inih Effiong, Joe Ward

Unused subs: Sam Mason, Matt Young, Jordan Wynter

Booked: Nathan Ralph, Richard Orlu

Leyton Orient: Charlie Grainger, Jake Caprice, Joe Widdowson, Alex Lawless, George Elokobi, Jobi McAnuff (Josh Koroma 89), Charlie Lee (Craig Clay 69), Macauley Bonne, David Mooney, Josh Coulson, James Dayton (Romuald Boco 90)

Unused subs: Sam Sargent, Jamie Sendles-White

Goals: Macauley Bonne 50 and 86

Booked: Charlie Lee, David Mooney, Jobi McAnuff, Alex Lawless, Craig Clay

Sponsors’ (Consilium Financial Planning) MOTM: Nathan Ralph (pictured)

Attendance: 2885
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