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Defensive lapses end Cards' unbeaten run

Albert Cole - 20th October 2017

Defensive lapses end Cards' unbeaten run Bromley 2 Woking 0
Vanarama National League
21st October 2017

Woking’s six-match unbeaten run in the Vanarama National League came to an abrupt end in very windy, and occasionally wet, conditions at the exotically named H2T Group Stadium, as the Ravens, managed by former Cards skipper Neil Smith and with fellow ex-Cards Brett Williams in the starting line-up and Frankie Sutherland named amongst the substitutes, recorded their second win, and clean sheet, in less than a week, following on from their 3-0 FA Cup replay success over Dover on Tuesday. In truth however, there was little to choose between these two sides in the difficult conditions; and only two poor defensive lapses by the visitors, and the dismissal of Kane Ferdinand right at the start of the second half, were the difference.

Manager Anthony Limbrick made three changes from the side the laboured to an FA Cup replay victory over Concord Rangers in midweek; fit again Joey Jones made his first start for some time, Jason Banton started in place of Regan Charles-Cook, who picked up a knock in the win over Concord, and Jamie Philpot was restored to the starting line-up, with Inih Effiong dropping to the bench. Josh Staunton’s ankle was not risked on the 3G surface, and there was no sign of the injured trio Charlie Carter, Bobson Bawling and Louis Ramsey.

Woking started brightly, attacking from right to left, and took the game to their hosts from the off. After six minutes, Jason Banton did well to turn his marker on the edge of the box, but his effort was high, wide, and not very handsome.

Bromley eventually gained a foothold, with Luke Wanadio proving a thorn in the Cards’ side down the left, and following a shot in the eighth minute which was safely gathered in by Baxter, he provided an excellent low cross into the danger area five minutes later which the Woking defence just about managed to scramble clear for a corner.

Woking started to assert their authority again, Philpot testing Gregory in the home goal after good build-up play from the Cards, before Joe Ward cut in from the right and tried a shot from the edge of the box which sailed just over.

It looked for all the world like it was going to be goalless at half-time, with both teams largely cancelling each other out, but then double disaster struck for the Cards. On 42 minutes, a free kick was conceded on the left-hand side, just inside the Woking half of the field. Adam Mekki floated it into the box, Baxter thought about coming, hesitated, went back, and Ravens skipper Jack Holland planted a simple header into the bottom right-hand corner to give the home side the lead. It’s possible that Baxter may have been deceived by the ball holding up slightly in the swirling wind, but even so the teenage stopper will be disappointed with his efforts.

Woking tried to get back into the game immediately, Joe Ward working an opening for himself and firing towards goal, forcing David Gregory into a good save with his feet.

But that double disaster was lurking just around the corner. In the last minute of the half, Woking conceded another free kick in an almost identical position, slightly further inside their own half but nearer the byline. Mekki floated it in again, slightly deeper this time towards the far post, and this time the entire defence seemed to stop and look at each other as Josh Rees stole in and buried a free header to put the hosts two up.

Half-Time: Bromley 2 Woking 0

A two-goal deficit was harsh on the Cards, but less than two minutes into the second half and the game was effectively over as a contest. Kane Ferdinand went into a challenge on the centre circle, perhaps slightly late and perhaps with a slightly raised foot, but the Bromley players were incensed and surrounded the referee. After a bit of ‘handbags’ referee Sam Purkiss had a long talk with Ferdinand before brandishing a straight red card. That decision certainly looked harsh; the challenge was worthy of a yellow card but probably not a red. But red it was and Ferdinand had to walk, and will now presumably be suspended for the next three games, ruling him out of the FA Cup tie at home to Bury.

Just a few minutes later and it could have been three, another cross from the left by Wanadio was headed just wide by Rees.

To their credit though, Woking didn’t give up. Effiong joined the fray, Jason Banton making way. On 64 minutes, Isaac blazed way over after the ball came out to him on the edge of the area. Four minutes later, Ward drove at the home defence before also firing well over.

Joe Ward was full of running all afternoon, and several times provided decent crosses from the right flank, but these were too often easily gathered by Gregory as no-one seemed willing to attack the crosses that Ward was working so hard to provide.

On 75 minutes Bromley were also reduced to ten men, Roger Johnson picking up a knock and being unable to continue, and all three substitutions had already been made. Just a minute later came Woking’s best chance of the match. A good pull-back from Chez Isaac found Ward who fired in a good curling shot which looked goal-bound, only for Gregory to get down low to his right and push it away.

Woking continued with attacking intent, Declan Appau coming on to replace Joey Jones, but could not find a way through.

This was not a poor performance from the Cards, but the defence will certainly be disappointed with the manner of the goals conceded. Whilst Ferdinand was perhaps unlucky to see red, there must be concern as to the effect mounting injuries and suspensions might have on such a small squad, particularly with another very difficult away game at high flying Dover on Tuesday evening, before they welcome Guiseley, now finding their feet under new boss Paul Cox, to the Laithwaite Community Stadium next Saturday. It should be remembered that Paul Cox has already inflicted Woking’s heaviest defeat of the season so far, a 3-0 away reverse when he was manage at Barrow, and no doubt he will be keen to repeat the trick with his new charges.

Bromley: David Gregory, Alan Dunne, Josh Rees, Jack Holland ©, Frankie Raymond, Brett Williams, (Louis Dennis 59), Adam Mekki, (George Porter 68), Jordan Higgs, Tyrone Sterling, (Dan Johnson 66), Luke Wanadio, Roger Johnson

Unused Subs: Ben Wynter, Frankie Sutherland

Goals: Jack Holland 42, Josh Rees 45

Yellow cards: Alan Dunne, Jordan Higgs

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Nathan Ralph (Lazar Stojsavljevic 90+1), Joey Jones (Declan Appau 82), Richard Orlu ©, Chez Isaac, Jason Banton (Inih Effiong 55), Jordan Wynter, Jamie Philpot, Matt Young, Kane Ferdinand, Joe Ward

Unused Subs: Sam Mason, Ivan Nsimbi

Yellow card: Matt Young

Red card: Kane Ferdinand

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Attendance: 1577 (251 Woking fans)

My MOTM: Joe Ward – full of running and endeavour - nearly everything that was good about Woking came about through his efforts.
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