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Woking rolling against the Stones in eight-goal thriller

Haydn Cobb - 6th January 2018

Woking rolling against the Stones in eight-goal thriller Woking 4 Maidstone United 4
Vanarama National League
6th January 2018

Woking bounced back from a tough Christmas period with a frantic 4-4 draw against Maidstone United which saw both sides take the lead twice before the points were shared.

The Cards were eager to get over the frustration of losing in the last minute against Aldershot on New Year’s Day and Anthony Limbrick’s side produced a gusto performance to narrowly miss out on a first league win since November in a thrilling contest.

Kane Ferdinand’s delightful chip got the Cards rolling before a quick goal for the visitors but Inih Effiong thumped Woking back into the lead with his 10th goal in all competitions. But Limbrick’s side were conceded twice before halftime, the first a penalty followed by a Joe Pigott lob, to see Woking behind for the first time.

A fast start to the second half witnessed three goals inside 10 minutes when Charlie Carter’s fierce effort levelled the scoreline only to see Stuart Lewis score his second to give Maidstone the lead again, before Jason Banton’s 25-yard strike equalled the scoring at 4-4.

A tense final 30 minutes saw both sides miss opportunities to win the match, with Woking arguably having the better of the chances through debutant Jonny Edwards and Fabio Saraiva, with the latter’s cute flick going inches wide in the final minute to see Woking secure just their fifth league draw of the season.

The draw sees Woking remain 14th in the Vanarama National League three points behind Maidstone United.

Limbrick named an unchanged Woking line-up from the defeat against Aldershot while new loan signing from Hull City, Edwards, made the substitutes bench.

In a lively opening for both teams, former Cards player Delano Sam-Yorke latched on to a smart pass from Pigott and was tripped by an onrushing Nathan Baxter who conceded a freekick and picked up a yellow card. The resulting set piece by Pigott floated over the crossbar.

The Cards responded quickly with Carter forcing a full-stretch save from Lee Worgan with a fierce volley connecting sweetly with a cross from Banton.

Woking striker Effiong looked in a bullish mood against the Maidstone defence as he linked up with Carter well after controlling a long ball forward from Richard Orlu but Effiong’s strike from the edge of the area was straight at the goalkeeper. The home side maintained their early dominance with a succession of set pieces with Orlu going closest with a header.

The early pressure paid off as Woking took the lead on the 22nd minute through Ferdinand’s fourth goal of the season. Quick link-up play between Banton and Ferdinand saw the midfielder stay onside and cutely chip Worgan from a tight angle with the Maidstone United defence frozen.

But Woking’s joy was short-lived, with an unlucky goal from the home side’s point of view. Woking’s defence were resolute against quick passing by the travelling team but Lewis’s hopeful shot from 25 yards took a cruel deflection off Josh Staunton, with Baxter diving the opposite way to see the ball trickle into the net.

Maidstone’s equaliser briefly took momentum away from Woking but the Cards re-established their dominance with a second goal in the 35th minute. Effiong produced a quick give-and-go with Louis Ramsay on the left wing, where Woking were getting the majority of their opportunities, before the Woking striker cut inside on to his right foot and dispatched a powerful low shot into the bottom left corner.

Despite a stronger resolve, Woking were pegged back again when Pigott narrowly missed out on connecting with a low cross but good work from Seth Nana Twumasi kept the ball in play and he jinked past Jason Banton to draw a foul inside the area with the resulting penalty tucked away by Jai Reason.

Woking didn’t switch on at the restart and a hopeful punt forward found Pigott who shrugged off a challenge from Orlu to chip Baxter from 20 yards to give Maidstone United the lead for the first time in the match.

Halftime: Woking 2 Maidstone United 3

Woking came out for the second half early and manager Limbrick’s words clearly gave his side an added steel and aggression which was personified by Effiong who battled against the Maidstone backline to win the ball back high up the pitch before shifting it to Carter on the inside left channel and he slammed the ball past Worgan to draw the home team level.

But once again the Cards conceded almost immediately after scoring with Maidstone’s Lewis netting for the second time in the match with a low shot after his initial effort from a half-cleared corner was blocked.

On the hour mark Woking struck back again to make it 4-4 with over a third of the game to go as Banton found space on the edge of the Maidstone box to blast in a left foot effort for his third goal of the season.

In one of the most frantic football games seen at Kingfield in recent memory, Woking thought they’d taken the lead for a third time when Carter slammed in a goalmouth scramble but referee Neil Hair disallowed the goal for a foul on ‘keeper Worgan.

With 20 minutes to go Limbrick shuffled his attackers and handed Edwards his Woking debut with the game finely poised having seen both teams take the lead twice each. Edwards linked up well with his new team-mates and had a good chance for a debut goal when put through by Ward only to see his shot snuffed out by the Maidstone defence.

Both sides continued to push forward in the search for a late winner which stretched the game to give both teams space to break into with Sam-Yorke going close against his former club while Edwards had a shot saved.

After the full commitment and goals from both sides, the tension increased for each set of supporters with every attack. Edwards went inches away from the perfect start to his Woking career when he danced past two defenders to lay the ball back to Ward but Alex Wynter pinched it from the Woking forward’s toes.

The drama continued right to the end in the 95th minute when Woking went agonisingly close to a winner through substitute Fabio Saraiva. Ward, a terror to Maidstone’s defenders all match, darted to the left touchline to provide a low cross to the front post but Saraiva’s deft flick rolled the wrong side of the far post to confirm a share of the points in an enthralling match.

Woking: Nathan Baxter; Louis Ramsey, Josh Staunton, Richard Orlu, Matt Young; Kane Ferdinand, Charlie Carter (Fabio Saraiva 84’), Joey Jones; Joe Ward, Inih Effiong, Jason Banton (Jonny Edwards 70’)

Unused subs: Jojo Wollacott, Lazar Stojsavljevic, Declan Appu

Goals: Ferdinand 22’, Effiong 35’, Carter 50’, Banton 60’

Bookings: Baxter 8’, Ramsay 41’

Maidstone United: Lee Worgan; Seth Nana Twumasi, Alex Wynter, Magnus Okuonghae, Joe Anderson; Tom Wraight (Johan ter Horst 78’), Stuart Lewis, Jamar Loza (Reece Prestedge 67’), Jai Reason; Joe Pigott, Delano Sam-Yorke

Unused subs: Oliver Muldoon, Josh Hare, Jack Paxman

Goals: Lewis 25’ 53’, Reason 41(P)’, Pigott 42’

Bookings: Twumasi 85’

Referee: Neil Hair

Sponsors’ MOTM: Joey Jones

Attendance: 1874
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