Andy Avery - 18th August 2007
Stafford Rangers 0 Woking 1
18 August 2007
The middle of August ? usually a warm sunny day, but not this year. Woking were greeted by a grey wet day in Staffordshire, but went away from Marston Road with three valuable points.
With both Matt Gray and Liam Marum both injured, Woking?s small squad was stretched to the limit, with Lambu starting instead of Gray.
For the first half hour the game mirrored the weather ? it was a poor quality affair with neither team standing out. Woking played balls through for the strikers to chase but the wet pitch meant they bounced through to Alcock in the Stafford goal far too easily.
Woking?s first real effort on goal came in the 15th minute. A corner from the left resulted in a scramble. The ball fell to an off-balance Pattison, whose shot was blocked easily by the man on the post.
Stafford had the best chance of the first half when, in the 32nd minute, a through ball found McNiven in on goal with only Gindre to beat. At first it seemed like his left-foot shot would nestle in the corner of the goal but it curled away and wide of Gindre?s far post.
A break in play gave Frank Gray a chance to speak to some of the players and it seemed to work. For the last 10 minutes of the half Woking looked a better side. Giuseppe Sole had two chances in three minutes; the second was well saved by Alcock. Then, Goma Lambu went on a great run and put in a fabulous cross which no-one could quite get on the end of. The final action of the half saw a perfect cross from Danny Bunce but, unfortunately, it missed everyone and floated out of play for a goal kick.
Half-time: Stafford Rangers 0 Woking 0
Both teams started well in the second half. In the 48th minute, Greg Stones saw his shot tipped away by Gindre. A minute later Pattison went on a good run only to be fouled. The free-kick was in Sole territory but his attempt was blocked in the area and the chance was gone.
The turning point of the game came in the 53rd minute. A Stafford attack gave Greg Stones another chance, but once again Gindre pulled off a superb save. The ball was played forward to Bradley Quamina, who measured a perfectly-weighted through ball for Morgan to chase. His control was superb and he raced clear of the Stafford defence, and showed great composure to slot the ball past the onrushing Alcock with his left foot and into the net. It was another superbly taken goal from Morgan, who looks like he could certainly play at a higher level in the future, but for now looks to be an excellent signing by Frank Gray.
Stafford made a couple of quick substitutions but it was Woking who looked to press home their advantage. Another fine run from Morgan forced a corner. For the first time in the game Sole produced a corner of real quality, which was met by Tom Hutchinson. His downward header looked destined for the goal, but once again the Stafford defender on the post was able to deflect it wide for another corner, which came to nothing.
Two minutes later, Gasson played another ball forward; Daniel, in the Stafford defence, seemed to hesitate and Morgan pounced. He took the ball off Daniel and was once again through on goal. This time he chose to go round Alcock, who forced him wide. By the time he had regained control of the ball, two defenders had covered the goal and Morgan shot over the bar.
Two substitutions followed, with Charles coming on for Sole, who had had a mixed game. Then Morgan signalled to the bench that he needed to come off so he was replaced by Maledon. This left Woking short on strikers so Lambu moved forward to partner Charles.
It was Lambu who came closest to scoring for Woking in the 77th minute when his shot was saved after a good Woking move.
The final ten minutes saw solid Stafford pressure as they looked to find an equaliser. In the 80th minute, a neat flick-on from McAughtrie saw Grayson with a glorious chance to snatch a point. It seemed easier to score, but somehow he scooped the ball over Gindre and over the bar too.
In the 83rd minute Matt Pattison was the first player to be booked after a hard challenge. It was certainly no worse than a couple of challenges from Stafford players in the first half, but the referee felt it warranted a card. Two minutes later he was followed into the book by Richards, who cynically brought down Pattison as he looked to break forward.
Just as it looked as though Woking would hold out, things got worse. A misplaced pass was chased down by Pattison but the ball beat him into touch. He then knocked the ball away, giving the referee the chance to show a second yellow followed by the red. Pattison?s reaction, throwing his shirt at the bench as he stormed off, seemed petulant. Again, the referee had shown inconsistency as he had failed to book a Stafford player for the same offence in the first half, but it seemed a foolish thing to do when on a yellow card.
Stafford seemed energised by this and Grayson had a chance but fired over the bar. In the last minute of stoppage time, a Stafford corner was well cleared by Hutchinson. The ball came back across to Marco Adaggio, but as he shot Danny Bunce threw himself at the ball to block it and the chance was gone. The final whistle brought delight to the players and the travelling fans, and Woking?s unbeaten start to the season had continued.
It wasn?t a great performance, especially in the first half hour, but it was pleasing to see a Woking side playing good football and not being too defensive. Stafford looked a poor side, and appear to be in for a tough season, but it was encouraging to see Woking take advantage and get a valuable three points.
My ?man of the match? would be Goma Lambu (pictured), who looked back to his best. He was a threat going forward and his work rate and tackling back were awesome. He seems full of confidence again and looks like he could be a key player this season. Honourable mentions to Morgan, who played well and was a constant threat, Quamina, who looks to be another good signing, and to Danny Bunce, who looked solid at the back and linked very well going forward.
Woking : Nick Gindre, Paul Lorraine, Danny Bunce, Bradley Quamina, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson, Marvin Morgan (Jerome Maledon, 72), Matt Pattison, Goma Lambu, Matt Ruby Giuseppe Sole (Michael Charles, 68)
Subs not used : Warner, Green, Shin
Sent off (two yellow cards): Matt Pattison
My MOTM: Goma Lambu