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CRAWLEY TOWN 5 WOKING 3

Brian Caffarey - 19th September 2007

Crawley Town 5 Woking 3
18 September 2007

Playing with ten men for most of the game after Paul Lorraine?s early dismissal, Woking battled gamely against a slick Crawley side who might have scored several more goals but for some outstanding keeping from Nick Gindre.

Woking lined up with the same side that started against Altrincham on Saturday save that Matt Pattison returned in midfield in place of Izzy Harusha. The early exchanges were a bit scrappy but there were already signs that Crawley?s pace and mobility might pose problems for our normally dependable defensive trio of Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson and Paul Lorraine.

The game came to life with a vengeance in the 9th minute. The Cards were still claiming a foul on Matt Pattison in midfield when the ball was played forward quickly to the left of the Woking goal. Jay Gasson failed to cut the ball out, the ball was centred, Nick Gindre saved the first shot but it took Paul Lorraine?s hand to prevent Tyrone Thompson from netting the rebound. It was an inevitable red card for Paul and the impressive Guy Madjo duly scored from the penalty spot.

The Cards? midfield, which was already looking shaky, was weakened as Matt Pattison was switched temporarily to right back, to be substituted a bit later by Matt Ruby. Before then, however, the Cards managed to even the scores with a penalty of their own. In the 17th minute Marvin Morgan went on a characteristic run on the Woking left flank, taking on four or five players before he was fouled just inside the box. It was perhaps a bit of a soft penalty but Joe Gatting made no mistake from the spot, blasting the ball straight down the centre of Ashley Bayes? goal.

Crawley upped the pressure, with some fine attacking play which seemed to slice through the Cards? midfield all too easily, but, although they appeared to be almost teasing Woking round the edge of the area, they found it hard to test Nick Gindre again. Indeed, the Cards had a couple of useful attacks themselves, with Marvin Morgan just failing to get the right touch on a fine low cross from Goma Lambu. But it was only a matter of time before the relentless Crawley pressure paid off and the breakthrough came in the 33rd minute. Jon-Paul Pittman, who formed a very effective strike force with Madjo, outjumped Jay Gasson and planted a fairly weak header just inside Nick Gindre?s near post. Nick looked to be in the right place but the ball somehow squirted past him. A great pity because Nick?s display was outstanding overall.

Crawley continued to pour forward in numbers, stretching the Cards? embattled defence on both flanks and through the middle. Jamie Cook was clearly intent on getting his name on the score sheet as he unleashed two fierce shots just before half-time, with Nick Gindre pushing both efforts round the post. The first attempt came from a superb lay-off from Madjo on the edge of the area. Just as it looked as though the Cards would hold out till half-time Crawley grabbed the crucial third goal. An inviting ball was slipped through the middle to Pittman. His first attempt was half-saved by Gindre but Pittman, following up, slammed the ball into the net for a 3-1 lead at half-time.

Half-time: Crawley Town 3 Woking 1

To their credit, the Cards came out fighting at the beginning of the second half and began to cause some serious problems for the Crawley defence. The midfield began to get some tackles in and Joe Gatting was able to hold the ball up a bit and bring in his team mates. A sweeping move resulted in a testing cross from Goma Lambu and then Kevin James tried his luck from distance before seeing another fierce effort deflected for a corner. Matt Ruby headed a decent chance over the bar.

But Crawley were still threatening at the other end. In a terrific move a Guy Madjo back-heel resulted in another crisp save by Gindre from Pittman. Jay Gasson?s sliding tackle prevented another goal before Madjo demanded another fine save from Gindre. Marvin Morgan responded with a fierce left-foot effort, which was blocked, before Crawley got a fortunate fourth goal. Thomas Pinault swung hopefully at a dropping ball; it took a big deflection off Jay Gasson on its way into the Woking net.

However, even at 4-1 down, Woking did not give up the ghost. Kevin James seized on a loose ball, drove into the area and smashed the ball against the foot of the post, where it rebounded to safety. The Cards pulled yet another goal back in the 72nd minute when Ashley Bayes was unable to hold a free-kick under pressure from Tom Hutchinson, and Joe Gatting lashed home from close range. (The goal has been credited to Tom and it is possible that the ball hit him on its way in.)

Stung by this response, Crawley charged forward again and Nick Gindre had to work overtime as the shots flew in from all angles. James Krause and Jamie Cook both hit pile-drivers just over the bar before, in the 83rd minute, Guy Madjo made it 5-2 to Crawley. A chipped through ball fell between the Woking defenders and Nick Gindre, and Madjo was able to plant the ball in an empty net.

The introduction of Magno Vieira seemed to inspire Crawley to a final flourish as they sought to add to their goals total. Vieira headed over and Pittman and Madjo were foiled once more by Gindre. But it was substitute Paul Hakim who netted for Woking in the 90th minute, curling a superb curling left-foot shot into the corner to make the score 5-3. There was still time, though, for Madjo to hit the post before the referee blew for full-time.

It is hard to know, of course, what the course of this game would have been if Woking had not conceded a penalty and had Paul Lorraine sent off so early in this game. But, even allowing for the man advantage, the Cards came up against a Crawley side which played some excellent football. The front pairing of Pittman and Madjo were unplayable at times and everywhere you looked players moved at speed and found each other with quick, incisive passes. The only weakness appeared to be in central defence. The Cards battled very gamely but, in the first half especially, badly lacked a strong midfield presence and relied too heavily on hurried clearances from defence and launching the ball forward to Marvin Morgan, who, along with Joe Gatting, received little support, at least until the second half. The team will now need to re-group for another stiff test at Burton Albion on Saturday.

Woking: Nick Gindre, Paul Lorraine, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson, Goma Lambu (Paul Hakim, 65), Matt Pattison (Matt Ruby, 25), Kevin James, Danny Bunce, Adam Green, Marvin Morgan (Giuseppe Sole, 73), Joe Gatting

Subs not used: Izedin Harusha, Jerome Maledon

Sent off: Paul Lorraine

Booked: Matt Pattison

Attendance: 959 (including 208 from Woking)

My MOTM: Nick Gindre
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