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ALDERSHOT TOWN 2 WOKING 1

Brian Caffarey - 1st January 2008

Aldershot Town 2 Woking 1
1 January 2008

The Cards suffered their third successive defeat of the holiday period at the Rec this afternoon. A poor first half, which left the Cards trailing 2-0 at half time and looking down and out, was partly redeemed by a much more spirited display in the second half. However, they could not build on an early Giuseppe Sole penalty and left with pride restored but without any points.

Frank Gray, his options limited, eschewed making any substantial changes from the side which began against Torquay, the only difference being Giuseppe Sole starting in place of Liam Marum. After an impeccably-observed minute?s silence in memory of Paul Muddell, the Cards had a nervous opening few minutes, with Nick Gindre putting his first kick into touch and a collision between two defenders giving away a corner. But Woking then settled into a decent rhythm. In the fourth minute Giuseppe Sole burst forward but ? as so often this afternoon ? the final Woking ball was awry, this time failing to reach Marvin Morgan. However, Woking kept up the pressure with a couple of Kevin James free-kicks and a Matt Pattison chance down the right, which was judged narrowly offside. Bradley Quamina and Matt Pattison then worked the ball out left to Gez Sole, whose left-footed strike was powerful but directed straight at Nikki Bull.

The Shots began to stir, nearly all their headway being made down their left, where the tricky Joel Grant and the pacy Anthony Straker and Kirk Hudson started to make life very uncomfortable for Matt Pattison and Paul Lorraine. Nick Gindre looked in danger of giving away another penalty as he dived at Joel Grant?s feet but succeeded in pushing the ball away. Aldershot tightened the screw as Joel Grant flashed a shot past Gindre?s far post and Hudson hit the foot of the post with a snap shot after Paul Lorraine had missed Grant?s cross.

The Shots? momentum produced a goal in the 20th minute. Tom Hutchinson could only glance a through ball into Ben Harding?s path. Harding slipped the ball to Hudson. Nick Gindre came out but Hudson had plenty of time to slot the ball past him into the gaping net. The goal was a dreadful blow for the Cards, who had made a decent start and would have been only too well aware how difficult it would now be to get back into this game, given their meagre goals total.

Things rapidly went from bad to worse as Woking heads seemed to drop and the now rampant Shots tore into the Cards defence, constantly looking to slip the ball into the path of their speedy strikers. There was only time for Jonny Dixon to sky another chance before, in the 27th minute, Aldershot doubled their lead. Matt Pattison (who had been ill before the game and who was substituted a few minutes later) failed to close down Anthony Straker. His cross was met by a stooping header from Ricky Newman, with the ball going diagonally across Nick Gindre and into the far corner.

At this point it looked as though Cards fans might be forced to endure another humiliation at the Rec to rival our 4-0 defeat a couple of years ago. Woking simply weren?t at the races for most of the time and had to resort to hoofed clearances to relieve the pressure. In the 35th minute, though, a decent pass from Bradley Quamina enabled Adam Green to swing in a cross, from which Gez Sole gained a corner. A very optimistic shot from Quamina from the clearance sailed wide. Five minutes later there was another hopeful sign as Adam Green and Goma Lambu worked the ball into Marvin Morgan in the box. Marvin turned well but could only hit the side-netting. Woking were fortunate, though, that the Shots did not press home their advantage and could be thankful that they were still only two goals adrift at the break.

Half-time: Aldershot Town 2 Woking 0

Whatever it was that Frank Gray and Gerry Murphy said to their side at half-time, it seemed to do the trick, for it was a much more determined Cards side who emerged for the second half. Three minutes in, Marvin Morgan slipped the ball to Gez Sole, whose shot was deflected for a corner. As the ball came in Tom Hutchinson went flying and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Gez and made no mistake with the penalty kick.

The goal gave the Cards an enormous boost and they now proceeded to play with spirit, confidence and no little skill, though still not creating enough chances. They were not helped either by some weak final balls, Marvin Morgan being a particular culprit, and an annoying tendency to creep offside.

Kevin James had a long-range effort before Jonny Dixon had an excellent chance to extend the Shots? lead as a typically quick movement at the edge of the box opened up a shooting chance, which he put wide. But Kevin James was now pulling the strings in midfield and Rob Gier was twice forced to play the ball back to his keeper as the Cards harried and hassled very effectively. As Woking pressed forward, though, the odd chance still fell to the Shots, as Dixon missed again and Gindre once more risked a penalty incident as he dived at a forward?s feet. Straker went close too as his shot zipped past Gindre?s far post.

At the other end, Tom Hutchinson, increasingly thrown forward in an auxiliary striker role, got just under a Lambu cross. The increasing confidence was evident too from a move of a dozen passes or more which eventually gained a free-kick just outside the area. Gez Sole?s kick went over the Shots? wall but Bull was able to tip it comfortably over the bar. More midfield playmaking enabled Adam Green to get a right-footed shot in. But time was running out for the Cards as Liam Marum came on for Gez Sole in the 81st minute. Marvin Morgan?s looping header from a Danny Bunce cross was never going to trouble Bull but the Shots? keeper earned his corn in injury time as he blocked Morgan?s shot after Marum?s clever back heel had set Tom Hutchinson away. But the Shots fans nearly had the last laugh as a poor kick from Nick Gindre out on the touchline left his goal exposed. He was fortunate to see the ball returned just wide of the far post.

So, no points from three games over the holiday period. Given that we were playing the top two sides, defeat by the odd goal in all three games was not perhaps surprising. But Frank Gray will surely have hoped to have gained something from these games, especially with two of them at home. Again today, though almost exclusively in the second half, the side showed that they can play a bit but they need to show the same determination and positive approach for the full 90 minutes if they are to get back to winning ways.

Woking: Nick Gindre, Paul Lorraine, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson, Danny Bunce; Matt Pattison (Goma Lambu, 37), Bradley Quamina, Kevin James, Adam Green; Marvin Morgan, Giuseppe Sole (Liam Marum, 81)

Unused subs: Ross Worner, Matt Gray, Carlos Talbot

Booked: Bradley Quamina

Attendance: 4728

My MOTM: Kevin James (pictured) ? showed real class again in central midfield, with an ability to turn away from trouble; he was also the one urging his team mates on in the first half when heads were dropping.

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