EASTBOURNE BOROUGH 0 WOKING 0
15 November 2008
The Cards travelled down to Priory Lane with some realistic hopes of gaining all three points and narrowing the gap on the Sports and other teams just above them. However, the dismissal of Colin Miles just before half-time produced a different perspective ? and to come away with a point after playing with ten men for the whole of the second half, and creating the better chances in the process, must be viewed as a good point gained rather than two lost.
With Paul Lorraine and Goma Lambu still out injured, the Cards started with Lenny Pidgeley in goal, in his last appearance before his return to Millwall; the back four were Patrice Konan, Tom Hutchinson, Colin Miles and Danny Bunce; the midfield comprised Matt Pattison, Daniel Spence, Paolo Vernazza and Abdou El Kholti; with the usual front two of Liam Marum and Wilfried Domoraud.
The Cards were indebted to Lenny Pidgeley for two early saves, one an instinctive block with his legs, before the game settled down. Woking responded with a fine dipping effort over the bar from Paolo Vernazza.
Woking gained the ascendancy in terms of overall pressure as the half progressed but always looked vulnerable to quick breaks behind Patrice Konan and through the middle. The Cards? territorial advantage did not bring with it much threat, though, as both Wilfried Domoraud and Liam Marum found it difficult to shake off their markers and some poor crosses were thrown in.
The Sports? quick counter-attacks nearly paid off in the 24th minute as Nathan Crabb found space in the inside left channel, only to fluff an excellent opportunity by shooting wide of Pidgeley?s far post.
Paolo Vernazza showed up well again as he out-muscled an opponent to release Abdou El Kholti and then got on the end of the latter?s cross, heading narrowly wide. Liam Marum then advanced into the right-hand side of the box and connected well but his shot was off target.
Woking continued to make most of the running, with several more crosses thrown in and a respectable header by Colin Miles from a corner. The Cards came closest when an excellent Liam Marum free-kick was tipped onto the bar by the keeper and scrambled away.
But Woking were caught out straightaway by a swift counter-attack through the middle of the defence. Colin Miles lunged as Nathan Crabb threatened to break clear just outside the area. His protestations that he had taken the ball, not the man, were waved away by the referee, who produced the red card. Fortunately, the free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall as the Cards hastily re-adjusted, switching Konan to central defence, with Spence in his place at right back and Matt Pattison moving into a more central midfield role.
Half-time: Eastbourne Borough 0 Woking 0
It reflected great credit on Phil Gilchrist?s side that Borough?s one-man advantage was not at all evident in the second half as Woking more than held their own and indeed created the better chances overall.
Danny Bunce came close, though, to scoring an own goal as he headed a wicked cross just over the bar. Back in attack, his free-kick, helped on in the box by Tom Hutchinson, produced a half-chance for Pattison, whose hasty effort was blocked for a corner.
With Bradley Quamina replacing Pattison, Daniel Spence had a couple of enterprising runs down the right, one of which released Liam Marum for a snap shot on goal, which was deflected for another corner. As the ball was cleared Spence lofted it back into the box, Tom Hutchinson jostled with the keeper and then Liam Marum hit the woodwork for the second time as he volleyed the loose ball onto the bar.
Borough attacked intermittently but, apart from the odd cross, rarely threatened the Woking goal, with through balls tending to run on to Lenny Pidgeley to sweep up or clear. But the Sports did create a fine chance midway through the half. Fortunately for the Cards, Crabb?s looping effort bounced off the post and was ushered away from danger.
With ten minutes remaining, the Cards nearly grabbed all three points. As the ball was cleared to Paolo Vernazza on the edge of the Borough area, he hit a low drive through a crowd of players, which looked destined for the bottom corner until the Sports? keeper pulled off a tremendous save, pushing the ball round the post.
A Borough attacking flurry looked like it might undo all the Cards? good work as Lenny could only punch weakly but the returning shot sailed way over the bar and headed off into the night sky towards Pevensey Bay.
On the stroke of full-time the Cards had another opportunity to take home all the points as Domoraud slotted the ball into Marum?s path as he advanced into the right of the box. He slipped past one defender but waited too long to shoot, allowing another defender to slide in and block his effort.
The last attack fell to the Sports, as the reliable Lenny Pidgeley dived to his right to make a reasonably comfortable save and hold on tight to the ball.
So, the Cards gained a thoroughly-deserved point in a performance that showed a lot of character and will need to show the same resilience down at the Wessex Stadium on Tuesday night if they are to add to their three match unbeaten record away in the league.
Woking: Lenny Pidgeley, Patrice Konan, Tom Hutchinson, Colin Miles, Danny Bunce, Matt Pattison (Bradley Quamina, 58), Daniel Spence, Paolo Vernazza, Abdou El Kholti, Liam Marum, Wilfried Domoraud
Unused subs: Carl Pentney, Charlie Moone, Delano Sam-Yorke, Joel Ledgister
Sent off: Colin Miles
Booked: Bradley Quamina
My MOTM: Lenny Pidgeley