WOKING 2 TORQUAY UNITED 2
22 NOVEMBER 2008
Woking?s biggest crowd of the season was treated to an enthralling game at a chilly Kingfield this afternoon. The Cards, playing some of their best football of the campaign, roared into a 2-0 lead against the table-toppers but were pegged back after half-time and, in the end, were probably glad to settle for a point as the Gulls? revival threatened to take all three.
Nick Gindre, playing his first game of the season after being recalled from his loan spell at Croydon Athletic, was in goal and, if he had a point to prove to Phil Gilchrist, he couldn?t have produced a better riposte, pulling off several fine saves and showing clean handling all afternoon. At the back Woking were missing the injured Tom Hutchinson and so the defensive four comprised Patrice Konan, Paul Lorraine, Colin Miles and Danny Bunce. The absentee in midfield was the suspended Bradley Quamina, who was missed in the second half especially, when Torquay began to wrest control away from the Cards. The line-up was Matt Pattison, back to his swashbuckling best, Paolo Vernazza, Daniel Spence and Abdou El Kholti, with Liam Marum ? more than justifying his Manager?s faith today ? and Wilfried Domoraud up front.
Both sides won early corners but it was Woking who took the initiative. In the 6th minute the ball was played to Pattison just outside the area. He ghosted past a defender and shot. Beavon, the Gulls? keeper, could only parry the ball into the path of Marum, following up well, who bundled it home.
Torquay set the pattern for most of their attacks by trying to hit deep crosses to the ever-dangerous Tim Sills but with Paul Lorraine defending superbly and Nick Gindre handling confidently the Cards stood firm. Nick was in action again with an excellent ?take? as he flung himself down to intercept a low cross. Just before this ? and typifying the ?end to end? nature of the game ? a Torquay defender had been forced to head just over his own bar from a Marum cross after more enterprising play by Pattison.
Woking continued to close Torquay down quickly, not allowing them to settle, while, up front, the pace of Marum and Domoraud down the middle looked to be unsettling the Gulls? defence.
In the 22nd minute it was the Pattison/Marum combination which sparked the second goal for the Cards. Pattison did well to get the ball out to Marum, who turned inside cleverly and hit an instant left-footed cross, which was cleared messily into Vernazza?s path, on the edge of the area. His shot was deflected past Beavon to give the Cards an unaccustomed 2-0 lead.
Torquay nearly pulled a goal back three minutes later as one of a number of free-kicks by Kevin Nicholson somehow evaded a bank of yellow shirts descending on the Woking goal.
The Cards responded with a superb move. A powerful run by Domoraud led to a back heel to Pattison, who crossed to Marum, whose bicycle kick was not far off target.
Apart from deep crosses to Sills, the main attacking threat from the Gulls came from the pacy Carayol down their right. In the 33rd minute he robbed El Kholti, with Sills heading over from the cross.
Woking continued to threaten as Marum went past two defenders to the left of the area but was then crowded out as he turned inside and then, a minute later, outpaced the Gulls? defence as he nearly profited from a through ball from his strike partner.
Next it was Gindre?s turn to shine again as he grabbed the ball off the head of a Torquay striker and then punched clear decisively from a corner, with Beavon doing the same almost immediately at the other end. A Torquay counter-attack was then snuffed out by excellent covering and tackling back ? typical of a half in which the Woking side had shown enormous commitment and worked their socks off.
Half-time: Woking 2 Torquay United 0
It was inevitable that the Gulls would come out more strongly in the second half and they produced some early pressure, with Gindre having to save smartly from a Hargreaves header.
But Woking then passed up a great chance which, arguably, would have put the game beyond Torquay?s reach. Once again, Marum?s pace disconcerted the Gulls? defence as he tore into the area. The ball was blocked but, with the goal gaping, Domoraud lifted his effort over the bar.
Gindre foiled Sills before a Marum snap-shot caught Beavon by surprise, the keeper only holding it cleanly at the second attempt.
Predictably, having benefited from a ?let off?, Torquay quickly reduced the deficit. In the 55th minute, for the umpteenth time Nicholson floated the ball, from a free-kick, to the far post. For some unaccountable reason, Sills appeared to have been left unmarked. He headed across the goal and Benyon drove the ball home.
Torquay, with their tails up, pressed forward for the equaliser but it wasn?t just one-way traffic. A ball across the face of the Woking goal was followed by a good strike from Domoraud, which unfortunately went straight into Beavon?s midriff. But in the 65th minute Torquay levelled the scores. The ball was played out wide to the pacy Danny Stevens, who had been left in too much space. He scampered into the box and hit a fine shot across Gindre and into the far corner.
The danger now was that the Cards would fold and lose even the single point their display had more than deserved. The defending became a little ragged at times and too many free-kicks were conceded but, to their great credit, Phil Gilchrist?s side refused to buckle. The closest Torquay came to grabbing all three points was in the 83rd minute when Stevens played a fine cross ball to Carayol but Gindre did superbly to smother his shot. The Cards, for their part, came closest to getting their noses in front again when substitute Delano Sam-Yorke was cynically tripped just outside the box. Pattison?s curling free-kick was just over the bar.
Just before full-time Torquay bundled the ball inches wide of the Woking post but the four minutes of extra time produced no more goalmouth alarums before the referee brought an excellent game to its conclusion.
Phil Gilchrist will no doubt be disappointed not to have taken all three points, having seen his side go in at the break with a two-goal lead. But there were lots of positives to take from this game. The ?man of the match? award went, reasonably enough, to the revitalised Matt Pattison but could equally have gone to several other players, including Liam Marum (for his superb first half performance at least), Nick Gindre for some excellent goalkeeping and Paul Lorraine for his typically committed defending. Paolo Vernazza also had one of his more influential games. The fact that we got two goals past the opposition keeper also vindicated Phil?s belief that we are beginning to be more clinical up front. That would, of course, have been truer still if Domoraud had netted that crucial chance just after the break.
Woking: Nick Gindre, Patrice Konan, Paul Lorraine, Colin Miles (Goma Lambu, 70), Danny Bunce, Daniel Spence, Matt Pattison, Paolo Vernazza, Abdou El Kholti, Liam Marum (Delano Sam-Yorke, 78), Wilfried Domoraud
Subs not used: Charlie Moone, Joel Ledgister, Giuseppe Sole
Booked: Colin Miles, Matt Pattison
Sponsor?s (Tudorville Interiors Limited) MOTM: Matt Pattison (pictured)