12:00am, Tue 9th Dec 2008
WOKING 1 RUSHDEN AND DIAMONDS 1
9 December 2008
The Cards really needed three points from this game but could only manage another draw: their fourth in the last five league outings. With Forest Green Rovers managing an away win at Ebbsfleet, the result saw the Cards slip into the bottom four. Unlike on Saturday, there could be no complaints about the result: neither side showed enough quality to deserve all three points.
Phil Gilchrist made some largely predictable changes from the side that started at Histon. Simon Eastwood made his debut in goal, replacing a bruised Nick Gindre. Paolo Vernazza came into midfield in place of Daniel Spence and Liam Marum got the nod in front of Wilfried Domoraud, to partner Tom Denton.
Rushden looked liveliest in the opening couple of minutes as Lee Tomlin?s pace troubled the right of the Woking defence but it was the Cards who came closest to scoring as the ball ran loose from a corner. Both sides? attacking moves then proceeded to break down fairly easily as crosses and shooting opportunities were wasted before the Cards took a slightly unexpected lead in the 17th minute.
A Danny Bunce cross was cleared out to Paolo Vernazza on the edge of the area and, in rather similar fashion to the Torquay game, he let fly, this time with his left foot. It was well struck but Tom Denton stuck out a leg and got the (probably crucial) deflection to send it past the keeper.
There were one or two nice passing moves thereafter from the Cards but Rushden looked more threatening as Tomlin managed to evade Magunda and Pattison down the Woking right. The Diamonds should have equalised from a corner but the ball, received at the far post, was headed towards the opposite side of the goal, where Bunce was well placed on the line to head clear.
Woking threatened again as Marum and El Kholti combined to feed Matt Pattison on the right of the area. His first-time volley was well executed but flashed over the bar.
At the other end, Tomlin headed over, and Wolleaston had an effort blocked before the Cards fashioned another opportunity. Vernazza did well to pull the ball back from the byline after it had been slipped through by El Kholti but, unfortunately, it went just behind Denton.
Burgess tested Eastwood with a low free-kick through the defensive wall before the Diamonds secured an equaliser. In what was virtually a repeat of the earlier miss from a corner, the ball was lofted to the far post. Eastwood seemed to hesitate and two defenders were unable to prevent Rankine from heading the ball back over the keeper and into the net.
There was just time for Pattison to blast the ball wide from an angle before the half-time whistle went.
Woking 1 Rushden and Diamonds 1
A Liam Marum header, tipped over by the keeper, raised hopes that the Cards might get some real attacking momentum going in the second half but it was the away side who looked more dangerous in the following spell. A defensive muddle forced Eastwood into making a good reaction save with his leg and he then had to punch clear several times from corners. In the meantime the Rushden keeper had spilled a fierce shot from Pattison but the defence cleared up before Marum could latch onto the rebound.
In the 57th minute Phil Gilchrist threw on Wilfried Domoraud for El Kholti and the Cards proceeded to play three up front. Domoraud looked uncomfortable initially playing on the left, giving the ball away, but came more into the game by the finish.
In the 65th minute Pattison laid the ball off smartly to Marum, whose shot was deflected over the bar by a sliding tackle. A few minutes later Marum put Vernazza through but the latter hadn?t the pace to get his shot in and was quickly squeezed out by the Rushden defence. With Giuseppe Sole now on for Liam Marum, the Cards pressed for the vital second goal, although Rushden too were clearly looking for three points. An excellent Domoraud cross was palmed out by the keeper but evaded four Woking players. Gez Sole?s enthusiasm got the better of him as he wasted an attacking opportunity with a hopelessly optimistic shot from distance.
Rushden were far from hanging on, though, and a free-kick in a dangerous position saw Eastwood having to resort again twice to punching clear.
Going into three minutes of added time, Domoraud came very close to grabbing all three points as he forced the keeper to make a reaction save with his boot after seizing on an ?over the shoulder? pass from Sole. A Bunce free-kick presented Woking with their last chance but, although Colin Miles got his head to the ball, he could not get any power on his effort and the keeper saved comfortably.
Phil Gilchrist will no doubt have been disappointed not to have taken three points from this game. There was no lack of effort and a few decent moves were put together but, overall, there just wasn?t sufficient consistent quality in Woking?s play, especially in the attacking department, to earn more than a point.
Woking: Simon Eastwood, Joe Magunda, Paul Lorraine, Danny Bunce, Matt Pattison, Bradley Quamina, Paolo Vernazza, Abdou El Kholti (Wilfried Domoraud, 57), Liam Marum (Giuseppe Sole, 77), Tom Denton.
Unused subs: Nick Gindre, Daniel Spence, Joel Ledgister
Booked: Bradley Quamina
Sponsor?s (RBS and Menzies) MOTM: Bradley Quamina