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John Moore - 21st December 2008

Lewes 0 Woking 2

Saturday 20 December 2008

What a relief it was to hear, ?Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to see Woking win away?, ringing around the Dripping Pan, as the long-suffering Cards fans celebrated a Wilf Domoraud brace, that secured a vital three points in a must-win game against fellow strugglers Lewes. With other teams around them slipping up, there was further Christmas cheer too for the large number of travelling Cards fans, as this result meant that the Club moved out of the relegation places again.

Although Phil Gilchrist persevered with Eastwood in goal, he was forced to re-shuffle the back four, following Lorraine?s red card earlier in the week against Salisbury, bringing in Patrice Konan as a replacement. Given the poor performance against Salisbury, it was no surprise either to find both a change of formation as well as personnel in midfield, although one was enforced, with Bradley Quamina unavailable due to a bout of food poisoning. Playing five across the middle, there were recalls for Sole, Ledgister and Spence, with Marum and Pattison filling the other slots. This left Domoraud to play the lone striker role in a 4-5-1 formation.

Perhaps the uneven surface didn?t help, but the first-half was particularly scrappy, with any football being played mainly coming from the home side. After twelve minutes the Cards had their first scare when Eastwood spilled a shot from Standing, who was neat and tidy throughout, which was struck straight at him from outside the box. Cards fans? hearts were in their mouths as the ball squirmed out of his grasp and spun agonisingly towards the goal, before being scrambled away to safety.

The next opportunity that came the home side?s way was again courtesy of some nervous defending. Miles gave Eastwood a straightforward back pass, which he made a complete hash of by slicing it wildly, and he was fortunate that no-one was on-hand to take advantage of his error.

Midway through the half Lewes had their best chance to take the lead, when a deflected shot from just outside the box fell invitingly for their centre-forward, Chamal Fenelon, but he blazed over high, wide and handsome from close range.

With time almost up, the Cards, who?d barely managed to put a meaningful attack together throughout the entire half, took the lead in very fortunate circumstances. A long, hopeful clearance out of defence, which, incidentally, was one of many during the first-half that failed to find anyone, looked innocuous enough and ?meat and drink? to the waiting central defender and goalkeeper. However, as the ball bounced up, they seemed to get distracted by the sight of the onrushing Domoraud and both collided with each other, leaving him with the simplest of tasks to put the ball into the empty net.

Half-time: Lewes 0 Woking 1

Thanks to that moment of good fortune at the conclusion of the first-half, the Cards looked a much more resolute and cohesive outfit right from the kick-off after the interval. Lewes were denied the time and space afforded to them earlier, particularly in midfield, and this allowed both Ledgister and Pattison on each flank to begin to feature more prominently.

Any threats to the Cards? goal were therefore kept to a minimum, with the only opportunities of any note competently dealt with by Eastwood. In the 51st minute he did well to save from close range with his feet and later tipped over a dangerous free-kick that was heading towards the top corner.

Likewise, despite Woking?s improved work-rate, they also struggled to create any clear-cut chances, mainly because their final pass was either too hurried, over-hit or misplaced, when they were well placed to press an attack home.

A strong run from Ledgister, who epitomised the improved second-half performance, caused mild consternation in the home defence, but the cross eluded everyone. Marum also went close with a fierce shot from the edge of the box, which just flew past the post.

With Lewes pressing forward to find an equaliser, the Cards hit them in the 71st minute with a sucker-punch. If Domoraud?s first goal had been a trifle fortunate, there was nothing lucky about his second. Pursuing a long ball over the top, when the ball bounced he beat Breach in the air, showing fierce determination and brute strength, strode on half the length of the pitch, cut inside and from a fairly acute angle, smashed the ball past Banks. It was a fabulous solo effort that was richly deserved, given that he?d had to fight a lone battle up front all afternoon, with barely any decent service to feed off. It also knocked the stuffing out of the home side and resulted in the Cards being comfortably able to see out the remainder of the game to secure a very important victory.

This wasn?t a pretty performance. In fact, it was far from it. However, given Tuesday night?s meek surrender, it could have been a case of out of the Dripping Pan and into the fire. This, thankfully, didn?t happen and it was encouraging to see the team roll up their collective sleeves and, particularly in the second-half, deliver a gritty performance. Points rather than champagne football are what?s required at the moment, so let?s hope, moving forward, this ?back to basics? approach yields dividends.

Woking: Eastwood, Magunda, Konan, Miles, Bunce, Ledgister, Spence, Sole (Sam -Yorke), Marum, Pattison, Domoraud.

Unused subs: Gindre, Lambu, Denton, Kamara.

My MOTM: Domoraud (pictured). Apart from his two goals, he competed all afternoon and constantly worried the Lewes defence.



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