Wrexham 1 Woking 1
28 December 2008
Only the most optimistic of Woking fans would have expected Woking to get anything from their first visit to the Racecourse Ground, yet despite the squad being stretched to the limit due to injury, suspension and illness, a young Woking team came away from North Wales with a valuable point, and with better finishing could have taken all three ? although Wrexham could argue the case the other way too!
Woking?s team showed three changes from the Boxing Day fixture with Crawley. Michael Kamara made his first start, replacing Colin Miles, and Bradley Quamina and Delano Sam-Yorke replaced Gez Sole and Liam Marum. The team had a very young look about it ? the oldest player was 25, and over half the team were 20 or under.
It was Wrexham who started more brightly, attacking at pace, and won an early corner. Wes Baynes swung the ball in to an unmarked Ashley Westwood, who headed wide. It was an early warning for Woking, that was sadly ignored later in the half.
Wrexham continued to have the better of the play and had a few half-chances but it was Woking who created two golden opportunities. Firstly, Wilf played in Sam-Yorke but he blazed high and wide. Then, in the 18th minute, a lovely move starting with Danny Bunce at the back, ended with Danny Spence finding himself free ten yards out but, like Sam-Yorke before, failed to get his shot on target and the chance was gone.
Five minutes later Wrexham took the lead. Once again, Baynes played the corner into the box, where, this time, Marc Williams was unmarked and he headed easily into the net ? why Woking only chose to mark one post at each corner was unclear ? had there been a defender on both posts then the header would have been cleared easily.
After half an hour Woking carved out their third great opportunity but this time it was Domoraud who showed it wasn?t just the midfield who need shooting practice, by firing the ball high and wide.
Wrexham continued to dominate possession but were frustrated by a dogged display by the Woking defence, who kept finding the ball coming back at them as the Woking midfield gave the ball away far too easily. Woking had one final opportunity before half-time when Ledgister made a good run down the right but with two players to aim for, he overhit the cross, which cleared the penalty area on the far side.
Half-time: Wrexham 1 Woking 0
Wrexham were first out after half-time and once again started brightly. With the backing of a vocal crowd, who reminded me of what the Woking support was like in our early Conference years, they pushed forward and ex-Card Jefferson Louis had two chances which he put wide.
In the 58th minute Phil Gilchrist made his first change, bringing on Goma Lambu for Joel Ledgister, but it was still Wrexham who continued to pile on the pressure, with Louis and Williams both having half-chances.
Wrexham nearly doubled their lead in the 63rd minute, when Eastwood had to race out of his area to reach a long ball. However, he mis-kicked the clearance, which fell to Williams, who shot for goal, but was denied by a superb recovery save from Eastwood, who managed to block the shot with his chest, keeping his arms away from the ball as he was still out of the area.
A minute later, Gilchrist decided a change of formation was necessary and Tom Denton came on for Sam-Yorke, with the team switching to 4-4-2. It had an immediate effect. A good interchange between the two Woking strikers played in Denton with just the keeper to beat but his shot was softer than a back pass and caused Ward no problem. From the resulting clearance Wrexham came so close to a second but Louis? header was denied by the bar, much to the relief of the Woking fans.
This proved to be crucial as, within a few minutes, Woking were level. Having missed some excellent chances, the goal itself owed more to poor defending then any great play from Woking. A Denton shot was pushed away by Ward. Domoraud chased the ball and crossed back into the middle. There were two defenders to cover the cross, but the first man inexplicably left the ball, the second defender hit an airshot giving Denton an easy chance, which this time he took, gleefully tapping the ball into the empty net.
Both teams had great chances to win the game late on. In the 88th minute Pattison found himself one-on-one with the keeper, cutting in from the left, but his shot was saved by Ward. Then, deep into stoppage time, Eastwood made two fine saves to ensure Woking would not lose the point they had worker hard for.
Overall, it was an encouraging performance from a young side, and with sharper finishing it could have been even better. Woking created some great chances but need to start putting them away if they are to escape relegation.
Woking: Eastwood, Magunda, Konan, Kamara, Bunce, Ledgister (Lambu 59), Spence, Pattison, Quamina, Sam-Yorke (Denton 64), Domoraud.
Subs Not Used: Gindre, El Kholti, Moone.
Booked: Sam-Yorke, Denton, Domoraud.
Man of the match A touch choice. Wilf worked his socks off. Konan looks so much better at centre back than at right back and had another superb game but I?m going to give it to Kamara (pictured). In his first start he played superbly, helping to frustrate one of the league?s most potent strike forces.