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Brian Caffarey - 1st January 2009

Crawley Town 2 Woking 2

1 January 2009

Phil Gilchrist was no doubt hoping to start 2009 on a positive note and he must have been delighted with this gutsy display from his side against one of the BSP?s better teams. If the Cards can only reproduce this performance in the crucial games coming up against struggling sides later this month, then relegation worries should soon vanish.

The main change which Phil made from the starting line-up against Wrexham was to bring in Tom Denton to partner Wilfried Domoraud up front in a 4-4-2 formation. Paul Lorraine, back from suspension, found himself on the bench: a testament to the fine display by the two K?s, Konan and Kamara, at the Racecourse Ground.

There was an early scare for the Woking defence as Bulman whipped in a cross, which just evaded Simon Eastwood, who, along with Tom Denton, was playing his last game for the Club before returning to Huddersfield Town. But the Cards? defence then proceeded to snuff out Crawley attacks with some ease, as the pace of Kamara, Konan and Magunda got the better of the normally impressive Crawley attack. It was perhaps unfortunate that Crawley?s Jamie Cook had to be substituted early on: his replacement, the old war-horse, the bulky Steve Fletcher, caused quite a few problems with his flick-ons as the game wore on.

But in the meantime Wilfried Domoraud had given Crawley a warning as he skipped past a defender and fired in a low centre, which ran loose before being cleared.

Danny Bunce was nearly made to pay for some casual defending as he was robbed by Bulman but, fortunately for him, the cross was poor. The impressive Pinault had the next chance for the Red Devils as he made space on the edge of the area and shot, but it was straight into Eastwood?s arms. Woking responded with a well-worked corner routine. Denton?s resulting header was mis-directed but Matt Pattison, having one of his best games in a Woking shirt, seized the chance to crash a shot on goal, which was somehow diverted to safety.

Pittman and Weatherstone combined to threaten again for the home side but, once more, the shot was weak and aimed straight at Eastwood in the centre of the goal.

Woking took the lead in the 26th minute with a quick break. Matt Pattison played the ball forward in an instant to Domoraud down the left. He outpaced the Crawley defence and, as Rayner advanced, slotted the ball into the far corner. (At the end of the game the Crawley announcer invited us to watch a video of the game, demonstrating, he added, that Domoraud had been well offside.)

Some brilliant attacking play by Kamara lifted Woking fans? spirits even more as he popped up to the right of the Crawley area. Domoraud looked as though he might repeat his goal as he latched onto another quick break but was just caught by a well-timed tackle. As half-time approached Crawley upped the pressure and fashioned several decent chances as Fletcher?s ?know how? enabled him to flick balls on for his team mates to run onto. Wilson headed wide from a corner. Weatherstone went down in the box, appealing for a penalty. Konan executed a superb tackle on Malcolm as he tore into the area. From another corner the ball ran loose but Eastwood managed to grab it before the damage was done. Pittman outpaced Bunce down the right but wasted the cross. But the Cards survived to go into the break with a heartening 1-0 lead.

Half-time: Crawley Town 0 Woking 1

Steve Evans must have given his side a half-time roasting because they came out looking far more determined, immediately putting the Cards on the back foot. With only two minutes gone, a corner was swung in and the burly Quinn beat Konan to the ball at the near post to power a header home to level the scores.

Crawley continued to press and, five minutes later, tore into a 2-1 lead. From a cross Fletcher headed the ball back across goal towards the back post and Malcolm slid in to squeeze the ball home from a tight angle.

There was a real danger that, at this point, the Cards would fold against a side with a formidable home goalscoring record in the BSP but they fought back with great spirit. Pattison strode forward to blaze an effort over the bar. Joel Ledgister won a corner down the right. But the equaliser came from a long free-kick down the middle. Domoraud, on the edge of the area, challenged the Crawley defender, and the keeper had also come out of his goal. The ball fell kindly to the industrious Daniel Spence, following up well, who took careful aim and fired into an empty goal.

The game was almost ?end to end? at this stage. For Crawley, Wilson became an important attacking outlet down the right, lofting balls into the ever-dangerous Fletcher. Weatherstone scooped high over the bar when he should have done better. For the Cards, Joel Ledgister had a couple of breakaways down the right but seemed to lack the confidence to make the most of the opportunities, crossing instead of shooting on one occasion and then over-hitting his cross on the next occasion.

Denton?s flick-ons to Domoraud and Matt Pattison?s sorties helped to relieve the pressure as Crawley strove mightily for all three points. But they spurned two fine chances with ten minutes to go, with one shot from Malcolm going just wide and another being scooped over the bar again. Malcolm went on another superb run, cutting inside but his shot went straight into Eastwood?s midriff. In the 90th minute Fletcher headed wide before the Cards had the best of the four minutes? added time, with substitute Delano Sam-Yorke?s pace discomforting the Crawley defence and Wilfried Domoraud?s bicycle kick threatening a spectacular finale.

This was a performance of tremendous character from this Woking side, who looked anything but a relegation-haunted side this afternoon. It was very heartening to see the partnership of Konan and Kamara, well supported by Magunda and Bunce, perform so well in the absence of Hutchinson and Miles. In midfield Spence and Quamina worked fantastically hard, whilst Pattison was back to his swashbuckling best. Denton?s awkwardness caused problems up front and was an important outlet for goal-kicks and free-kicks, and Domoraud?s pace and strength always threatened to unhinge the Crawley defence.

We now need to produce displays like this against Northwich (twice), Ebbsfleet and Eastbourne in the coming weeks.

Woking: Simon Eastwood, Joe Magunda, Patrice Konan (Paul Lorraine, 63), Michael Kamara, Danny Bunce, Joel Ledgister (Goma Lambu, 86), Bradley Quamina, Daniel Spence, Matt Pattison, Tom Denton (Delano Sam-Yorke, 90), Wilfried Domoraud

Subs not used: Nick Gindre, Liam Marum

Booked: Bradley Quamina

Attendance: 1525 (325 from Woking)

My MOTM: Matt Pattison (pictured)

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