Brian Caffarey
12:00am, Wed 14th Jan 2009

Woking 2 Forest Green Rovers 2 (after extra time)

(Forest Green won 5-4 on penalties)

Setanta Shield Quarter-Final

13 January 2009

Those fans who chose not to bother with this game missed an enthralling encounter, with both sides going at each other hammer and tongs throughout a long evening, capped with an exciting penalty shoot-out. Phil Gilchrist will be pleased with aspects of the Cards? performance but disappointed that, having led twice in the game, and having been only a penalty kick away from victory, his side once more tasted cup defeat.

The match got off to a busy start, with Rovers forcing several early corners and quickly displaying the attractive approach play which is a hallmark of Jim Harvey?s sides. An early half-chance fell to Daniel Spence, though, as the Rovers? keeper, Ryan Robinson, cleared straight to him. With a repeat of his goal at Crawley possibly on the cards, his shot went straight into Robinson?s midriff. At the other end, Patrice Konan missed a through ball but the ever-reliable Paul Lorraine was there to sweep up.

After Rigoglioso had thumped a free-kick straight at the Woking wall, the Cards went up the other end to open the scoring in the 19th minute. Tom Denton laid the ball off to Liam Marum. The Rovers? defence surprisingly backed off sufficiently to allow him to advance to the edge of the area, where he unleashed a crisp, low shot which beat Robinson to give the Cards a 1-0 lead.

Rovers continued to pass the ball sweetly and patiently and always looked as though they could pull a goal back but they came up against a resolute Woking midfield and defence. Daniel Spence, looking more confident with every game and bursting forward from midfield whenever the opportunity arose, tackled tigerishly, and Goma Lambu and Matt Pattison, seemingly intent on showing that he?s worth a lot more than Steve Evans? valuation, also got through a huge amount of work. Joe Magunda was given a hard time on the Woking right but his speed of recovery was a big asset, while Danny Bunce looked back to his best form. It was good too to hear Paul Lorraine giving much encouragement and advice to his colleagues.

On the half-hour mark Matt Pattison shaped up for a spectacular strike as he flicked the ball over his head on the edge of the box onto his right foot but passed up the opportunity to shoot, with the ball eventually running loose. A minute later a double header from Tom Denton and Joe Magunda from a Bunce corner put the Rovers? defence at considerable peril. But the best chance fell to Wilfried Domoraud a few minutes later. Executing a brilliant turn just outside the box, he worked himself into space on his left foot but fired wide.

Rovers threatened strongly just before the break. Conal Platt shot wide after a fine run down the Rovers? left. Les Afful pounced on a Konan mistake and looked odds on to score but Patrice recovered superbly to deflect his shot for a corner. On 45 minutes neat play released Afful but Simon Eastwood came out to make a vital block.

Half-time: Woking 1 Forest Green Rovers 0

Woking started brightly after the interval with Matt Pattison slipping a nice ball through to Wilfried Domoraud, who was just beaten to it by Robinson. But the pattern of play was soon set, with Rovers having more of the possession and continuing to work the Cards? midfield and defence hard, while the Cards looked more dangerous on the break. Platt fired wide and high before Phil Gilchrist looked to change things, bringing on Delano Sam-Yorke for Tom Denton, who had been going through a sticky patch.

A good driving run from Daniel Spence was followed by a weak shot and Matt Pattison fired in a decent effort from distance. Liam Marum, though, should have done better in the 62nd minute when Delano slipped the ball into his path but his shot was well over the bar.

Platt went much closer straightaway, hitting a great dipping shot from 30 yards which clipped the top of the Woking crossbar. The Woking defence continued to be tested but, with Lambu and Pattison covering back superbly, largely protected Simon Eastwood. Platt, though, curled an effort just wide of the post.

In the 78th minute Domoraud passed up a marvellous opportunity to kill Rovers off. Liam Marum chipped a delightful ball into his path but Wilfried?s control let him down and, with only the keeper to beat, the ball ran out for a goal-kick.

As so often happens when such an opportunity is missed, the opposition bounced back almost immediately. Simon Eastwood had already made a fine block but could nothing to prevent Andy Mangan?s equaliser four minutes later. A typically neat Rovers move saw the ball centred into Mangan, who lashed home from close range.

The Cards threw everything at Rovers in an attempt to prevent extra-time. An enterprising run from Patrice Konan opened the way for Wilfried Domoraud but his shot was straight at Robinson. Delano Sam-Yorke then powered down the Woking right and into the box where ? according to your view ? he either ran out of room or was brought down. The referee thought it was the former, of course! With Joel Ledgister now on for Liam Marum, the Cards continued to press, with Danny Bunce registering a long-range effort. But Cards fans held their breath as Rovers floated in a cross which took out Simon Eastwood but fortunately eluded a Rovers forward.

Full-time: Woking 1 Forest Green Rovers 1

Going into extra-time, Woking scored a terrific goal virtually straight from the kick-off. Joel Ledgister went past a defender on the outside and put in an excellent near-post cross and there was Delano Sam-Yorke, arriving at speed, to slam the ball home. It?s a long time since we?ve seen a forward attack the near post as decisively as that!

Rovers were not about to give up, though, and Simon Eastwood had to make a magnificent reaction save to push a shot over the bar. Goma Lambu then had a splendid opportunity to extend the Cards? lead. Wilfried Domoraud floated a lovely cross over to him on the right of the area. But goalscoring is not Goma?s strong point ? as was to be confirmed later ? and he volleyed wide. Matt Pattison was the next Woking player to spurn a great chance. Domoraud once again was the provider. Making a fine run, he slipped the ball into Pattison?s path just inside the area. Matt shaped up to fire home but instead curled the ball over the bar.

It was to prove an expensive miss as, once more, Rovers capitalised on their ?let off?. A ball appeared to ricochet into Mangan?s path and, with only Eastwood to beat, he made no mistake to level the scores at 2-2.

Showing commendable commitment and fitness, both sides went hell for leather for the winner. Woking threw in four crosses in succession but all were cleared. Delano Sam-Yorke made another powerful run, leading to a blocked Ledgister shot. Exchanging blows, Sam-Yorke fired over, Lee Fowler shot straight at Eastwood and Mangan aimed just wide of the post. The final chance fell to Danny Bunce, but his free-kick from just outside the box was comfortably over the bar.

Score after extra-time: Woking 2 Forest Green Rovers 2

With the clock showing 10.25pm and the weather becoming distinctly frosty, the penalty shoot-out started before a noisy KRE. Woking went first and Danny Bunce, Wilfried Domoraud, Joel Ledgister and Joe Magunda all converted emphatically. Rovers? Jonathan Smith then put his kick wide to give Woking an inviting 4-3 lead in the penalty shoot-out. Up stepped a tired-looking Goma Lambu, who did exactly the same. Jerry Gill made it 4-4 for Rovers. Matt Pattison attempted to place his kick but the Rovers keeper guessed the right way and saved. Conal Platt then fired home to hand the tie to Rovers to the delight of their fans and his team mates.

So, another ultimately disappointing cup exit but it was a great game and there were a number of positives in the Woking performance. We now need to show the same commitment ? and a bit more ruthlessness in our finishing, please! ? in the crucial forthcoming league games, starting on Saturday at Cambridge United.

Woking: Simon Eastwood, Joe Magunda, Paul Lorraine, Patrice Konan, Danny Bunce, Goma Lambu, Matt Pattison, Daniel Spence, Liam Marum (Joel Ledgister, 87), Wilfried Domoraud, Tom Denton (Delano Sam-Yorke, 56)

Subs not used: Nick Gindre, Colin Miles, Charlie Moone

Booked: Matt Pattison, Joe Magunda

Attendance: 499

My MOTM: Difficult to choose from a number of good performances but my vote goes marginally to Matt Pattison (pictured)

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