Cambridge United 4 Woking 1
17 January 2009
The Cards suffered their heaviest defeat of the season this afternoon at the hands of a Cambridge side smarting from their 5-0 home trouncing by Crawley Town in the FA Trophy midweek. Unfortunately, today?s scoreline was not misleading. Woking?s normally solid defence was porous, the midfield gave the ball away far too often and the forward line was toothless once more.
Phil Gilchrist partnered Paul Lorraine and Michael Kamara in central defence and it was a ball played between the two to Danny Crow, who looked to be offside, that sent the U?s on their way to a comprehensive victory in the 3rd minute, Crow driving the ball over Eastwood and into the net.
Cambridge were clearly intent on avenging their midweek defeat and, in the absence of Crawley Town, Woking were the sacrificial victims. The U?s snapped into tackles, moving the ball forward swiftly and passed the ball well round the box. Woking did not help themselves as Lambu and Pattison ? both seemingly having ?hangovers? from their midweek penalty misses ? gave the ball away needlessly.
Crow hammered another effort into Eastwood?s midriff before the Cards began to get into the game. In retrospect, the following ten minutes was by far their best spell in the whole game. As so often, though, attacking moves failed to ?work? the opposing keeper, so Danny Potter was largely able to watch as shots went wide or over the bar. In the 10th minute Marum hit a chipped effort from the edge of the area but it was marginally too high. Pattison had a fierce effort blocked. Domoraud and Marum combined well in a quick break but Liam shot wide. He then set off on an enterprising run through the heart of the U?s defence, eventually finding Domoraud, who similarly fired wide. Bunce tried a very optimistic long-range effort, which went over the bar but which was very unlikely to trouble Potter from that range anyway.
Having failed to test the U?s keeper with several good openings, the Cards were immediately made to pay for their profligacy. Some clever, intricate passing around the Woking area opened the way for Crow, who fashioned a deft chip over Eastwood to put Cambridge 2-0 up in the 21st minute.
It could easily have been worse a minute later as Coulson was allowed a free header at the far post but it was directed straight at Eastwood. Bunce then gave the ball away, allowing the impressive Chris Holroyd to brush past Kamara and fire into the side-netting.
The U?s continued to pour forward at every opportunity, with Lorraine called on to make several decisive interventions, and with Eastwood too having to be quick off his line to foil other attacks.
In the 29th minute Phil Gilchrist made the first of two ? presumably enforced ? substitutions, with Konan replacing Magunda ? followed later by Vernazza for Bunce, with Spence then moving to left back.
Domoraud did well to turn quickly on the edge of the box but his shot was blocked. Cambridge then went even closer as a shot cannoned off a post and to safety. The Cards continued to rock as a free-kick went just wide and another effort by McMahon was blocked.
Konan tested the referee?s patience with several fouls to the right of the Woking area and, having been booked already, was given the benefit of the doubt when a Cambridge forward was blocked.
As half-time approached Marum got a shot on target but it was from such a long way out that Potter had to do no more than pick it up. This was then repeated by Domoraud following a promising quick break.
Half-time: Cambridge United 2 Woking 0
The Cards made a dreadful start to the second half and should have been three goals down almost straightaway. Once again the ball was given away cheaply but Eastwood pulled off a fine save before Tonkin, left free, had another shot blocked. Woking had the chance to break quickly but Lambu wasted the opportunity with a poor pass.
Five minutes later Tonkin was allowed to run in from the left across the Woking area before shooting strongly. Eastwood pulled off a tremendous save, going down instantly to his left to stop the shot and then pouncing to claim the ball before any forward could reach it.
Woking, now looking at sixes and sevens, exacerbated their plight as both Marum and Domoraud gave the ball away again. Hopes were raised in the 60th minute, however, when Domoraud nodded on smartly for Ledgister but the latter?s shot was blocked.
Eastwood came to the rescue again with another fine block but, yet again, the opportunity of a quick break was squandered with another poor ball from Lambu, who was then replaced by Sole.
It was unfortunate that Cambridge?s third goal ? so long coming ? resulted from a mistake by Eastwood, who had hitherto had an excellent game. He failed to get distance and direction on a punched clearance in the 64th minute. The ball fell to Beesley on the edge of the box and, unchallenged, he fired it back into the net.
Woking briefly rallied as Domoraud?s strength allowed him to lay the ball off to Marum in the box. His shot was deflected for a corner, which he then headed wide.
Cambridge, thoroughly enjoying their afternoon, pressed for more goals. Beesley found himself in acres of space but shot over and Coulson smashed a long-range effort narrowly wide.
After Marum had passed the ball to a Cambridge defender, the U?s grabbed their fourth goal with seven minutes left on the clock. From a free-kick out wide Willmott swung the ball into the box. It went through everyone, ending up nestling in the far corner of the Woking goal.
A fair few Woking fans had departed by the time the Cards scored a consolation goal in the 90th minute. (It was to their credit that they were still trying to take the fight to Cambridge.) Marum slipped a pass through to Ledgister, whose pace had enabled him to get past Tonkin. He swung the ball inside and Sole, a couple of yards out, had the simple task of chipping it into the net.
This was a very disappointing performance. For the first time for a long while the Cards were decidedly second best. Too many players looked ?out of sorts?, with only Lorraine and Eastwood looking near the top of their game, although honourable mentions must go too to Spence, playing his last game in his loan spell, and Vernazza, who passed the ball pretty well once he came on.
With two crucial home games coming up, against Ebbsfleet and Eastbourne, we need to bounce back from this heavy defeat as decisively as our hosts did this afternoon.
Woking: Simon Eastwood, Joe Magunda (Patrice Konan,29), Paul Lorraine, Michael Kamara, Danny Bunce (Paolo Vernazza, 38), Goma Lambu (Giuseppe Sole, 64), Daniel Spence, Matt Pattison, Joel Ledgister, Liam Marum, Wilfried Domoraud
Subs not used: Nick Gindre, Tom Denton
Booked: Spence, Konan, Vernazza
My MOTM: Simon Eastwood (pictured)