ALTRINCHAM 1 WOKING 0
21 February 2008
So, another frustrating 1-0 defeat for the Cards. But the frustration was rather different from recent games for this was a match in which our display ? mainly in the second half ? merited at least a point. Once again, though, we failed to find the net.
The Cards? injury woes continued, with Elvins (tweaked hamstring) and Quamina (groin strain) being added to the already lengthy list of crocked players. On the plus side, Joe Anderson, the new left-back loan signing from Fulham, made his debut and Friday?s other recruit, Kelvin Bossman, an 18 year-old striker from Reading, came off the bench in the second half.
It was almost a disastrous start for the Cards. A first minute Alty corner bounced alarmingly across the face of the Woking goal, finally clearing the head of the diminutive Chris Senior. In a scrappy start Paul Lorraine was soon fairly busy, snuffing out the home side?s attacks. But the best chance in this early phase fell to Woking. Charlie Moone made progress down the right and slipped the ball inside to Wilfried Domoraud, whose shot was well saved by the Robins? keeper.
Altrincham continued to have more possession but wasted several set pieces. They went closer, however, in the 18th minute when poor marking on the Woking right allowed Doughty to shoot wide.
Five minutes later the Cards had their second decent chance of the half. A long throw by Paolo Vernazza was headed on by Michael Kamara to Charlie Moone at the far post, but he headed wide.
The Cards were soon made to pay for this miss. The goal came unexpectedly from a poor attempted clearance by Anderson. His kick over his head went into the box instead of down the line and Senior hit a fine strike over his right shoulder which nestled in the top near corner of the Woking goal before anyone could move.
Woking seemed to find it hard to respond, with moves breaking down quickly and the ball spending a lot of time in the air. Slack marking on the right once more enabled the dangerous Little to shoot over. The Woking defence was all at sea in the 36th minute when a free-kick curled in from the left saw two Altrincham players left at the far post but, luckily, neither connected.
As half-time approached the Cards began to show more attacking prowess. A nice move between Pattison, Domoraud and Bozanic led to the young Aussie curling a shot not far wide of the post. He would have been less happy as he then ran the ball out of play. Domoraud had a shot blocked and Konan made a good run down the right, with his cross being blocked for a corner.
Half-time: Altrincham 1 Woking 0
In contrast to recent games, the Cards started brightly after the break and went on to dominate proceedings. In the space of a couple of minutes Bozanic hit a viciously swerving effort which the opposition keeper did well to parry away to safety, Moone had a shot blocked and Domoraud curled a strike just wide.
In the 53rd minute Eastwood showed again what a fine shot-stopper he has become, as he foiled Senior. But that was a brief Alty attack as the Cards began to string some good moves together, with Pattison, now switched to the right, looking much more effective. He shimmied well to accelerate past a defender but the pace was taken off his shot.
Bossman?s substitution for Ledgister seemed to give a further boost to the Cards? attacking endeavours as he moved to the right in what was now a three-man forward line. Domoraud, pushed further left, began to see a lot of the ball, using his considerable strength to hold off defenders and to make room for shots and crosses.
In the 59th minute Woking should have gained the equaliser which their play by now had deserved. Lorraine, only a yard or two out, headed down a Bozanic corner, which he really ought to have buried, and the keeper was just able to finger-tip the rising ball away.
With the Cards now making most of the running, the next chance fell to Kamara, heading over from another corner ten minutes later. But the minutes were beginning to tick away as Phil Gilchrist made another change, bringing on Liam Marum for Vernazza, with Marum going out wide right and Bossman moving into a more central role.
As the game moved into the final ten minutes of normal time Eastwood had to scramble across his goal as a shot from Senior went narrowly wide of the far post. In a final throw of the dice youth central defender Joe McNerney was thrown on up front, making the Cards? intentions clear as he pointed to his head. Indeed, he won his first header and made several useful contributions in the remaining minutes as Woking sought an elusive equaliser. A nice move, including a clever Marum dummy, broke down as Bozanic miscontrolled the ball. McNerney then ?fed? Bossman but the ball ran away from him.
With five minutes of added time now being played, Marum made a telling run into the area, slipping the ball to Domoraud but his shot was blocked. The whistle ended as the Cards sought to benefit from a Pattison long throw.
A good second-half display did not, therefore, bring its rewards but there was some encouragement in the performance of a very young side. Both of the new loan players showed up well and Charlie Moone used the ball intelligently, although, not surprisingly, he lost the physical battle with the experienced Mark McGregor. However, we will need more than just a decent second-half display if we are to come away with anything from Broadhall Way on Tuesday evening.
Woking: Simon Eastwood, Patrice Konan, Paul Lorraine, Michael Kamara, Joe Anderson, Joel Ledgister (Liam Marum, 77), Oliver Bozanic, Paolo Vernazza (Kelvin Bossman, 56), Matt Pattison, Charlie Moone (Joe McNerney, 86), Wilfried Domoraud
Unused subs: Ross Worner, Dan Sintin
Booked: Paolo Vernazza, Patrick Konan, Paul Lorraine
My MOTM: Paul Lorraine (pictured)