12:00am, Tue 24th Feb 2009
Stevenage Borough 1 Woking 0
24 February 2009
Many Woking fans had travelled to Broadhall Way fearing the worst, given Boro?s outstanding form and our poor recent record and lengthy injury list, So, a 1-0 defeat ? our fourth such scoreline in a row ? has to be viewed as a respectable result from a genuinely young and inexperienced side, although of course it did absolutely nothing to ease our relegation worries.
Phil Gilchrist?s troubles mounted even before kick-off, with the late withdrawal of Colin Miles, whose name had appeared on the team sheet. Replacing him was youth team central defender Dan Sintin. Gilchrist chose an attacking formation, with Danny Knowles making his debut in goal, a back four of Michael Kamara, Paul Lorraine, Sintin and Joe Anderson, a midfield of Matt Pattison, Paolo Vernazza and Oliver Bozanic and a front three of Kelvin Bossman, Rob Elvins and Wilfried Domoraud.
Boro began menacingly, stretching the Woking defence seemingly at will, with balls played out wide to the speedy Mitchell Cole. But they wasted their early chances. Cole got away from Kamara in the third minute and lifted the ball over the advancing Knowles ? but also well over the bar. Other half chances followed but Knowles had little to do except catch the odd header and field a weak free-kick before Morison too shot well over.
With Bozanic prominent in midfield, Woking began to fashion some attacking moves, although the front three rarely seemed able to get the ball under control. Such chances as there were fell mainly to Pattison, having a shot blocked and then blazing over the bar.
Stevenage continued to make most of the running and to create the odd half-chance but Paul Lorraine was in good form and the young defenders around him, especially Joe Anderson, who looked composed, began to look more comfortable.
David Bridges got in on the act with a couple of efforts for the home side before Woking ended the half strongly, pegging Stevenage back for a spell, without though creating any real chances, before a clever Cole flick from a good cross went narrowly wide of Knowles?s far post.
So, the Cards, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, made it to half-time with honours still even.
Stevenage Borough 0 Woking 0
Woking continued in positive vein in the opening few minutes of the second half, with Bozanic still prompting well, and Bossman coming to notice with several crosses, one of which went dangerously across the face of Ashley Bayes?s goal.
In the 55th minute Knowles had to make his first proper save of the game ? and a very fine one it was too, as he managed to get his left hand to a downward header to deflect it to safety.
Five minutes later Boro got the crucial goal. Unfortunately, it stemmed from an error by Dan Sintin, who otherwise performed very creditably. His misdirected header went straight to Boylan, who darted into the area and slotted home in spite of the attentions of Lorraine and Knowles.
Thereafter the game became fairly scrappy. Surprisingly, Boro did not seem all that interested in putting Woking to the sword and might well have been made to pay for their lackadaisical approach by a team with more firepower than Woking possess. Gilchrist threw on, successively, Liam Marum, Charlie Moone and Joe McNerney as the minutes ticked away but none of the substitutions made any appreciable difference.
Woking?s best chance of the game came on the stroke of full-time. A free-kick in a central position, just outside the area, was played short to Bozanic. He advanced a few yards and struck a low shot which skittered past Bayes?s post.
In injury time Boro had an excellent chance to double their lead but Knowles was able to smother a downward header at the far post.
Those Woking fans who booed at the end did so, I think, out of frustration at the Club?s plight rather than in response to the performance on the night. Certainly, the likes of young players such as Anderson, Sintin, Kamara and Bozanic did not deserve to see their efforts rewarded in that vein. The most disappointing aspect was our failure to create chances, let alone put them away.
Woking: Danny Knowles, Michael Kamara, Paul Lorraine, Dan Sintin, Joe Anderson (Joe McNerney, 84), Matt Pattison (Charlie Moone, 77), Paolo Vernazza, Oliver Bozanic, Kelvin Bossman (Liam Marum, 69), Rob Elvins, Wilfried Domoraud
Subs not used: Ross Worner, Abdou El Kholti
Booked: Charlie Moone
My MOTM: Oliver Bozanic (pictured)