12:00am, Tue 3rd Mar 2009
WOKING 0 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 0
(Game abandoned after about 63 minutes)
3 March 2009
At least the Cards weren?t in front when the referee was finally forced to abandon this game! That was about the only consolation from a thoroughly miserable evening as the rain sheeted down at Kingfield, sweeping across the ground in waves as the wind tore semi-diagonally across an increasingly waterlogged pitch. Probably the only person who went away at least partly content was the Cards? Finance Director, James Aughterson, who at least didn?t have to return fans? entrance money.
Well before this game started it looked odds on that it wouldn?t go the distance. I even joked with the referee as he and his colleagues warmed up, imploring him to end it before half-time if he had call it off. In vain. But it was one of those occasions when the referee couldn?t win. The pitch was playable at the start, just about playable by half-time but becoming a lottery by the time he called a halt. It would have been a complete farce if it had lasted another thirty minutes.
The Woking team sheet was identical to Saturday?s but it didn?t look the same team once the game started. Apart from a low shot by Bozanic in the 5th minute the Cards barely threatened in the first half hour, with the Harriers having far more of the play. The suspicion that this was due in some measure to their having the wind at least partly at their backs was borne out in the second half when the Cards looked the more likely to achieve the breakthrough.
In any event the Harriers passed the ball around pretty comfortably, finding their men remarkably well, given the conditions. There were one or two decent attacking moves, especially down their right flank but the Woking defence, with Lorraine prominent as usual, cleared their lines relatively easily and there were quite a few occasions, of course, when the wind carried the ball through to Knowles.
The first real danger came in the 20th minute when the lively McDermott nipped in quickly on the edge of the area to meet a low cross and sweep the ball not far wide of Knowles?s post.
About the only threat to the Harriers? goal at this stage came from a couple of unwelcome back passes to keeper Bartlett, who, having despatched the ball to safety, gave withering looks to his defenders.
Around the half-hour mark the Cards began to apply a bit more pressure to the Harriers? defence. A ricochet off Bossman nearly played Elvins in but the keeper got there first. Frustratingly, three more attacking moves broke down as Elvins was caught offside. Compensating somewhat for these errors, he did well to fire in a low left-footed cross from the byeline but Bartlett took it cleanly.
The half ended with some clever play by Pattison in the corner, followed by a deep cross, from which Bozanic won a corner but, from the resulting play, the young, mercurial Aussie crossed behind the goal. In injury time Knowles played safe in pushing McDermott?s curling effort ? which was probably going wide anyway ? away for corner.
Half-time: Woking 0 Kidderminster Harriers 0
By the time the second half started the rain was beginning to collect in pools on the side of the pitch nearest the open terrace too. Phil Gilchrist threw on Liam Marum for Bossman, who had not managed to get in the game during the opening half. Liam was quickly into the action as he found himself clear of the Harriers? defence. As the keeper came out he shaped to chip, but the ball merely went harmlessly straight along the ground and out for a goalkick. He looked accusingly at the soggy pitch.
The Harriers had an attacking flurry, with Riley heading over, before Woking began to gain the ascendancy. Both Marum and Pattison started to find space to run at the opposition defence but it wasn?t easy to take the ball with them! Vernazza ? seemingly more comfortable with the conditions this evening than his midfield partner, Hyde ? got in a fine low drive through a crowd of players, only to see Bartlett take it cleanly once more.
The arrival of Justin Richards from the Harriers? substitutes? bench was greeted in mixed fashion but eyes were soon on Pattison as he fired in a superb left-footed shot which went just wide. With the ball now beginning to hold up just outside the Harriers? area Bartlett found himself in a couple of chases with Elvins, just managing to clear.
At the other end, a rather reckless attempted back pass was deflected into the path of a Harriers forward. Knowles forced him wide and, in the meantime, Anderson, having another assured game, had taken up position on the goal line to deal comfortably with the resulting weak shot.
Bozanic replied with a fine long-range shot before the referee talked to both captains after a sliding tackle on Konan. A couple of minutes later he went over to the touchline to talk to the two managers and that was that.
There were the customary boos from fans but, looking down on the pitch from the top of the Leslie Gosden Stand, it was hard to see that he?d much alternative by that stage.
So, this fixture will need to be re-arranged for the second time.
Woking: Danny Knowles, Patrice Konan, Paul Lorraine, Dan Sintim, Joe Anderson, Matt Pattison, Micah Hyde, Paolo Vernazza, Oliver Bozanic, Kelvin Bossman (Liam Marum, 46), Rob Elvins
Subs not used: Ross Worner, Michael Kamara, Joel Ledgister, Charlie Moone
Booked: Patrice Konan
My MOTM: Paolo Vernazza (pictured)