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Brian Caffarey - 7th March 2009


7 March 2009

A goal and three points! But, boy, did the Cards make it hard for themselves, spurning a host of chances to make the game safe after taking an early lead! And, predictably, there were some nervous moments towards the end as the Bluebirds threatened to grab an undeserved point.

Phil Gilchrist showed his attacking intent with a 4-3-3 line-up, with the returning Wlfried Domoraud joining Rob Elvins and Kelvin Bossman up front. Micah Hyde, Oliver Bozanic and Matt Pattison and formed the midfield trio. At the back Colin Miles got the nod ahead of Dan Sintim, alongside Patrice Konan, Paul Lorraine and Joe Anderson. Danny Knowles was in goal.

The Cards went straight into the attack and had the visitors on the ropes for most of the first half without being able to finish them off. This was due to a mix of poor finishing and some heroic defending from Bluebirds? skipper, Paul Jones, who matched his opposite number, Paul Lorraine, for defensive obduracy, and keeper Alan Martin.

Pattison won the first of many corners in the opening minute and from the resulting play Bozanic hit a superb dipping shot from 20 yards, which cannoned off the bar. Crosses rained in from Bozanic, Bossman and Anderson, whilst Bozanic fired in three free-kicks in the first eight minutes, putting almost constant pressure on the Barrow defence.

Domoraud arrowed in another cross, with Bossman nearly getting between two defenders as he stretched to reach it. Woking struck the woodwork again in the 11th minute. Domoraud chased a ball down the left flank, gaining yards on a Barrow defender before beating him to the bounce. Advancing, he let loose a shot from a narrow angle, which the Barrow keeper saved, before heading the rebound onto the post. You began to wonder if this was going to be yet another game in which the Cards would fail to make early pressure pay.

A minute later Bossman successfully challenged the Bluebirds? keeper in the air but Pattison?s touch was too light and the ball was cleared. In the 14th minute the Cards had an excellent chance to take the lead. Domoraud turned in the box, got the ball onto his left foot and shot in deliberate fashion but the Barrow keeper made a fine save. Pattison then tried his luck with a first-time volley but it flew well wide.

At the other end Knowles? only moment of anxiety was in coping with a headed back pass, with the ball threatening to run loose, at the feet of a Barrow forward, as he struggled to prevent it going over the line for a corner.

In the 22nd minute Woking finally got their first goal in six games (more if you count the abandoned Kidderminster fixture) and it came from a deflection! After another series of crosses and clearances the ball came out to Bozanic on the edge of the area. His well-struck shot was deflected by a Barrow defender, wrong-footing the keeper. 1-0 to the Cards!

Surely, Woking could now press on and make the game safe? Elvins, winning a few headers in spite of Jones?s attention, threatened to do just that three minutes later, as he flicked a decent header goalwards but it went straight to Martin.

The first moment of anxiety for Woking came in the 29th minute when a corner reached the far post and Nick Rogan hit the side-netting. Another corner, five minutes later, also caused concern as the ball went right across the face of goal. But these were the only incidents of note to interrupt the continuing assault on the Barrow defence. In the 37th minute there were shouts for a penalty as Domoraud?s cross was blocked and then two corners in succession kept up the pressure.

A golden chance fell to Elvins in the 39th minute. A fantastic whipped cross by Bozanic was met perfectly by the on-loan Shots striker a few yards out but he headed over the bar. His disbelief in missing the target was matched only by the Woking fans around him.

As half-time approached Hyde limped off, to be replaced by Liam Marum. Almost immediately, Elvins appeared to be tripped in the box, the ball ran loose to Marum to his right but Liam?s shot was blocked by Martin.

Half-time: Woking 1 Barrow 0

The second half proved to be scrappier, perhaps because the Cards missed the intelligent prompting that Hyde provided from midfield. The Cards continued to create sufficient chances to finish Barrow off but the visitors looked much more threatening on the break, with most of the danger coming from the speedy on-loan Scunthorpe winger, Peter Winn, down their left flank.

The Cards continued to make most of the running. Bossman hit a weak left-foot effort, repeated a few minutes later by Elvins as he was played into the left of the area by Domoraud.

Not for the last time Barrow broke quickly, with Winn slaloming past several defenders before Knowles kicked clear. At the other end, in the 55th minute, Elvins spurned another good chance. He did well to wriggle past a couple of defenders but seemed to want to walk the ball into the net, took it too far and was thwarted by Martin.

A wave of Woking attacks ensued, with Lorraine looking on a couple of occasions as if he might hit the target as he rose to meet corners, one of which was followed by a back header from Miles, which, unfortunately, went straight into Martin?s arms. Barrow broke quickly once more and came close with a header from a corner before Konan made a powerful run into the box, drawing a fine left-handed save from Martin.

Phil Gilchrist threw on Goma Lambu for Bossman on the right but the next attack was down the left as Marum and Domoraud combined well, but the latter?s cross was directed straight to a Barrow defender. A Domoraud effort was then blocked before Marum mis-directed a chip as another attack broke down.

A Lambu cross had Martin stretching to tip the ball over the bar before Barrow put the Cards on the back foot for ten minutes or so, not helped by the Cards? tendency to give the ball away.

As the 80TH minute approached, and Cards fans? nerves intensified, Domoraud looked as if he had got the better of Jones as he turned him in the box but the Barrow skipper made a brilliant recovering tackle to dispossess the Woking striker. Barrow responded with a dangerous-looking attack but the linesman?s flag signalled offside just as the Cards defence battled to clear the ball.

The last ten minutes were predictably anxious. On several occasions the Cards defence had to scramble the ball away to safety as the visitors desperately sought an equaliser. Pattison tried to make the game safe with a well-struck drive from distance. Bozanic too threatened but failed to connect cleanly. Eventually, to considerable relief from the Woking faithful, the referee blew the final whistle.

Woking should have won this game very comfortably, dominating for long periods and creating a number of very presentable chances, in addition to hitting the woodwork twice. Domoraud?s strength undoubtedly made a huge difference up front. At the back Lorraine was as solid as ever but was well supported by Miles?s excellent positioning and very sound performances from Konan and Anderson. The Cards now need to reproduce this performance ? and be more clinical in front of goal ? against Wrexham next Saturday.

Woking: Danny Knowles, Patrice Konan, Paul Lorraine, Colin Miles, Joe Anderson, Micah Hyde (Liam Marum 45), Oliver Bozanic, Matt Pattison, Kelvin Bossman (Goma Lambu, 64 ), Rob Elvins (Daniel Sintim, 88), Wilfried Domoraud

Unused subs: Michael Kamara, Charlie Moone

Booked: Oliver Bozanic

Attendance: 1529

Sponsor?s (Bob King, Ross McCulloch, John Mitchell, Kevin Mitchell) MOTM: Paul Lorraine (pictured)

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