WOKING 1 WREXHAM 1
14 March 2009
This was a result that suited neither side really, both teams being desperate for three points for very different reasons. But, with other results going Woking?s way, the single point gained by a storming second half performance was more welcome than seemed likely at the beginning of play.
On a beautiful spring day the Cards lined up with new signing Alex Rhodes out on the left of midfield but Micah Hyde was missing. Wrexham gave a debut to their new signing, Matt Jansen.
With Jefferson Louis prominent up front, it was the visitors who made most of the early running, creating several good chances as crosses came in from their left. Danny Knowles, whose handling was impeccable throughout, had to make a smart save, low down, from a flicked header in the third minute. Another blocked shot drew appeals for a penalty; and Fleming then headed wide when he ought to have scored. At the other end the only serious attack ended in a thunderous Domoraud volley, just wide, after Elvins had flicked on to his strike partner.
In the 10th minute Wrexham gained a ?soft? free-kick just outside the box. Unfortunately for Knowles, Baynes?s effort took a huge deflection, leaving him stranded as the ball flew into the far corner.
Woking tried to take the game to the Dragons but found it difficult to gain any rhythm and momentum as too many passes went astray or balls were pumped forward more in hope than in expectation of finding a willing front runner. Bozanic connected well with a volley but it was a comfortable save at chest height for the Dragons? keeper, Anthony Williams, who, like his opposite number, had a fine afternoon. At the back, the Cards? defence looked more porous than usual, and Jansen had an excellent chance in the 19th minute as he fired over the bar as the ball ran loose in the box.
The first of several appeals for a penalty from the Cards occurred a minute later as Domoraud went down in the box: if the referee thought it was a dive, he didn?t respond with a booking. Elvins then went on a run which saw him beat several defenders but, with the home crowd urging him to shoot, he was dispossessed before Pattison weighed in with a great tackle, allowing Elvins to finally get in a decent effort.
After Jansen had turned well in the box, only to fire weakly, the Cards had a second appeal for a penalty as Elvins was cynically blocked in the area after Rhodes and Domoraud had combined well down the Woking left. But, five minutes later, the boot was definitely on the other foot as Miles appeared to bring down Baynes as the latter ran at the Woking defence. That wasn?t given either.
Pattison played in Bossman to the right of the area but his first touch took him too wide and the angle was too tight to do other than put the ball wide. Domoraud then tested Williams with an excellent effort, the keeper doing well to get down and steer the ball away with his left hand.
As injury time was played out, the visitors had two excellent chances to take a commanding two-goal lead. Louis stole in to meet a cross and, from only a few yards out, allowed Knowles to make a terrific save as he got down to the striker?s weak shot to push the ball away for a corner. Baynes then fired over after some poor defending had, once again, provided a very presentable chance.
Half-time: Woking 0 Wrexham 1
The Cards emerged from the break with Sintim on for Miles and quickly set about clawing back the goal deficit. With Rhodes increasingly in the game on the left, it was the visitors? defence that was now the busier of the two, with Wrexham confined to harmless long-range efforts.
Only seven minutes into the half the Cards gained the vital equaliser. Elvins timed his run perfectly as he got beyond the defence to meet Anderson?s perceptive through ball and, only a few yards out, took the ball down and despatched it decisively beyond Williams. It?s taken him a long time to register that first goal in a Woking shirt but it was a just reward for a committed, hard-working performance.
The game continued to be an entertaining affair as both sides sought the win they really needed but, as the half wore on, the momentum increasingly lay with the home team. Knowles, though, had to make an important block from Baynes in the 59th minute, before a looping header from Lorraine from a Bozanic corner was plucked out of the air by Williams.
Phil Gilchrist threw on Lambu for Bossman in the 62nd minute as the Cards upped the pressure and he immediately got in a fine cross. Soon afterwards, Rhodes cut in nicely from the left and hit a fierce right-footed drive which was blocked: a fate which also befell a Bozanic effort a few minutes later. Woking pressed forward, with some excellent approach work by Konan and Lambu eventually producing a driving run from the busy Pattison, whose deflected shot fell nicely for Williams. The pressure continued as Domoraud produced a sprawling save from Williams, with the ball then running loose to Elvins but the angle was difficult and he could only fire wide.
At the other end, Knowles had to deal with a curling effort from Flynn but held it cleanly by his post and also dealt comfortably with a long-range effort from Spann before making sure that he was first to a threatening through ball.
As the game moved into its final phase, the Woking defence successfully kept the visitors at bay, largely thwarting them before they reached the danger area, although what looked like a perfectly good tackle from Lorraine resulted in a free-kick right on the edge of the area. This time the deflection fell nicely for Knowles.
Rhodes fired wide before being replaced by Ledgister for the final ten minutes. Both sides were clearly still intent on gaining the vital winning goal but the only real chance fell to Ledgister in the four minutes of extra time added on. Konan made an enterprising run into the box and put in a fine cross just beyond the far post, which Ledgister headed wide. At the other end, it was probably just as well that a last-ditch attempted tackle by Lorraine didn?t find his man, otherwise the game would have ended with the drama of a ?last kick of the match? penalty drama.
There was warm applause from Cards fans at the end for this performance and, especially on the second half showing, we looked too good a side to go down but we?ve got to pick up some three point hauls somewhere along the way if we?re to avoid that fate.
Woking: Danny Knowles, Patrice Konan, Paul Lorraine, Colin Miles (Dan Sintim, 46), Joe Anderson, Kelvin Bossman (Goma Lambu, 63), Matt Pattison, Oliver Bozanic, Alex Rhodes (Joel Ledgister, 79), Rob Elvins, Wilfried Domoraud
Unused subs: Ross Worner, Liam Marum
Booked: Paul Lorraine
Sponsor?s (Link Leisure) MOTM: Danny Knowles (pictured)