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Brian Caffarey - 13th April 2009

Woking 0 Oxford United 2

13 April 2009

Two early goals sank the Cards this afternoon once this game eventually got under way ? an hour late due to crowd problems.
Woking remain one place above the relegation places but Weymouth and York, both one point behind, have two games in hand. 

Woking, kicking towards the KRE, started with the same starting line-up as at Forest Green Rovers with the e exception of Pattison replacing Rhodes. Dan Sintim was a late replacement for Colin Miles, whose name was on the team sheet.

It was vital that the Cards, with their poor goalscoring record, did not concede an early goal. But that was precisely what happened. A free-kick was given away in the 5th minute by Hyde just to the left of the area. Adam Murray stepped up and hammered the ball into the far corner.

The Cards struggled to get going, although Bozanic went close with a free-kick in the 10th minute and Domoraud won several flick-ons. The ?killer? second goal arrived in the 17th minute with the Cards still at sixes and sevens. A quick throw-in down the Oxford right rebounded off the heel of a retreating Woking defender into the path of Farrell, who centred to the unmarked Clist, who deftly steered the ball left-footed into the far right of the Woking goal, giving Knowles no chance.

One suspected that this was ?game over? and so it proved, in effect. Oxford proceeded to play well within themselves, apparently content to let Woking make most of the running, while looking to hit the home side on the break. Woking huffed and puffed and, from about the half-hour mark, had more of the attacking play but created relatively little. It would have been interesting to see whether, once having relaxed, the U?s could have stepped up their game again if Woking had been able to pull a goal back.

Goma Lambu, mysteriously awarded the ?man of the match? accolade later, was having a nightmare with crosses and corners ? which didn?t help Woking?s attacking endeavours. But Woking began to put some moves together. Lorraine headed back across the area from a corner but didn?t find a team mate. Pattison did well to beat his man in the 33rd minute and cross into the box but Lambu?s attempted shot was blocked. To their credit the Cards attempted to pass the ball around, rather than hoofing it, but, with Oxford sitting back and content to close down space, there appeared to be few options for defenders and midfielders to get the ball forward.

Bozanic fired well over from distance, and Lorraine got in a good header from a Quamina cross but it went straight to the U?s keeper, Billy Turley, standing on his line. Another decent move saw the impressive Konan play in Quamina, but Turley got out just quickly enough to smother his shot. The half ended with another Bozanic effort, which was, however, well wide.

Half-time: Woking 0 Oxford United 2

Woking continued to make most of the running as the second half began but without quite looking as though they would score. Lambu, popping up in the middle from time to time, was felled just outside the box in the first minute. Bozanic?s free-kick was deflected just past the post.

The Cards went close again in the 53rd minute as Pattison nodded on a long crossfield pass into Quamina?s path, with the latter?s cross carrying right across the face of the goal but in front of his team mates.

The visitors responded with an excellent quick break. Farrell should have done better than to plant the ball well over the bar.

In the 61st minute Pattison made a characteristic run past a couple of defenders but his left-footed shot drifted wide of the upright. Graham Baker then went for broke, bringing on all three substitutes simultaneously, with Marum, Ledgister and Williams coming on for Pattison, Quamina and Sintim.

With Ledgister quickly involved on the right flank, the Cards won several corners but without really testing Turley. Domoraud?s excellent recovering tackle foiled a pacy Oxford counter-attack in the 74th minute and, shortly afterwards, Constable robbed Lorraine but shot straight at Knowles.

Ledgister got in a decent header from a Domoraud cross as time began to run out for the home side. Williams, played into the left of the area by Bozanic, fired in a crisp shot, which was deflected for a corner, which Lorraine reached but without being able to get any power behind his header. At the other end he did just enough to thwart a Constable drive into the box, with Knowles finishing the job as he tangled with the Oxford striker..

By now the Cards knew that the game was up and the game petered out apart from a quick Oxford counter-attack, with Odubade crossing for Farrell, whose failure to control the ball properly wasted a chance to add to the U?s goal difference.

This game was always going to be a tough ?ask? for the Cards but it was disappointing that their sluggish start effectively handed the match to the U?s. The Cards still did enough, once they got going, to suggest that they can still beat Mansfield on Saturday and perhaps take the relegation fight to the final match at Rushden the following Sunday.

Woking: Danny Knowles, Patrice Konan, Dan Sintim (Manny Williams, 62), Paul Lorraine, Joe Anderson, Matt Pattison (Liam Marum, 62), Bradley Quamina (Joel Ledgister, 62), Micah Hyde, Oliver Bozanic, Goma Lambu, Wilfried Domoraud

Subs not used: Ross Worner, Colin Miles

Booked: Micah Hyde

Attendance: 3791 (2100 from Oxford)

Sponsor?s (Larkstel Ltd) MOTM: Goma Lambu (pictured)

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