Boz's Fruit & Veg

Craig's penalty saves a point

Brian Caffarey
7:47am, Sun 14th Nov 2010
Woking 2 Chelmsford City 2
13 November 2010

The Cards desperately needed three points from this game to make up lost ground on the league play-off contenders but it took another injury-time penalty – the third in the last three league games – to save a point after a tepid second-half display.

With Mark Ricketts and Francis Quarm both injured, new signing Lee Sawyer was immediately thrown into the midfield, while Jerome Federico made his home debut after being thrust into the limelight at the Withdean Stadium. Lee showed his pedigree with some nice touches, always looking to get the ball under control, while Jerome found it hard to get into the game but again showed that he has pace to burn when given the chance.

In a pretty even first half the Cards started brightly, with several decent passing moves, two of which ended with deep crosses from the flanks from Aswad Thomas and Ricky Anane. But the defence had first to survive an opening salvo from the visitors in which the ball ricocheted around the box, eventually being headed wide.

Woking’s first real chance came in the 12th minute from a corner, won by Federico, with Thomas, unchallenged, directing a low header goalwards, which, unfortunately, arrowed straight to City’s keeper, Pullen, standing on his line. Elvis Hammond looked lively up front but never quite seemed to get the rub of the green, always being just snuffed out – which was very much the tale for the rest of the game. Dave Gilroy looked to play off the shoulder of the defender but was caught offside on a couple of occasions as through balls were delayed too long. With neither striker winning anything in the air, Woking could only make progress on the ground.

City increasingly impressed with some slick moves, with John Martin pulling the strings in midfield, the pacy Ricky Modeste looking threatening down the left and the powerful Sam Higgins looking a very useful target man. A crisp move in the 22nd minute was foiled only by a terrific block from the reliable Adam Doyle, and then Higgins was not far away with a strong header. Next it was Thomas in action, blocking a dangerous cross.

At the other end, a clever flick by Hammond nearly played Gilroy in but, as with most of the attempted final balls, it didn’t quite come off.

On the half-hour mark Andy Little and Ricky Anane nearly made a mess of a through ball, with the Woking keeper just getting his hands on it ahead of Modeste. Chelmsford then threatened again with a quick break but Martin slid his through ball too close to Little, allowing the Woking keeper to thwart what otherwise looked a very good opening.

As the game swung from end to end, Little’s opposite number was then called to tip Thomas’s cross-cum-shot over the bar. This move was to lead to Woking’s goal for Thomas’s resulting shot from the corner was turned away by the keeper for another corner. As the ball came over Joe McNerney was blatantly obstructed and, with cries of ‘penalty’ going up from all the Woking fans, the referee duly pointed to the spot. Gilroy stepped up but hammered the ball at the keeper. Fortunately for Woking, Moses Ademola was following up at pace and drove the ball emphatically back past Pullen to make it 1-0.

Chelmsford fought hard to level the scores before the break. Joe McNerney lost his foothold in a dangerous position but the linesman’s flag came to Woking’s rescue – not for the first time in this half – and then Thomas blocked again. The Cards safely reached half-time as Little grabbed a low cross at the foot of his post.

Half-time: Woking 1 Chelmsford City 0

The Cards started the second half in lively fashion and Hammond immediately came very close to extending their lead. He managed to hold off the defenders as he latched onto a through ball but could only try to poke it past Pullen, who just managed to get a hand to it. With both sides tending to give the ball away, other openings fell for Ademola and Federico but both shot from distance without troubling the keeper. Higgins’s volley was more forceful but straight at Little.

After a promising opening the Cards lost their way as City seemed to get a grip of the midfield and Woking seemed to find it harder and harder to get out of their own half. City’s equaliser in the 55th minute started with a Woking attack breaking down. Federico and Ademola got in a tangle over the clearance and Sawyer, exposed on the Woking right, resorted to a professional foul, for which he got booked. Worse was to follow as Lock’s free-kick from out wide went right through the Woking defence and into the far corner of the goal.

City seemed to find their shooting boots as Reed struck the bar with another free-kick a few minutes later and then Little had to tip another excellent strike from Coker over the bar. All Woking had to show for their efforts at this stage was a few attempted counter-attacks which quickly fizzled out.

On 65 minutes Graham Baker threw on Ola Sogbanmu for Gilroy and Charlie Turnbull for Federico but with little apparent effect as City resumed their search for the winning goal. Lock’s chip from another free-kick was narrowly over the bar and then McNerney, much to his annoyance, was judged to have given away a corner. The ball was swung over to the far post where Modeste, seemingly unchallenged, headed home to make it 2-1 to the visitors.

City nearly wrapped the game up a few minutes later as Woking were saved by the post from another smart effort from Cook. As the game moved into the last ten minutes there was still no sign that Woking could get back into the game, whilst Little had to be alert to divert Reed’s fierce shot into the side netting.

With three minutes of normal time remaining and a Woking corner waiting to be taken, Graham Baker threw on Craig Faulconbridge (pictured) for Moses Ademola. The big Woking striker got his head to the ball but it went straight to Pullen. But his influence on the game didn’t stop there as he flicked a ball to Hammond. The move broke down but the referee called back play for a free-kick just outside the ‘D’. Joe McNerney’s free-kick was well struck but didn’t dip enough to hit its target.

With five minutes of injury (or time-wasting) time added on, the game was further extended as Takumi Ake (who’d impressed for Woking in friendlies in the summer) lay motionless on the touchline for ages in what home fans clearly thought was yet a further attempt at wasting time.

With 96 minutes on the clock, a final Woking attack saw Craig Faulconbridge shoot in the area. His effort was blocked but as he attempted to regain possession he seemed to be fouled by Haines. A soft penalty it may have been – and City certainly thought so – but Faulconbridge hit it firmly above Pullen’s drive to gain Woking a somewhat fortuitous point for the second game running.

Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Jerome Maledon, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Moses Ademola (Craig Faulconbridge 87), Lee Sawyer, Elvis Hammond, Dave Gilroy (Ola Sogbanmu 67), Jerome Federico (Charlie Turnbull 67)

Unused subs: Matt Pegler, Alan Inns

Booked: Lee Sawyer, OIa Sogbanmu, Joe McNerney

Sponsor’s MOTM: Ricky Anane

Attendance: 1198

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