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Cards Win At Maidenhead

23rd February 2011

Cards Win At Maidenhead Maidenhead United 0 Woking 1
Blue Square Bet South
Tuesday 22nd February 2011

With thanks to Andy Avery for this report

For a while it looked like it was going to be ‘one of those’ games where Woking did everything but score, but in the end Elvis Hammond’s well taken goal was enough to seal all three points for Woking and help with their push towards the play-offs

Woking lined up with the same starting XI as the Staines game, with Craig Dobson, once again on the bench after his entertaining debut. Maidenhead lined up in a 4-4-2 with Alex Wall being their main outlet up front.

Woking started brightly, passing the ball well and having the lion’s share of possession. The first real chance came in the 8th minute when a Murtagh free kick was met by McNerney, but his header went wide.

Two minutes later, Woking should have taken the lead. Hammond blocked a clearance and found himself clear of the last defender. He took the ball on a few paces but then shot weakly giving Williams a comfortable save.

Maidenhead’s main attacking intent came from long balls played forward for Wall to run onto but they provide little real attacking quality – their only attack of note in the first 20 minutes ended with a cross so high, a giraffe would have struggled to get on the end of, and the ball sailed harmlessly over the goal line.

In contrast, Woking were passing well and working hard to get the ball back, Davies, Hammond and Doyle in particular gave their opponents little time, although the whole team was getting in on the act, and it was no surprise when the next best opportunity fell Woking’s way.

Ademola played the ball into Hammond just inside the area. He flicked it first time round his defender but as he tried to follow the ball, Fyfield blocked him, right in front of the referee, who had no hesitation in awarding the penalty. Ademola stepped up, but went for precision rather than power, and his side-foot shot was easily saved by Williams.

Hammond fashioned another chance, chasing after a loose pass, and although he got to the ball before the keeper, he was only able to nudge it quite wide, and the angle was too tight for him to score.

Maidenhead’s only real chance of the first half came in the last minute, when a free kick was headed just wide.

It was a frustrating half for Woking – they had a lot of possession, but with Williams in the Maidenhead goal, organising his defence well like a shepherd herding his sheep, too often, the final ball let Woking down, along with some weak finishing, when they did get a chance.

Half Time: Maidenhead 0 Woking 0

Garry Hill obviously felt things needed a change at half time so the second half started with Dobson on for Anane down Woking’s right flank.

Maidenhead started much more brightly and played some nice football, much more akin to a team connected with Dereck Brown, than the long-ball tactics of the first half. However, Woking’s defence stood firm and Little was virtually untroubled.

What had been a well-natured game, exploded in the 55th minute. McNerney went in with what looked like a high tackle on Wall and a fracas followed involving everyone bar Wall and Dobson. It was interesting to note how the whole Maidenhead team rushed to get involved yet not one of them went to see how Wall was leaving him lying prostrate on the ground!

When the officials had wrestled back control, McNerney was banished to the dressing rooms for his tackle, whilst Nisbet saw red for Maidenhead for his role in the ensuing melee.

This seemed to spark Woking into life, and they started to use the extra space well. Craig Dobson, whose first touch in the game had been to tread on the ball (!) found he had the beating of his man, and Woking were more than happy to give him plenty of possession, and he put in a good performance – looking dangerous throughout the half.

In the 61st minute, the excellent Jay Davies, burst through the centre, beating two men, but his shot was saved by Williams. A minute later, a fabulous cross from Dobson was headed over by Doyle, who had stayed up from a set piece.

The Woking fans, who had been in great voice all night, continued to roar their team forward, although you could sense the nervousness in them, that it was going to be their night.

Finally, in the 72 minute, the breakthrough came. A lovely through ball by Doyle released Hammond who went by his man easily, and this time his shot was well placed and flew into the corner of the net, past William’s despairing dive. Cue wild celebrations behind the goal!

Maidenhead pushed forward and their first goal attempt on target in the whole match, came in the 78th minute but Wall’s shot was easily saved by Little, who can’t have had a much easier game than this one in recent months.

The last 10 minutes was all Woking. A lovely passing move found Murtagh in space, but his shot was well blocked by a defender.

A minute later, Dobson found Ademola in space, but he shot narrowly wide, when he could have done better.

As the referee indicated 5 minute of stoppage time, Ademola did do better, his powerful shot was heading in, but Williams did very well, flinging a hand out and diverting it onto the underside of the bar and it bounced to safety.

Hammond was subbed in the 92 minute and was given a huge ovation but the Woking fans who appreciated his impressive contribution to the game. Almost immediately, the referee blew for full time, leaving the players confused as there had only been 2 minutes of the allotted 5, and the Maidenhead manager stormed onto the pitch to confront the referee – we can only assume, there was a delay in showing the amount of injury time before the board went up.

Full Time: Maidenhead 0 Woking 1

Woking didn’t care though, they had secured another 3 points, another clean sheet and another confidence boost for the team and fans. On paper, February looked like an easier month for Woking, but you still have to do the business and get the wins – what has pleased so many people, has been the style in which this has been achieved – Hill and Thompson have brought the feel good factor back to the club in a few short weeks, so who knows where it will end up going!

It was easy to see why Maidenhead have slipped into the bottom three – their performance was flat like unleavened bread – they need something to provide the yeast or they will slip out of the division with a whimper.

Man of the match – Elvis Hammond. His work-rate was immense, his touch on the ball was superb – only his finishing had let him down, but he made up for it with a well-taken goal. Special mentions to Doyle and Davies who ran him close – both giving strong performances.

Woking: Little, Noel, Thomas, Ricketts, McNerney, Doyle, Anane (Dobson 46), Murtagh, Ademola, Hammond (Palmer 90), Davies (Turnbull 84)

Subs not used: Faulconbridge, Pegler

Attendance: 402
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