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Cards scrape another three points!

Alan Worth - 12th March 2011

Cards scrape another three points! Thurrock 0 Woking 1
Blue Square Bet South
12 March 2011

Woking continued their remarkable push towards the play-offs with another valuable three points at Thurrock and again without conceding. In the last ten league games they have now won nine, drawn one and conceded only that last-gasp goal against Farnborough. The Cards have taken a more than impressive 28 points from a possible 30 in this stunning run that continues to transform their season.

The win wasn’t without its problems – a scrappy affair with Woking struggling to create clear-cut chances despite looking the better side for most of the game; an error-strewn game which, finally, turned on two moments of real drama. The first was the sending-off of Thurrock’s tall centre back Swaine for a bad foul on Jay Davies and the second was the scrambled goal coming in the 90th minute.

Garry Hill started with the same eleven that had taken the field at Weston. Andy Burgess, the former England C midfielder and ex-Rushden and Oxford United playmaker, was on the bench for the first time alongside James Walker, another recent signing.

On a firm and bumpy pitch the start was scrappy but early on Craig Dobson was almost in on goal after a long cross-field free-kick from Aswad Thomas. At the other end Bodkin’s free-kick, swung in dangerously from the left, managed to evade all the flailing boots, fizzed across the box and away to safety.

After a quarter of an hour Mark Ricketts’ delightful through ball almost found Dobson again but this time he and Hammond were adjudged offside. Immediately afterwards an Ademola cross from the left was over hit but again Craig Dobson almost managed to get to the ball as he leapt at the far post. Further opportunities were almost created as Thomas, again with a raking cross-field pass, almost put Craig Dobson in on goal but home keeper Woolley got to the ball first. Then Jay Davies found himself in front of goal but as he moved to capitalise on Murtagh’s pass he was also adjudged offside.

After 26 minutes a Reiss Noel miskick gave Thurrock the first corner of the game. Olima’s downward header was straight at Little. In fact Thurrock looked most threatening at set pieces with the towering figure of centre back Swaine coming forward at every opportunity. Meanwhile Woking tried hard to get the ball down and pass but some casual passing and poor control disrupted any free-flowing football.

Jay Davies volleyed over from outside the box before the Cards produced the best move of the half. Some delightful interpassing on the left saw Murtagh work some space for Hammond but the forward’s left foot shot was blocked by a defender and cleared.

Half-time: Thurrock 0 Woking 0

The second period began with some good vocal support from a healthy contingent of travelling Cards fans. But their support and, no doubt, some strong words from the Woking management team during the break, failed to ignite the Woking performance. In fact it was the home side that had the first opportunity with a Bodkins’ corner skimming dangerously off the top of Swaine’s head and away to safety.

On 54 minutes there was a half chance for the Cards as Ademola and Thomas combined on the left. Ademola’s inside pass found Murtagh, whose first time shot was powerful but just over the bar. Five minutes later a Jay Davies chip found Dobson clear on the right but Woolley was out to block his shot.

Ten minutes later and the game finally came to life. Again it was Dobson on the right who found Murtagh on the left edge of the box. He was clearly held as he endeavoured to turn the defender and Mr Betts awarded the free-kick. Quickly taken the ball was played to Davies on the edge of the area, who was unceremoniously upended by a lunging Swaine. The big central defender, despite the protests of his teammates, was shown a straight red card.

Garry Hill immediately introduced Andy Burgess into the holding midfield role at the expense of Ricky Anane. Captain Mark Ricketts moved to right back, with the Cards playing in a 4-4-2 formation.

Still Woking struggled to cut out any clear-cut chances against the ten men of Thurrock as they began to take complete control of the game. Dobson was brought down in the box and despite appeals no penalty was awarded. A great cross-field pass from Burgess found Ademola on the left. His ball inside set up Davies but the midfielder’s shot was weak.

With fifteen minutes remaining Ollie Palmer was brought on to replace Davies and the substitute almost immediately opened the scoring. He did well to get to Hammond’s flicked pass but saw his snap shot crash off the upright. But despite their man advantage and general dominance sloppy play at the back almost let in Thurrock. A poor Woking clearance was nearly returned with interest with a shot from substitute Duncan and the defence had to scramble to recover as a poor back pass almost let in Thurrock yet again.

As the home side continued to battle against the odds, Woking strained to find that elusive goal. Another superb ball into the box from Burgess looped off Hammond’s head with Palmer behind him and possibly in a much better position to score. But with the game moving into time added on the Cards finally broke the deadlock.

Fittingly, the move started with Man of the Match Adam Doyle (pictured) driving forward through the centre of the Thurrock midfield. The ball was moved out to substitute Koranteng on the left, who slipped the ball on to Thomas. For once, behind the Thurrock defence, the left back got to the bye line before sliding a dangerous ball across the six-yard box. As Hammond closed in for the kill, Olima only managed to poke the ball into his own net. The Cards fans behind that goal erupted with joy and no little relief. Another three points were finally in the bag.

As Garry Hill had made clear after the Weston game, “We have eleven to play and have to win eight or nine. If we do that we are capable of being in the play-offs.” Well, one down and ten to go! The Cards will need to play rather better, however, against neighbours Hampton and Richmond on Tuesday if they are to continue the run. Make sure you’re there to cheer on the Cards!

Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane (Andy Burgess 66), Aswad Thomas, Mark Ricketts, Reiss Noel, Adam Doyle, Craig Dobson (Nathan Korangten), Kieran Murtagh, Moses Ademola, Elvis Hammond, Jay Davies (Ollie Palmer 75).

Unused subs: James Walker, Matt Pegler

Thurrock: Woolley, Pope, Harris, Olima, Swaine, Clark, Bodkin (Duncan 66), Cracknell, Richards (Murphy 77), Ladapo (Knight 70), T J Sie

Unused subs: Carlos, Patterson

MOTM: Adam Doyle

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