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Brian Caffarey - 17th August 2008

Cards fans had their hopes raised again today at the Pirelli Stadium, only to have them dashed as Kim Grant?s side failed once more to hold onto a half-time lead, shipping three goals after the break. So, that makes three defeats on the trot, all by a single goal margin. Being narrowly beaten away by two teams who reached the play-offs last season is not a disaster but, of course, it?s worrying that we?ve not registered a single point yet ? and it will certainly put the pressure on Kim and his colleagues for our home game next Saturday against Forest Green Rovers.

In the absence of Joel Ledgister and Delano Sam-Yorke, Goma Lambu appeared on the right of the midfield four, with Liam Marum again the ?one? at the front of Kim?s favoured 4-1-4-1 formation.

The Cards started hesitantly, with too many passes not finding their man and rather a lot of space afforded to the chunky Jody Banim and to Keith Gilroy out on the Brewers? left flank. As early as the third minute Banim wriggled into the box to hit the side netting. Corbett got in a downward header at the far post and Banim again shot wide when he might have done better. The Brewers should have taken the lead in the 13th minute when Brayford was left completely unmarked at the far post as a cross came over from the Woking left, but his header hit the foot of the other post, just missing an onrushing Burton attacker.

Having been somewhat on the rack for the opening spell, Woking broke superbly to take a surprise 1-0 lead in the 19th minute. The ball moved swiftly from Konan to Marum down the right. Matt Pattison (pictured) made excellent ground through the middle to pick up Liam?s pass and shaped nicely to fire the ball past the veteran Kevin Poole.

The Cards could hardly believe their good fortune when a dreadful defensive error almost immediately gifted them a second goal. A Burton defender trod on the ball on the edge of the area. Gez Sole was onto it as quick as a flash and, advancing into the box, shot home emphatically. 2-0 up! Surely, we would get something out of this game!

Simpson should have reduced the deficit for the Brewers but, rather like Banim earlier, shot just wide of the goal when put through in a delightful move. Gez responded with one of his trademark free-kicks but this time, unfortunately, it went just over the bar. The Cards continued to look threatening going forward, with Liam?s pace causing some hurried defensive clearances. At the back Colin Miles looked assured, making some vital, well-timed interceptions.

Gilroy, in acres of space once more, played a killer ball into the Woking area but McGrath failed to capitalise on it, allowing the Cards to go in at the break with their two goal lead intact.

Half-time: Burton Albion 0 Woking 2

The Cards, kicking towards some 100 or so away fans, started the second half in lively fashion and had a couple of chances to score a third goal ? which would surely have made the game safe. Once again, it was Liam?s pace, combined with his ability to turn defenders, which opened up the Brewers? defence. But, clean through, he shot straight at Poole. Matt Pattison, seizing quickly on a loose ball, made a superb run, gliding past two defenders, before shooting left-footed but Poole was up to it. Another swift attack saw Liam centre for Abdou El Kholti but Poole was just ahead of him.

Those Cards fans who feared that we would rue these missed opportunities were soon proved right. A harmless-looking ball was played in from the Woking left in the 58th minute. Patrice Konan appeared to lose Goodfellow (who had replaced Gilroy at half-time). Ross Worner attempted to get there but Goodfellow slid the ball in to make it 1-2.

The Brewers now had their tails up and it was no surprise when a second goal followed quickly. Brayford, dribbling into the box and evading some poor tackles, was eventually adjudged to have been brought down by El Kholti. Pearson shot straight down the middle from the spot to make it 2-2.

Manny Williams came on for Liam Marum and had one or two good initial touches. At the other end, there were vociferous appeals for a penalty after Colin Miles, played into trouble by Tom Hutchinson, fell on the ball. Colin then made his only mistake of the game, misjudging a high ball, which went over his head to Pearson. Ross rushed out and did just enough to encourage Pearson to put the ball over the bar.

Ross then did well to hold cleanly a fierce snap shot from Harrad before Manny Williams came close to getting a third goal for the Cards. He was just first to a lobbed ball from Paolo Vernazza but Poole managed to smother his shot with his outstretched arms.

Burton?s winner in the 84th minute was another poor goal to concede from the Cards? standpoint. A ball was floated in from the Woking left. Ross couldn?t quite get his finger tips to it and Goodfellow met it at the far post with a header which then nestled in the far corner of the Woking goal. The goal raised questions again about Patrice?s positioning.

So, once again the Cards buckled under second-half pressure after taking the lead ? on this occasion, a lead they should surely have been able to hold. Some fans were quick to criticise the 4-1-4-1 formation, which certainly didn?t seem to help the Cards? efforts to keep the ball upfield when the Brewers applied the pressure in the second half. But I remain optimistic. We are seeing some good attacking football, which will surely bring its rewards, especially as Kim further strengthens his side. But a few points on the board would steady the nerves!

Woking: Ross Worner, Patrice Konan, Colin Miles (Paul Lorraine, 77), Danny Bunce, Paolo Vernazza, Goma Lambu, Giuseppe Sole, Matt Pattison (Adekunle Salau, 82), Abdou El Kholti, Liam Marum (Manny Williams, 66)

Unused subs: Nick Gindre, Charlie Moon

Booked: Abdou El Kholti, Danny Bunce

Attendance: 1456

My MOTM: Colin Miles

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