Natalie Kaye
12:00am, Sun 22nd Apr 2007
3.00pm on Saturday 21 April 2007
Nationwide Conference

Woking lost 2-0 this afternoon at Nene Park against Rushden & Diamonds, but will look forward to another season of Conference football after other results saw the Cards mathematically safe for another year.

On a balmy day in Northamptonshire, there were several changes to the side which fought back against Forest Green last weekend. Protecting Nick Gindre in goal were a centre back partnership of Gary MacDonald and Karl Murray, with Rob Gier and Jason Pearce lining up in the full back positions. Curtis Osano on the right and Goma Lambu on the left, aided Neil Smith and Ian Selley in the middle. Liam Marum partnered Craig McAllister up front.

The visitors forced the first save of the match; in the 5th minute. Following a long punt over the top, Liam Marum found himself with his back to goal inside the area. He controlled well before tapping the ball to Craig McAllister. Macca hit it first time and forced a good save from ?keeper Matt Baker down to his left. Another shot came in, but the Rushden defence held firm and a goal kick was given.

Rushden forced Rob Gier and Karl Murray into a couple of quick clearances under pressure before the half hour, and Tom Shaw screwed a shot wide in the 14th minute, as Diamonds looked to gain more possession. Nick Gindre punched clear a Danny Williams free kick, but Woking hit back shortly afterwards. Smudge saw his ricocheted shot loop just over Baker?s goal in the 23rd minute, and a good passing move two minutes later almost resulted in a lead for the Cards. Goma hit a long pass into the path of Curtis Osano, who hit a looping cross in just under the nose of Baker. The ?keeper punched clear under pressure from Craig, only for Smudge to collect the loose ball to the left of the area. Smudge, returning as captain, took a couple of touches before hitting a fierce shot in low at the ?keeper, who got a hand to it and conceded a corner.

The Woking fans, singing, ?what?s that coming over the hill, it?s Goma Lambu?, were given a fright in the 27th minute. Karl misjudged a header, which allowed the impressive Simoen Jackson to sneak in behind the defence. He was through on goal, tried to steer his shot into the far corner, but saw his effort sail just wide.

Ian Selley collected a Goma pass and hit a dipping volley straight at Baker in the 44th minute, but within 30 seconds Rushden had the lead. Rob Gier?s pass was intercepted by Michael Rankine, who fired home past Gindre, giving the Woking ?keeper no chance.

Half time: Rushden & Diamonds 1-0 Woking

Rob Gier had a shot blocked shortly after half time as Woking looked equalise quickly after the interval. Rushden hit back though through Curtis Woodhouse, who volleyed wide after David Savage got the better of Jason Pearce on the wing and fired in a cross.

Saheed Sankoh replaced Liam Marum up front on the hour, but Rushden again came forward looking for a second. Simeon Jackson cut inside before unleashing a shot which went just wide of Nick Gindre?s left hand post. Jackson, who caused problems for the Woking defence all afternoon, got in behind Pearce in the 61st minute, and hit in a dangerous cross along the ground towards Rankine. Gary MacDonald got in front of his man, and cleared the danger at the expense of a corner.

The second Rushden goal arrived in the 63rd minute. Karl Murray?s clearance fell straight to Jackson, and he made no mistake from just inside the area, hitting an unsaveable shot past Gindre.

Adam Green replaced Rob Gier shortly afterwards, and Greeny immediately got involved, winning a free kick, which was hit well over by Ian. Rankine then gave everyone a laugh at the other end, by turning and shooting not just over, but straight out of Nene Park, possibly onto the road outside.

Craig McAllister had a couple of chances to reduce the deficit 10 minutes before the whistle. He nicked the ball off ?keeper Baker in the 73rd minute, but his shot on target was blocked by the body of Wayne Hatswell. One minute later, Adam Green got in a cross, which Macca met at the near post. He headed down towards goal but was beaten by the upright.

The Cards? last meaningful chance saw a freekick cleared to Green on the edge of the area. His shot from 20 yards out didn?t trouble Matt Baker, but sent me and my match report notes diving for cover!

Neil Smith played a captains role as usual, making endless runs up and down the pitch, and Gary MacDonald had a strong game in the centre of defence. Curtis Osano?s quick feet caused the opposition problems at times, and Ian Selley made a difference with his pin point passes. However, Woking couldn?t force a breakthrough and fell to 15th in the league.

Woking: Gindre, Gier (Green), MacDonald, Pearce, Osano (Oyedele), Smith, Selley, Lambu, McAllister, Marum (Sankoh)

Subs not used: Bittner, Bunce

Booked: McAllister, Pearce

Att: 1922

My MOTM: Neil Smith

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