Injuries take their toll
9:17pm, Sat 29th Aug 2015
Boreham Wood 1 Woking 1
29 August 2015
The thinness of Garry Hillâ€™s squad was all too apparent in the closing stages of this game as Keiran Murtagh, who had been switched to central defence to partner Brian Saah following injuries to Joey Jones, Mark Ricketts and Ismail Yakubu, strove manfully to prevent the home side from grabbing all three points in a game which, at half-time, had looked fairly comfortably in Wokingâ€™s grasp. Kadell Danielâ€™s superb free-kick had given the Cards a 1-0 lead at the break but substitute Junior Morias eventually levelled for the Wood in the 83rd minute.
The Cards lined up as expected in an unchanged side from that which had started the game against Chester a week ago. For the Wood, Charlie MacDonald made his first appearance of the season after recovering from injury.
On a warmish, calm late summer afternoon the Cards started brightly, with a â€˜sighterâ€™ from the influential Murtagh, followed by a clever through ball from the hard-working Dan Holman which nearly put Daniel through. John Goddard, not looking entirely comfortable right out on the left flank, then found himself in the left of the area but was dispossessed as he tried to jink past a defender.
The Wood responded in the 11th minute with a well-directed effort from Graeme Montgomery which looked destined for the top corner had not Jones managed to deflect it away from goal.
Daniel and Holman both looked determined to shoot on sight, with the former cutting in on his favoured left foot a couple of times but too far out to trouble keeper Preston Edwards.
By the quarter of an hour mark Woking had assumed a measure of control in midfield and a â€˜purpleâ€™ passage of attacking play saw the Cards put the Wood defence under some pressure, with a blocked Goddard effort and an audacious looping snap shot from Holman from all of thirty yards.
Woking continued to look the more likely side to score, with Daniel firing at the keeper from close range after working his way to the near post, with Holman free inside him. But the Wood also had a good spell around the 25-minute mark, prompted largely by Billy Clifford, ending with Luke Howell firing over the bar. Danny Woodards also made a fine run down the Woking right, his cross zipping right across the Woking area.
Chris Arthur, who had another confident game, then went on a typically powerful run, stinging Edwardsâ€™s finger tips with a shot which he could only parry for a corner, from which Yakubu might have expected to have done better with his downward header. More Woking pressure followed as Murtagh flicked on a header to Goddard, who crashed a volley against the crossbar.
However, it was a brief reprieve for the home side. In the 40th minute Murtagh, winning a tackle, strode towards the area, shimmied and was brought down. Daniel, fast becoming a free-kick specialist, stepped up to bend a superb kick past Edwards, giving the keeper no chance to move, let alone save the strike.
The Woodâ€™s best chance of the half came in the three minutes of added time as the ball ran loose in the Woking area but Jake Cole was down smartly to foil Howell.
Perhaps equally significant, though, was the aggravation of an early injury to Jones, who limped off to be replaced by Godfrey Poku.
Half-time: Boreham Wood 0 Woking 1
The Cards started the second half as though they were determined to nab a second goal quickly, with Holman going close and the Wood defence, from the resulting corner, then somehow managing to smuggle the ball over the bar to safety, followed by two more corners.
But the attacking momentum was not really sustained, with the Wood starting to find more joy in midfield, aided by two early substitutions. Montgomery and Billy Clifford both had shots on target, with the former also having an effort blocked by Ricketts. Wokingâ€™s cause was weakened further in the 57th minute when Ricketts was injured and, although he played on for another twenty minutes, he was clearly struggling.
A crucial substitution for the Wood came in the 75th minute when the pacy, direct Junior Morias entered the fray. Bruno Andrade, no slouch himself, replaced Ricketts a couple of minutes later after the planned substitution of Andrade for Goddard was aborted by Ricketts himself.
Andrade soon showed a clean pair of heels to his opposing full back as he raced the length of the field on one break from defence but his cross-cum-shot was well off target. Arthur executed a brave block at the other end to defy the Wood as they sensed that Woking were faltering. In the 83rd minute Morias jinked into the box and, making space for himself, fired into the corner to level the scores.
To add to Wokingâ€™s woes Yakubu was injured in the process and became the third Woking player of the afternoon to limp off. With no defender on the bench, and the natural replacements, Ricketts and Jones already sidelined, Garry Hill was forced to move Murtagh to centre back, with Ben Pattie coming on to join Holman up front.
In the seven minutes of added time the Wood strove to grab all three points, with Morias coming closest as he met a cross with a side-foot volley which Cole tipped over the bar. The final defensive action saw Murtagh recover from a defensive slip to execute a well-timed tackle in the box to preserve a point which was the least the Cards deserved.
Garry Hill and Steve Thompson will now have the difficult task of putting a team together for Mondayâ€™s game against old foes and â€˜bogeyâ€™ side Welling United. Come down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium to cheer on the Cards!
Boreham Wood: Preston Edwards, Ben Nunn (Junior Morias 76), Danny Woodards, Scott Doe, Callum Reynolds, Ricky Shakes, Luke Howell (Matthew Whichelow 54), Charlie MacDonald (Harry Crawford 54), Graeme Montgomery, Conor Clifford, Billy Clifford
Unused subs: James Russell, Josh Hill
Goal: Junior Morias 83
Booked: Callum Reynolds, Connor Clifford, Graeme Montgomery, Harry Crawford
Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice, Chris Arthur, Mark Ricketts (Bruno Andrade 77), Brian Saah, Ismail Yakubu (Ben Pattie 87), Joey Jones (Godfrey Poku 48), Keiran Murtagh, John Goddard, Kadell Daniel, Dan Holman
Unused subs: Nick Hamann, Giuseppe Sole
Goal: Kadell Daniel 40
Booked: Brian Saah, Mark Ricketts
My MOTM: A close-run thing between Keiran Murtagh, Chris Arthur and Dan Holman, with my vote just going to Chris Arthur (pictured)
Attendance: 601 (258 Woking fans)