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Cards slip up at home

Brian Caffarey - 17th October 2015

Cards slip up at home Woking 0 Wrexham 1
17 October 2015

This was a disappointing display against a side who had not won in six games and who did not have to play particularly well to come away with all the points. Woking were reduced to ten men when already 1-0 down and appeared to be denied yet another clear penalty but the game was still only in the balance thanks to some profligate finishing by the visitors and several fine saves from sponsors’ ‘man of the match’, Jake Cole. The result continued the Cards’ slide down the table since the heady early days of the season, with them now occupying 16th place in the table but still only six points off the play-off places.

Garry Hill made two enforced changes from the side which rescued a point against Torquay midweek, with Godfrey Poku and Jimmy Keohane coming in for Mark Ricketts (injured) and Keiran Murtagh (suspended). Poku competed well in midfield before giving way to Gez Sole in the second half but Keohane found it very hard to get into the game. Wrexham’s Dominic Vose, the game’s standout player, showed how much Woking missed a genuine playmaker in midfield, calmly holding the ball up and nearly always finding a colleague with an astute pass. He did much to bring cohesion to the visitors, while Woking rarely managed to get their passing game going and too many balls were hit high towards Dan Holman, shepherded as usual by towering defenders.

Woking started quite promisingly, with Kadell Daniel getting an early ‘sighter’ and then John Goddard and Holman seeing shots blocked. The game then settled down, with neither side showing great urgency and with efforts on goal either ‘easy meat’ for the keepers or going well wide. A couple of Woking corners around the quarter of an hour mark raised home fans’ hopes but came to nothing. After making a ‘hash’ of a punch Jake Cole then did well to grab a through ball just ahead of a Wrexham attacker and to stay in his area after a lofted pass had eluded Terell Thomas, who then showed his considerable promise with a superb covering interception in the box just as Kayden Jackson was about to pull the trigger. Play quickly switched to the other end as Joey Jones was nearly put through by Goddard, and Daniel fired off another effort from out on the Woking right but straight at the keeper.

By now, though, the visitors, after a slowish start, were beginning to look the more cohesive side, prompted by Vose, and it was he who created what proved to be the decisive goal in the 28th minute. From a throw-in on the Woking left he was able to hold off defenders and make his way into the box, slipping a clever ball through to Connor Jennings, who finished well into the far corner.

Daniel immediately responded with a fierce strike which the keeper could only parry away for a corner but the chances were then few and far between for Garry Hill’s side as a Wrexham side, growing in confidence, pressed for a second goal before half-time. On one or two occasions the Cards looked as though they might create something, usually through Goddard’s invention or Holman’s industry, but the Wrexham keeper wasn’t tested. His opposite number, however, had to pull off two superb saves in added time, first tipping a free-kick round the post and then getting a hand to a header from a corner before Vose went very close with another free-kick which whistled past Cole’s right-hand post. It was in this period that Saah picked up a harsh yellow card, which ultimately led to his dismissal midway through the second half.

Half-time: Woking 0 Wrexham 1

It was no great surprise to see Bruno Andrade starting the second half, although Kadell Daniel could perhaps consider himself a little unlucky to be the player to give way. As against Torquay on Tuesday night, much of the subsequent threat from Woking came from Andrade’s pace and trickery.

But Jackson should have added a second for Wrexham in the 52nd minute when he was slipped through only to sky the ball over the bar: one of a number of decent chances which he and Jennings spurned. A few minutes later Jake Cole had to make another important intervention as he managed to foil Vose as the latter raced through. Then Jennings, unmarked at a corner, had a free hit, which he side-footed over the bar, with another chance going begging shortly afterwards as he shot wide.

Woking’s frustrations were added to by some blatant time-wasting which the referee seemed reluctant to deal with firmly.

Saah’s foul in the 66th minute, as he tried to atone for an error, saw him receive a second yellow card, with Woking being reduced to ten men. Ironically, almost immediately, Woking created perhaps their best chance of the match as Goddard picked up a loose ball in midfield, releasing Keohane to his left, but the Irishman’s shot was blocked by the Wrexham keeper and the latter was able to catch the ball as it came down as he lay on the ground.

Garry Hill brought on Sole for Poku at this stage. After Jennings had scooped narrowly over, following a flowing Wrexham move, Woking produced a good move of their own, with Sole and Jake Caprice combining well before Goddard’s shot was blocked. Sole, too, tried his luck from further out before Garry Hill brought on Ben Pattie for Caprice in the 74th minute.

Andrade outfoxed the defenders not for the first time to fire in a stinging shot which the keeper could only parry away but Pattie was then offside as a subsequent cross came in.

Woking seemed to be playing at least as well with ten men as they had with eleven and in the 83rd minute ought probably to have been thrown a lifeline, however undeserved on the balance of play. Goddard wriggled his way through and as he entered the area appeared to be tripped. While not as clear cut as the incident on Tuesday, it was still a huge surprise to see the referee wave away the vociferous appeals for a penalty.

The referee added four minutes but the Cards did not really look like grabbing a late equaliser in normal or added time. Holman had a snapshot but from too far out to trouble the Wrexham keeper and Andrade tricked his way into the area once more but only to see his shot blocked. It was the visitors’ Jennings who looked more likely to score as he raced through on Jake Cole. The latter went down in similar fashion to the penalty he conceded on Tuesday but this time he did exceptionally well to fingertip the ball away from Jennings’ feet.

While there were glimpses of fine play from some individuals this afternoon, the Cards did not look like a cohesive team. There were few extensive passing moves and too much apparent reliance on the hoped-for flair from Goddard, Daniel or Andrade or a rescuing snap shot from Holman, who did not receive very good service. Woking fans will be hoping that the malaise that seems to have afflicted the side in the last few weeks will not carry through to next Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Maidenhead: a decent Cup run might be just the fillip the side and fans need.

Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice (Ben Pattie 74), Chris Arthur, Brian Saah, Terell Thomas, Joey Jones, John Goddard, Jimmy Keohane, Godfrey Poku (Giuseppe Sole 68), Kadell Daniel (Bruno Andrade 46), Dan Holman

Unused subs: Nick Hamman, Craig Braham-Barrett

Booked: John Goddard

Sent off: Brian Saah (two cautions)

Wrexham: Cameron Belford, Javan Vidal, Sean Newton, Manny Smith, Blaine Hudson, Jamal Fyfield, Dominic Vose, Connor Jennings, Mark Carrington, Kayden Jackson (Wes York 74), Rob Evans (Liam Walsh 44) (Jon Nolan 69)

Unused subs: Ross White, Joe Quigley

Goal: Connor Jennings 28

Booked: Liam Walsh, Dominic Vose

Attendance: 1778

Sponsors’ MOTM: Jake Cole (pictured)

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