MKJ Group

Cards squeeze through in Trophy

Brian Caffarey
9:38pm, Sat 12th Dec 2015
Boreham Wood 1 Woking 2
FA Trophy 1st Round
12 December 2015

A deflected Gez Sole free-kick in added time saw Woking advance to the next round of the FA Trophy on a day when, at half-time, most Cards fans would probably have been happy to have settled for a draw. Boreham Wood had taken an 8th minute lead through Mustafa Tiryaki and generally had the better of the first forty-five minutes. But, aided by the blustery wind, the Cards gradually began to assert themselves after the break and drew level with a superb strike from Brian Saah from a corner. Either side might have won the game thereafter and Wood fans will no doubt feel that they ought to have lived to fight another day but luck was on the Cards’ side with Gez’s free-kick and then Jake Cole pulled off a magnificent save to prevent a final twist in an entertaining and well-contested match.

Not surprisingly, Garry Hill started with the same side that had taken the field against Lincoln City, but there were two changes on the bench, with Gez Sole, returning from his loan spell at Basingstoke Town, and Chris Arthur replacing Kadell Daniel and Terell Thomas.

In a lively start to the match the Wood’s Conor Clifford, a very influential figure in midfield in the first half, outjumped Joey Jones to force Cole to make a smart save down at his near post. The Cards immediately countered with a quick break from Matt Robinson, who fed Dan Holman but his cross-cum-shot went straight across the goal. But the home side continued to threaten, with a defensive clearance skied over the bar for a corner. This was defended poorly, with Tiryaki seizing a loose ball which had rebounded off the post and then firing home through a crowd of players to put the Wood 1-0 ahead with only eight minutes played.

The Cards remained hesitant in defence, with Brian Saah slicing the ball over the bar on the next attack. However, the pressure was relieved at least briefly by a fine break out of defence, John Goddard – who was largely marked out of the game in the first half – playing a splendid crossfield ball to Bruno Andrade, who advanced to fire the ball just wide of the far post.

But the home side, boosted by authoritative displays by Clifford and Clovis Kamdjo in the middle of the park, and pace on the flanks in the shape of Anthony Jeffrey and Mauro Vilhete, continued to push forward. Clifford, given plenty of room, shot over from distance but Tiryaki came close to bundling the ball in, in the 21st minute, from a Vilhete cross after Goddard had lost out. Another chance followed immediately when a potential Woking counter-attack broke down and Cole had to beat away a fierce drive from Clifford.

In an increasingly rare Woking attacking move, Dan Holman did well in the 29th minute to turn and make space for himself twenty yards out before unleashing a well-struck effort which looked destined for the top corner before Wood keeper, James Russell, clawed it away to safety.

And then it was Jake Cole’s turn to shine as he saved again from Clifford before Tiryaki wasted a good chance to double the home side’s lead. The Woking defence seemed to stand off him as he took aim. Fortunately for the Cards, he went for power rather than accuracy and thrashed the ball wide.

The Woking goal led something of a charmed life briefly as half-time approached. Jeffrey managed to escape Cameron Norman’s clutches to fire in a wicked cross, which led to a scramble before the ball was somehow smuggled away upfield.

Just before half-time a lucky ricochet put Goddard through on goal but he chose to try to pass to Holman instead of shooting and the Wood defenders were quick to snuff out any chance of the on-loan striker profiting.

It was something of a relief when the half-time whistle came, with the Cards only one goal behind. The side had found it difficult to get any real rhythm going, failing to exert control in midfield, often being forced back, and consequently providing little service to Andrade, Holman and Quigley.

Half-time: Boreham Wood 1 Woking 0

The first ten minutes or so of the second half did not suggest that any major change in the pattern of play was about to take place as the side struggled to implement Steve Thompson’s shouted instruction to ‘get hold of it’. Jeffrey worked his way across the box but Cole made a comfortable save. He looked more anxious, however, when a corner swirled in towards him, with the ball having to be hacked clear.

Gradually, however, the tide seemed to turn in Woking’s favour, perhaps helped by the blustery wind, which made it harder for the Wood to clear the ball upfield. Mark Ricketts snapped into tackles and Goddard and Robinson found themselves with more space. Holman was pushed further forward, with Quigley dropping back to make himself easier to reach and proving a useful target man. It was noticeable, too, that the Wood began to concede free-kicks as they sought to thwart attacking moves.

Evidence of the shift in the balance of play came as Russell was forced to make two exceptional saves in a row as both Andrade and Goddard went close. But when the equaliser came shortly afterwards, in the 63rd minute, it was from an unlikely source. Brian Saah, however, did brilliantly to reach John Goddard’s corner beyond the back post as it looked destined to drift out of play and to volley it, from a narrow angle, into the far side of the goal: a strike any forward would have been proud of.

The goal naturally gave a further boost to the Cards’ morale but their confidence was nearly punctured straightaway when Jeffrey crossed right across the face of the goal when the merest touch from attacker or defender would have produced a goal. The Cards were then indebted to Ricketts for a characteristically brave block to deny Kamdjo.

But thereafter it was generally Woking who looked the more threatening side. A quick counter-attack in the 83rd minute saw the ball moved swiftly forward to Holman but his shot was blocked. Patient possession play then saw the Cards win a free-kick on the edge of the box as Robinson was brought down. Goddard’s free-kick was saved by the wall. But by the time the next free-kick was awarded on the stroke of full-time Gez Sole had been brought on and, indeed, it was he who was fouled by Clifford as he drove forward. The free-kick was quite a long way out but it took a substantial deflection, completely deceiving Russell, to put the Cards 2-1 ahead.

But there was nearly a final twist in added time. Saah failed to clear, conceding a corner. The Woking defence allowed Joe Devera a free header but Cole made a fantastic point blank save before the ball ricocheted around the penalty spot and was eventually cleared.

Woking were perhaps rather fortunate to travel home with a win from this tie but they did well to recover from a rather unconvincing display in the first half and get themselves back in the game after the break, with everyone putting in a good shift as they collectively upped the tempo and showed more aggression and determination to succeed against a useful Wood side.

Boreham Wood: James Russell, Scott Doe, Callum Reynolds, Luke Howell (Charlie MacDonald 67), Conor Clifford, Clovis Kamdjo, Anthony Jeffrey, Mauro Vilhete (Ricky Shakes 71), Mustafa Tiryaki, David Stephens, Joe Devera

Unused subs: Danny Woodards, Junior Morias, Billy Clifford

Goal: Mustafa Tiryaki 8

Booked: Luke Howell, Conor Clifford

Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Cameron Norman, Bruno Andrade (Keiran Murtagh 79), Mark Ricketts, Matt Robinson, John Goddard (Jimmy Keohane 90), Joe Quigley, Dan Holman (Giuseppe Sole 89)

Unused subs: Chris Arthur, Nick Hamann

Goals: Brian Saah 63, Giuseppe Sole 90

My MOTM: A team effort but my vote goes to Joey Jones (pictured) for another assured display in defence and some adventurous attacking moves

Attendance: 275

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