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Woking 1 Forest Green Rovers 1

Brian Caffarey - 31st August 2007

Woking 1 Forest Green Rovers 1
1 September 2007

A lively display by the Cards this afternoon almost bagged all the points but Paul Lorraine conceded a penalty in the 84th minute after Giuseppe Sole?s spot kick half an hour earlier had given Woking the lead.

Kingfield welcomed Carl Gibbs (pictured), making his debut after his transfer deadline move from Basingstoke Town. There was a welcome return, from injury, for Nick Gindre, but Tom Hutchinson was missing again. The Cards? other two new signings, Izzy Harusha and James Younghusband, did not make the bench.

Carl Gibbs?s arrival prompted Frank Gray to line up with a more attacking formation. The consensus appears to be that it was 4-4-2 but, as we pushed forward, it looked more like 3-4-2-1. At the back were Matt Ruby, Paul Lorraine, Jay Gasson and Danny Bunce; in midfield were Goma Lambu, Bradley Quamina, Matt Pattison and Giuseppe Sole; Carl Gibbs supported Marvin Morgan up front.

The game started fairly quietly but it was soon apparent that Carl Gibbs was able to provide a useful outlet, shielding the ball well and linking up intelligently with those around him.

In the 10th minute the Rovers? keeper, Ryan Robinson, was fortunate to get away with dropping the ball after he had collected Danny Bunce?s free-kick. He seemed to collide with one of his own players as he fell but, as is so often the case, the referee gave him the benefit of any doubt. At the other end, Stuart Fleetwood had a decent effort along the ground cleanly saved by Nick Gindre, but Carl Gibbs produced an even better goal attempt, hitting a superb left-foot volley, which Robinson pushed round his post.

In what remained of a fairly even, but largely uneventful, first half Rovers continued to play some neat football but both sides? attacking moves tended to peter out near the opposition penalty area. Rovers? best chances came from a Simon Clist free-kick in the 22nd minute, which zipped past Nick Gindre?s post; a pile-driver from Adriano Rigoglioso in the 39th minute, which Nick Gindre managed to palm onto the top of the net; and a Danny Carey-Bertram header in injury time, which a defender deflected wide of the goal. For Woking, Giuseppe Sole had a shot blocked: the referee then incurred Woking fans? wrath as she failed to stop the game for Giuseppe?s head injury, allowing Rovers to tear down the other end of the pitch and shoot narrowly over the bar. The best effort, however, came from Goma Lambu, in injury time, as he picked the ball up, after a fine Marvin Morgan run, and shot inches over the bar from the edge of the area.

Half-time: Woking 0 Forest Green Rovers 0

Woking began to develop some real attacking momentum early in the second half, with Matt Pattison, having his best game so far in a Woking shirt, making some incisive runs through the middle and Goma Lambu looking ever more lively down the left flank. The breakthrough came in the 54th minute when Giuseppe Sole did well to pick up a loose ball and deliver a peach of a pass, inside the full back, for Goma Lambu to run onto on the right of the box. Goma was flattened in the area and Giuseppe stepped up to hit a confident penalty to give the Cards the lead.

Unlike against Rushden and Diamonds on the opening day, the Cards did not lose concentration and, indeed, looked likely to add to their lead. Matt Pattison, receiving a fine flick from Carl Gibbs, hit a great shot from outside the box, which Robinson tipped over the bar. Giuseppe Sole then had two attempts, the second of which was blocked by a defender. But substitute Les Afful almost wriggled into the box at the other end, only being stopped by Danny Bunce?s foul, which earned him a booking. Stuart Fleetwood?s ?curler? from the resulting free-kick had Nick Gindre scrambling across his goal. More pressure followed from the Cards as Danny Bunce and Goma Lambu combined well, only for Goma to turn away from the box, and Matt Pattison and Giuseppe Sole fired off two more efforts from outside the area. Goma Lambu sparked another fine move, winning a fine tackle in midfield before Giuseppe Sole, who is beginning to find his shooting boots, unleashed a fierce shot just wide of the post.

At the other end, though, Paul Stonehouse was looking increasingly threatening down the Woking right and was only foiled by a desperate block by Jay Gasson. Just as it looked as though the Cards would hang on to all the points, a ball was slipped through to Stonehouse in the right of the Woking area. Paul Lorraine, Matt Ruby and Nick Gindre all challenged and Paul was adjudged to have brought Stonehouse down. Stuart Fleetwood made no mistake from the spot.

The Cards strove to regain the lead, with Giuseppe Sole?s free-kick crashing into the wall and Matt Pattison seeing his left-foot shot blocked, but Rovers too went close as Paul Lorraine prevented another Stonehouse effort from hitting its target.

This was a much more encouraging display from the Cards in the sense that, unlike in recent games, there was much less reliance on soaking up pressure and many more chances created. Carl Gibbs certainly made a big difference in the first half and, although he seemed to run out of steam after the break, he still took up good positions and was able to hold the ball up. Matt Pattison, Goma Lambu and Giuseppe Sole all showed up strongly in the second half, but Marvin Morgan had his least effective match so far, while nevertheless always keeping the Rovers? defenders occupied.

Woking: Nick Gindre; Matt Ruby, Paul Lorraine, Jay Gasson, Danny Bunce; Goma Lambu, Bradley Quamina, Matt Pattison, Giuseppe Sole; Carl Gibbs, Marvin Morgan.

Subs not used: Ross Worner, Matt Gray, Adam Green, Jerome Maledon, David Shin

Booked: Danny Bunce

Attendance: 1499

Sponsors? MOTM: Carl Gibbs

My MOTM: a close-run thing but I think Carl gets my vote too for a very auspicious debut.
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