WOKING 2 FARSLEY CELTIC 0
12:00am, Sun 7th Oct 2007
Woking 2 Farsley Celtic 0
4 October 2007
Talk about a game of two halves again! Early on, although there was plenty of fancy footwork, quick feet and spectacular action to cheer, unfortunately, it was mostly off the field. The only heat the opposition felt in a somewhat tepid first-half was generated by the visiting all-female dance troupe of the same name, brought in to add a dash of glamour for the Cards? first televised match of the season. In the second half, however, it was a different story, as the action livened up with the Cards turning on the style, this time on the pitch for the cameras, and running out comfortable 2-0 winners, to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Following Saturday?s victory, the only change to the side that began at Northwich was Paul Hakim coming in to replace Marvin Morgan, who started on the bench. The team lined up in a 3-4-1-2 formation, Pattison being assigned to operate in the hole and given licence to roam, behind the front pairing of Hakim and Gatting, with Lambu and Bunce playing as wing-backs.
Anyone who thought Farsley would be a pushover, given their lowly position, were in for a rude awakening as they slickly moved the ball around and came close to opening the scoring after four minutes, when a snap-shot from distance by Bambrook took everyone by surprise and just sailed wide of the far post.
Although Pattison almost got on the end of a Ruby flick from a free-kick, and Gatting had a decent effort which just went wide, Farsley were still looking the more composed of the two sides, and went close to scoring again, when Sambrook curled a free-kick from a central position just past the post.
On the half-hour mark, the Cards finally sprung into life and enjoyed their best moment of the first period, when Hakim took it upon himself to go on a barnstorming run right at the heart of the defence, leaving defenders trailing in his wake, and unleashed a ferocious shot from the edge of the box, which, to everyone?s dismay, smashed against the bar with the keeper beaten all ends up. Unfortunately, Gatting, who was following up, couldn?t control his shot and screwed it wide of the post.
With the Cards finally looking livelier, Gatting then produced his best moment to finish the half, by turning well to leave his marker floundering and firing in a low drive just past the upright.
Half-time: Woking 0 Farsley Celtic 0
Whether it was Frank Gray?s pep-talk or the sight of the Heat Dancers? energetic and entertaining performance during the break, either way the Cards looked inspired as they started the second half at a higher tempo.
Good interplay between Quamina and Bunce set the pattern of what was to come, which culminated in Bunce?s low, powerful drive being well saved by the keeper. This was quickly followed by the best chance of the night so far, when Hakim, following a lucky ricochet, found himself all alone in the box, but couldn?t finish, hitting his shot at a comfortable height for keeper Morgan to save easily.
Not long after, Hakim quickly made amends, when he created the Cards? opening goal for Quamina. Finding himself in some space, Quamina sought out Hakim in the area. Hakim adroitly beat the defender for pace on the outside, and cut back a delightful ball across the box, to find Quamina coming in at the far post, to joyously bundle the ball home.
The old clich? about never being more vulnerable than when you?ve just scored almost came to haunt the Cards, as immediately Farsley caused some confusion in the penalty area and, after some desperate defending, Ruby was thankfully on hand to stop a goal-bound effort, by stretching out a long leg to divert the ball away for a corner.
With Farsley beginning to tire, Gray sensibly brought on Morgan for Gatting in order to utilise his greater pace, and this paid dividends, when in the eightieth minute, he added a second to put the game beyond doubt.
Pattison, who played throughout with great energy, and had almost scored moments earlier following a sublime piece of skill, culminating in a volley that was deflected for a corner, burst forward only to be tackled just outside the area. Fortunately, James picked up the loose ball, went past a defender and slid the ball expertly through to Morgan, who finished from close range with a deft touch, putting just enough pace on his shot to leave the prostrate keeper totally frustrated, having made a desperate attempt to crawl after the ball to prevent it trickling over the line.
Finally, in the dying minutes, Sole, who?d replaced Hakim, had an opportunity to make it three, when the keeper?s poor clearance landed at his feet, but he redeemed himself, making a smart save from a well-struck effort.
The Cards? much-improved second-half performance was probably the best the team has played so far this season. Despite missing the inspirational skipper, the spine of the team looks stronger, with Ruby slotting in well at the back, James giving some much-needed leadership and drive in midfield, whilst Hakim has good pace and awareness up front. What?s needed now is to produce that form right from the outset, something we?ve been struggling to do all season. It?s important to rectify this sooner rather later, because against the better sides in the league, it?s likely to prove costly.
Before I forget, a pat on the back too for the referee, Mr Scott. Although neither team caused any particular problems, it was still a pleasant surprise to see someone referee the game using their commonsense and not flourishing cards like they?re going out of fashion. No one was booked and, for once, the referee almost went unnoticed, which is the way it should be.
Woking: Gindre, Ruby, Lorraine, Gasson, Bunce, James, Quamina, Lambu, Pattison (Maledon), Hakim (Sole), Gatting (Morgan)
Subs not used: Green, Gray.
Sponsor?s MoTM: Matt Ruby
Setana MoTM: Paul Hakim
My MoTM: Kevin James (pictured), who always seems to have that bit of extra time on the ball, uses it well, and his experience and expertise are proving vital to a very young squad.