OXFORD UNITED 0 WOKING 0
12:00am, Sun 21st Oct 2007
Oxford United 0 Woking 0
20 October 2007
After the disappointment of last week?s display against York City, Frank would have been looking for a positive reaction going into this tough away fixture. The only change was the return of captain marvel, Tom Hutchinson, in for Matt Ruby. This decision will have puzzled many, given the wonderful form of Matt, and perhaps Paul Lorraine was the lucky man to start.
The game got off to one of the most explosive starts Woking fans will recall. The Cards looked to get on top early, and if it was not for the alertness of keeper Billy Turley, Woking might well have had a dream start, as Tom Hutchinson?s superb volley was parried by the Oxford shot stopper. With less than two minutes on the clock, Marv embarked on one of those runs we all love to see, and was clean through on goal. That was until he was taken down from behind. If the referee was playing to the letter of the law, the culprit should have been sent to the changing rooms, but Luke Foster was lucky and received only a yellow.
The resulting free-kick was stroked towards goal by Kevin James, and came bolting back off the cross bar. Tom Hutchinson was first to the rebound and hooked the ball back towards goal. With Turley beaten, the ball again came back off the bar, and the danger was cleared momentarily. With Oxford seemingly shell-shocked, Woking pressed, and it was Jay Gasson who thought he?d have a go next. He picked the ball up and thundered a 40-yard shot towards goal. Turley, back-pedalling, just about got back in time to tip the ball over the bar. Woking were looking very dangerous, and continued to press.
Oxford began to come back into the game, but resorted to long-range shooting, which Gindre was more than happy to simply get behind and keep out with ease. After nine minutes, the first substitution took place. But it was the referee who needed to make way, with what looked like a pulled hamstring.
On 15 minutes, Alex Jeannin headed over Oxford?s first threatening chance, and within two minutes missed their second, when he blazed a free-kick into the top row of the stand behind the goal.
Woking sat back and soaked up the pressure, but then hit back on the half-hour mark. Morgan won another free-kick, which Gatting decided he?d take, and drilled it straight into the wall. The ball came back out to James, who found the head of Lorraine, but Turley saved easily.
Immediately, Oxford had a glorious chance to take the lead. Alex Jeannin found Phil Trainer just inside the area. With all the time in the world, he sent his shot nearer the corner flag than the goal.
There was an exchange of half-chances, with Trainer going close with a half-chance for Oxford, and Lambu hitting a tame effort at Turley. But it was in the 43rd minute that the game suddenly sprung into life again. With Morgan combining well with Lambu down the right, the latter?s cross was headed out about 35 yards. Kevin James was waiting, took the ball on his chest, and on the half volley smashed the ball goalwards. With everyone thinking this was it, the ball cannoned back off the bar, and Oxford broke. Jordan Rhodes sent a long ball over the top for Yemi Odubade. With Gindre coming out for a ball he was never going to reach, he would have been relieved to see Obudade?s lofted effort clear the bar by inches.
With half-time just around the corner, Woking missed a wonderful chance. Goma managed to evade his marker on the right, and sent in an inch-perfect cross to the back post. With Marv and Joe Gatting waiting, surely this was the time. Both missed the ball, and it was level at the break.
Half-time: Oxford United 0 Woking 0
The second half, compared with the first, was a much less entertaining affair. Oxford began to take control, without creating many chances. And it was Jeannin who had another Oxford attempt, but his shot was sent well wide of Gindre?s post.
Woking bounced back not long after, when Morgan managed to nick the ball off Quinn. With the hard work done, he sent a very tame shot straight at Turley, who gleefully collected the ball and pumped the ball forward as far as he possibly could: something he did all afternoon.
Yemi Odubade had another chance for Oxford after he dispossessed Jay Gasson, but Gindre and Lorraine did enough to snuff out the danger.
On the hour, Woking carved out another chance when a free-kick was played out to Danny Bunce. He drilled the ball low and hard across goal, but nobody managed to get a touch and the chance was gone. The rest of the game failed to impress, with Jeannin firing wide for the hosts. And, in the closing moments, Woking had another good opportunity. Marvin managed to get round his man, and as he bore down on goal, was again taken down cynically from behind. Kevin James?s free-kick looked good for a moment, but went wide.
Woking had put in another excellent performance, showing the travelling support that we can pose problems for any team. A bit more of a cutting edge up front, and it could well have been an embarrassing score-line for the hosts. Danny Bunce is fast becoming a very composed left-sided player, who looks excellent going forward and has really worked hard on cutting out frailties at the back.
Woking: Nick Gindre, Paul Lorraine, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson, Goma Lambu, Matt Pattison (Adam Green, 77), Kevin James, Bradley Quamina, Danny Bunce, Marvin Morgan, Joe Gatting (Liam Marum, 73)
Subs not used: Matt Gray, Matt Ruby, Giuseppe Sole
Booked: Paul Lorraine
MOTM: Marvin Morgan (pictured)