Brian Caffarey
12:00am, Sat 27th Oct 2007
Woking 0 Staines Town 1
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
27 October 2007

In a week when Cards fans and some of the players had rubbed shoulders with some of the great Woking legends from past Cup exploits, the present generation served up a hugely disappointing display to send Woking crashing out of the FA Cup to a Staines side who deserve their place in the First Round Proper. Although the Cards huffed and puffed in the second half, and might have scrambled an equaliser, they did not have the quality to recover from the early goal conceded to the visitors.

As expected, Giuseppe Sole replaced Joe Gatting up front but Gez was just one of a number of players who played well below their best, getting caught too often on the ball and usually failing to hit the target when opportunities did arise.

The Cards were unable to repeat the barnstorming start which they had enjoyed at Oxford last Saturday and, in more familiar style, began tentatively. Jay Gasson?s back-header from a free-kick in the 6th minute went wide, with the Staines keeper in nomansland. Matt Pattison, another player who endured a frustrating afternoon, was off target too. Staines pressed quickly whenever the Cards had possession and when Bradley Quamina was unable to control the ball just in the Woking half in the 9th minute it was passed quickly forward, via a deflection, to Mark Nwokeji, who finished comfortably past Nick Gindre to put the visitors 1-0 up. This was a disastrous start for any home side but especially worrying for a Woking side which has been far from prolific in front of goal this season.

The Woking crowd quickly became restive as the Cards continued to look casual at times and moves broke down far too easily. Bradley Quamina seemed disinclined to shoot when Marvin Morgan?s pass gave him a bit of space in the box in the 19th minute and then Jay Gasson shot weakly and Matt Pattison?s effort was blocked. Gez, perhaps reacting to the crowd?s growing discontent, shot wildly from 35 yards.

When Staines attacked they looked more incisive, with Dwain Clarke and Mark Nwokeji showing a sharp turn of pace. A lunge from Goma Lambu foiled the latter as he wriggled free in the box. More frustration followed as Gez?s cross went behind the attackers and the referee dismissed a reasonable ?shout? for a penalty in the 28th minute as Bradley Quamina went tumbling to the deck, with two Staines defenders sandwiching him, after Marvin Morgan had slipped a fine pass through to him in the area.

The next two pieces of action involved Gez as a weakish shot from outside the area went wide. He did much better to control on his chest a looping cross from Goma Lambu but was dispossessed before he could take aim. Woking continued to do most of the attacking and, after a lamentable shot from Matt Pattison, Gez?s fine downward header from a lobbed cross was blocked, possibly by a hand. Kevin James cleverly picked up the rebound but pushed the ball slightly too far forward, enabling the Staines keeper to make enough ground to smother his shot. Woking?s last effort of the half saw Tom Hutchinson head wide from a Danny Bunce corner.

Half-time: Woking 0 Staines Town 1

Cards fans hopes rose immediately after the interval as Woking, now kicking towards the KRE, forced four corners in succession in the opening minutes. Marvin Morgan, picking up Tom Hutchinson?s header right in front of the keeper, saw his swivelled shot blocked before the keeper saved again from Giuseppe Sole.

Staines responded with a couple of dangerous attacks of their own, with Paul Lorraine coming to the rescue, followed by a forceful punched clearance from Nick Gindre from a corner and then Jay Gasson heading clear as the ball appeared to be arcing towards the Woking top corner. A less convincing punch failed to clear the ball but a last-ditch tackle intervened just in the nick of time.

Marvin Morgan, who worked hard all afternoon but too often in areas which did not really hurt Staines, had a couple of fine runs down the right flank but there seemed to be few Woking players busting a gut to get into the box as the crosses came over. Hopes were raised again as the Staines keeper failed to hold a corner and Kevin James sent in a fierce left-foot shot ? but, like so much of Woking?s shooting this afternoon, it wasn?t accurate enough.

The Cards had a close shave at the other end as the ball was cut back past Nick Gindre, who was fortunate enough to be able to grab it after Paul Lorraine had stuck out a boot.

Woking continued to press forward without ever really looking as though they were going to fashion a clear opening but there looked to be a reasonable chance that the pressure would eventually pay off even though the minutes were beginning to tick away. A Staines defender nearly came to Woking?s rescue as he tested his own keeper but Nick Gindre was in action too as he turned Dwain Clarke?s free-kick round the post.

It was no surprise to see Liam Marum join the fray in the 62nd minute. Goma Lambu gave way but Gez was perhaps lucky not to do so, having just been booked after some sloppy defensive play. His confidence can?t have been helped either as he then blazed a free-kick way over the bar just after Dwain Clarke had again had Nick Gindre scrambling to clear round his post.

Woking came close to equalising in the 70th minute as a Kevin James? free-kick was tipped onto the bar by the Staines keeper. Gez at last found his range with a terrific effort which the Staines keeper did very well to parry and grab at the second attempt. As Staines began to tire, and Woking sought the equaliser ever more desperately, the Staines box began to be peppered with crosses, mostly aimed at Tom Hutchinson, now thrown forward. Paul Lorraine?s effort was turned round the post before a much better free-kick from Gez went narrowly over the bar. But he wasted a good attacking opportunity with a poor chip when he had Marvin Morgan outside him crying out for the pass.

As the minutes ticked down, another header was pushed round the post and a Danny Bunce shot was also diverted before another Tom Hutchinson header was cleared. Five minutes of added time gave Woking a last chance to save the game but it wasn?t to be. A corner was punched clear and then Paul Lorraine, in a good position to put a firm header back across goal, lofted it up for the keeper to grab amongst a crowd of players.

As the final whistle went, the Staines bench tore across the pitch jubilantly. It was a fine performance away from home from a club two leagues below their hosts but the Cards made it comparatively easy for them with a sub-standard performance. The Cards simply did not show enough quality, especially in midfield and attack, to carve out decent openings and had to increasingly resort to throwing the ball forward in a desperate and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to retrieve the tie.

Frank will have to work hard to ensure that this very disappointing display ? which has cost the Club dear in terms of pride and finances ? doesn?t affect the players? confidence: we?ve got an important game at home to Droylsden next Saturday from which we want three points.

Woking: Nick Gindre, Paul Lorraine, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson, Goma Lambu (Liam Marum. 64), Matt Pattison, Kevin James, Bradley Quamina, Danny Bunce, Marvin Morgan, Giuseppe Sole

Subs not used: Matt Gray, Adam Green, Matt Ruby, Jerome Maledon

Booked: Giuseppe Sole

Attendance: 1431

My MOTM: Danny Bunce. Marvin Morgan worked very hard but didn?t really threaten the goal. Danny looked more on top of his game than most.

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