Woking roll the Stones to return to winning ways

Haydn Cobb
2:02pm, Sun 23rd Jan 2022
Woking 2 Wealdstone 0
Vanarama National League
22nd January 2022

Woking produced a dominant display with goals from Inih Effiong and Jamar Loza to beat Wealdstone and move up to 12th in the Vanarama National League.

After almost three weeks without a game, a goal in each half highlighted an impressive performance by the Cards as Effiong opened the scoring after 20 minutes and Loza made the game safe with 15 minutes remaining.

Wealdstone were reduced to 10 men late on, allowing the Cards to see out the game with a first clean sheet since mid-November to cap off a superb all-round display.

The win lifts Woking up to 12th in the league, 10 points off the playoffs and 15 points above the relegation zone, and provides the perfect response after the disappointing defeat to Aldershot.

Woking manager Alan Dowson made six changes to the starting line-up that lost to Aldershot at the start of the month, with club captain Josh Casey a late dropout after testing positive for COVID-19, while Tommy Block was unavailable after going on loan to Hampton & Richmond Borough and Solomon Nwabuokei was suspended.

Kyran Lofthouse came in at right back with Tyreke Johnson slotting in at left back, while new loan signing David Longe-King joined the central back three alongside Moussa Diarra and Louie Annesley, with goalkeeper Mark Smith picked over Craig Ross.

In midfield Rohan Ince returned to the starting line-up with Tarryn Allarakhia operating behind an unchanged attacking trio of Max Kretzschmar, Inih Effiong and Tahvon Campbell.

The Cards made a bright start with some encouraging link-up play involving Lofthouse and Campbell but failed to test goalkeeper Wickens.

Ex-Woking player Charlie Cooper gave himself an unhappy return with a late challenge on Kretzschmar which resulted in a booking, while the home fans’ frustrations were doubled as referee Matthew Russell gave the foul with Campbell set to break free into the Wealdstone box.

But Woking got the goal their early play deserved after Campbell won a tussle with another ex-Cards player Jack Cook and his shot forced Wickens to concede a corner. The resulting set piece from Kretzschmar was not cleared by Wealdstone and Effiong poked in from close range for his ninth goal of the season.

That gave Woking the confidence boost for more eye-catching attacking intent, with Campbell, Lofthouse and Johnson all shooting narrowly wide.

With 10 minutes to go before halftime the visitors gradually began to get into the contest, as both teams put in some fierce but fair challenges. Despite improvements from the visitors, Woking saw out the half to lead at the interval.

Half-time: Woking 1 Wealdstone 0

Woking started the second half with same intensity as the opening period but clear-cut chances remained few and far between.

For the first time in the game Wealdstone applied some sustained pressure on the Cards but couldn’t carve out a shot on target, with Woking still threatening at set pieces and on the counter. Campbell went closest for Woking with a header just over the crossbar.

Johnson and Cook in race for the ball
Johnson and Cook in race for the ball
David Homes

Woking’s second goal came with the injection of fresh legs, as Loza scored within three minutes of coming on for Campbell. The Cards beat the offside trap, with the substitutes combining to see debutant Nicke Kabamba releasing Loza one-on-one, with the forward taking the ball around Wickens to calmly slot home in front of the jubilant fans.

The two-goal cushion provided both the Cards with a sense of relief after recent difficulties, while Wealdstone’s afternoon turned tougher when substitute Douglas James-Taylor was sent off just four minutes after coming on for a high and reckless challenge on Lofthouse.

With a man advantage, Woking created chances to extend the lead with both Loza and Kretzschmar going close, but perhaps more important was a first clean sheet in nine league games to cap off a superb performance.

Woking: 1 Mark Smith, 2 Kyran Lofthouse, 6 Moussa Diarra, 16 Louie Annesley, 22 David Longe-King, 11 Tyreke Johnson, 24 Rohan Ince, 17 Tarryn Allarakhia, 10 Max Kretzschmar ©, 9 Inih Effiong (18 Nicke Kabamba 72’), 19 Tahvon Campbell (7 Jamar Loza 72’)

Unused subs: 13 Craig Ross, 5 Joe McNerney, 12 Nathan Collier

Goals: Effiong 20’, Loza 76’

Wealdstone 1 George Wickens, 2 Jack Cook, 4 Ashely Charles, 5 Connor Stevens, 6 Jerome Okimo © (23 Jayden Mundle-Smith 72’), 7 Craig Fasanmade (20 Medy Elito 57’), 9 Josh Umerah, 17 Nikola Taveres, 18 Alex Dyer, 24 Charlie Cooper (22 Douglas James-Taylor 79’), 25 Jamie Mascoll

Unused subs: 8 Matt Buse, 14 Connor McAvoy

Bookings: Cooper 15’, Taveres 71’

Sent off: James-Taylor 83’

Referee: Matthew Russell

Attendance: 2677 – 232 travelling Wealdstone supporters.

Sponsor’s Man of the Match: Rohan Ince – Dominant in midfield and key to everything Woking excelled at in attack and defence.

Thank you to our Match Sponsor St. George’s Heating and Plumbing and our Match Ball Sponsor RAMS FM .

You can check out St. George’s Heating and Plumbing here

Read about Rams FM’S services here

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