Bromley 1 Woking 0
Vanarama National League
25th January 2022
The Cards suffered their second defeat of the season against an accomplished Bromley side but can take some comfort from the fact that the gap between the two sides looked narrower than in November’s 2-0 reverse at home. Woking competed strongly throughout and were in the game till the final whistle but Bromley always looked to have that extra bit of quality and composure in most areas of the pitch. And, in the end, it took a somewhat fortunate ‘lobbed’ goal by Jude Arthurs midway through the first half to separate the sides. Woking had plenty of possession in the second half as they sought an equaliser but, in spite of plenty of crosses and corners, rarely troubled the Bromley keeper, who was protected by a strong defensive outfit.
On a cold, still night Woking came out, onto a heavily-watered artificial pitch, showing one change from the side which started their encouraging 2-0 home win over Wealdstone at the weekend, Nicke Kabamba replacing the absent Tahvon Campbell, with Solomon Nwabuokei, returning from suspension, taking the vacated space on the bench.
Woking started positively, feeding the busy Tyreke Johnson on the left, as they were to do for much of the evening when on the front foot. A couple of crosses came in but it was Bromley, in their first attack, who fashioned the first real chance. Arthurs, in a quick break through the middle, slipped in top scorer, Michael Cheek. Mark Smith seemed to take the ball off his feet but lost control and Cheek was able to get a shot in. Fortunately for the Cards, the ball found the side netting.
Woking continued to have their fair share of attacking play, mainly down the left, Kyran Lofthouse finding it difficult to make progress on the other flank, but the quality of crosses and free-kicks was not consistently high. The game continued to be fairly evenly balanced till midway through the half when the Ravens made what proved to be the decisive breakthrough. A superb pass found Cheek in the box, whose shot was deflected back to Arthurs. His speculative lob – or was it a deflection? – towards the far post, with Smith stranded, seemed to be going wide but somehow just crept in to give Bromley a 1-0 lead.
Smith was called into action shortly afterwards when Lofthouse, not for the first time, conceded a free-kick against the tricky Forster, but he was able to smother the shot, if a little uncertainly.
A minute later away hopes were raised as Kabamba went sprawling in the area but the referee was decisive in waving away appeals for a penalty. A quick break then provided the Cards with a very promising attack but it came to nought as Lofthouse overhit his pass to Inih Effiong.
Bromley responded with a diving header from Arthurs, which went narrowly wide, before Tarryn Allarakhia, seeing quite a lot of the ball in midfield, ended a good run with a disappointing shot well over the bar.
Bromley ramped up the pressure, seeking to double their lead before half-time, but Louie Annesley cleared off the line to keep the Cards in the game. They could reflect on the fact that they had largely matched the Ravens but had not tested the Bromley keeper, while Bromley’s more incisive attacks, though relatively few in number, generally carried a greater threat.
Half-time: Bromley 1 Woking 0
The second half began in controversial fashion. Moussa Diarra, caught on the wrong side of his man on the left flank, “cleaned him out”. A red card looked a possibility but the referee was content merely to book the Woking defender.
This was followed by another “let off” when Alexander mis-cued when presented with a very reasonable chance in the box. Bush, too, threatened to strike but failed to connect.
Tyreke Johnson put in a strong performance
The Cards applied some pressure through a quick break and a couple of Johnson crosses before the game was halted by an injury to Max Kretzschmar, who was forced off, to be replaced by Nwabuokei, who slotted in quickly and seemed to provide some needed added strength in midfield.
Woking finally managed to trouble Cousins as Kabamba went close from a Johnson free-kick but the referee surprisingly failed to award the Cards what ought to have been the resulting corner. The Cards continued to do most of the pressing, winning five corners in the space of a few minutes as the game approached midway through the second half. But shots from Effiong and Annesley were blocked before Ince skied well over the bar.
Although Jamar Loza came on to replace Allarakhia and looked lively, adding more pace to the attack, Woking weren’t able to put Bromley under the same degree of pressure again. Nevertheless, Kabamba went close in the 80th minute, heading wide.
Shortly afterwards the Cards were reduced to ten men, Annesley picking up two quick bookings, the second of which, though possibly dubious, was rash in the circumstances. Having survived the resulting free-kick, Woking continued to search for an equaliser. Effiong had a shot blocked. David Longe-King made space for himself with some nifty footwork but then fired well wide and Loza got in another dangerous cross, which, however, Lofthouse couldn’t quite reach at the back post. But a very solid Bromley defence saw out the game, leaving the Cards with nothing to show for their considerable efforts.
: 1 Mark Cousins, 4 Billy Bingham, 5 Chris Bush, 6 Omar Sowunmi, 7 Luke Coulson, 8 Jude Arthurs (34 Jack Cawley 81), 9 Michael Cheek, 17 Byron Webster, 18 Corey Whitely, 19 Harry Forster (2 Joe Partington 64), 22 George Alexander (10 James Alabi 72)
: 12 Scott Wagstaff, 26 Palace Francis
: Arthurs 23’
: 1 Mark Smith, 2 Kyran Lofthouse, 6 Moussa Diarra, 16 Louie Annesley, 22 David Longe-King, 17 Tarryn Allarakhia (7 Jamar Loza 72), 24 Rohan Ince, 10 Max Kretzschmar (8 Solomon Nwabuokei 61), 9 Inih Effiong, 18 Nicke Kabamba, Tyreke Johnson
: 13 Craig Ross, 5 Joe McNerney, 12 Nathan Collier
: Annesley (two bookings)
: Daniel Middleton
My Woking MOTM
: Tyreke Johnson – heavily involved throughout, with most of the attacking moves coming from his flank