WOKING 1 HALIFAX TOWN 0
12:00am, Sat 5th Jan 2008
Woking 1 Halifax Town 0
5 January 2008
The Cards, down to ten men for the last twenty minutes, succeeded in defending a 1-0 lead given to them by a Giuseppe Sole strike in the 27th minute. It wasn?t pretty at times but three valuable points against another lowly side was what mattered today. The win lifted the Cards to 17th place, 13 points above the relegation zone.
Woking fans were greeted with the disappointing news that Kevin James, such an influential force in midfield since his arrival, had apparently declined the terms offered by Frank Gray and had left the club. Matt Gray took his place in central midfield, partnering Bradley Quamina, while Goma Lambu started on the right of midfield instead of Matt Pattison. The front two were Giuseppe Sole and Marvin Morgan, the latter the subject of much transfer speculation during the last few days.
There was a general air of post-Christmas lassitude among the spectators and, apparently, the players as the match kicked off, with Woking attacking the KRE. The auguries weren?t great as Matt Gray kicked the ball straight into touch from the centre circle and Nick Gindre followed him in finding touch from his first goal kick. Things didn?t get much better and most of the first half hour or so was eminently forgettable. (Mark Doyle was so bored he counted the Halifax fans on the open terrace: 91 adults and 1 baby, he reported!) However, there were signs that Goma Lambu was feeling sprightly and Marvin Morgan was more involved than in recent games, although none of the approach play produced anything akin to an opening. It wasn?t much better at the other end, where Halifax?s passing was sweeter but usually led to a high cross into the box which the ever-dependable Tom Hutchinson and Jay Gasson generally gobbled up. But Danny Bunce had to show some cool footwork in the third minute as he dinked the ball over his head in the box to thwart a Halifax attack.
By about the 20th minute the Shaymen seemed to be gaining the upper hand, winning more of the ball in midfield. This culminated in their first proper shot of the match, Nick Gindre comfortably catching Jon Shaw?s effort. Two minutes later Woking went ahead with their own first shot of the match. Adam Green chased down a dinked through ball from Bradley Quamina. A Halifax defender, on the edge of his box, tried to shepherd the ball out but Adam managed to curl his foot round and dispossess him. The ball was laid inside to Marvin Morgan, who in turn transferred it to the advancing Giuseppe Sole, who drove it home unerringly from six yards or so.
A few minutes later Marvin Morgan went on an enterprising run down the Woking left but his cross-cum-shot wasted a good position. Giuseppe Sole then mis-hit a volley, with Marvin heading the loose ball over the bar. Halifax ? now with Frank?s nephew, Nicky Gray, on ? had a long-range effort and a blocked free-kick but did not threaten the Woking goal before the referee?s whistle brought a largely soporific first half to a close.
Half-time: Woking 1 Halifax Town 0
At the beginning of the second half the Shaymen nearly grabbed an equaliser from a corner, Nick Gindre scrambling the ball round his post. But a superb break by Giuseppe Sole, dispossessing a Halifax player in the middle of the Woking half and then racing the length of the pitch, almost doubled Woking?s lead. With Marvin Morgan and Goma Lambu acting as decoys outside him, Giuseppe reached the box and then toe-poked the ball past the Halifax keeper. It hit the foot of the post and rebounded to safety, denying Gez what would have been a wonderful goal.
Halifax continued to create the odd chance but found themselves frustrated by some excellent defending by Tom Hutchinson, Paul Lorraine and Jay Gasson and some terrific saves by Nick Gindre. Lewis Killeen must have thought he had scored in the 55th minute but Nick managed to save at his near post. A few minutes later Nick showed tremendously quick reactions to deny Killeen again as the latter fired in a snap shot.
In one of Woking?s best moves of the game, Marvin Morgan set Goma Lambu free on the right and his fine cross was headed wide by Giuseppe Sole. Almost immediately, though, Halifax broke down the other end. Nick Gindre rushed from his goal and managed to steer the Halifax attacker sufficiently wide to allow Tom Hutchinson to get back in time to clear the goal-bound effort to safety.
Woking?s task became more difficult when Paul Lorraine picked up his second yellow card in the 70th minute. The first booking had been very harsh, apparently for time wasting on a throw-in when Goma?s initial attempt to take the throw had been obstructed by the antics of the Halifax substitutes on the touchline.
Nick Gindre produced another brilliant save from Killeen, palming the ball wide of his goal. Frank Gray threw on Matt Pattison for Marvin Morgan and Liam Marum for Giuseppe Sole, who had also been booked by the officious referee. Liam soon found his name added to the referee?s list!
Woking?s ten men worked hard to preserve the team?s lead, with some great tackling back by Goma Lambu and some excellent midfield work by Bradley Quamina, who also relieved the pressure on several occasions by bursting forward and heading for the corners. Matt Pattison too had a couple of decent runs. Liam Marum nearly wrapped up the points when Bradley Quamina slipped the ball out to him but Liam?s strike was cleared off the line The Cards, though, had to survive a final scare in the four minutes of injury time when Andy Campbell got clear but was unable to lift the ball over Nick Gindre.
This was an important win for the Cards, ending a run of three league defeats and keeping them comfortably above the relegation zone. There is no doubt that they missed the invention and skill of Kevin James in midfield ? let?s hope Frank has lined up a successor! ? but there were spirited displays, especially from Goma Lambu, Giuseppe Sole and Bradley Quamina, whilst Tom Hutchinson provided vital reassurance and security at the back. Nick Gindre too produced critical saves when it mattered.
Woking: Nick Gindre, Paul Lorraine, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson, Danny Bunce; Goma Lambu, Bradley Quamina, Matt Gray, Adam Green; Marvin Morgan (Matt Pattison, 72), Giuseppe Sole (Liam Marum, 76)
Unused subs: Ross Worner, Jerome Maledon, Izedin Harusha
Sent off: Paul Lorraine (two bookings)
Booked: Giuseppe Sole, Liam Marum
My MOTM: difficult to choose between the lively Goma Lambu and the dependable Tom Hutchinson, but my vote just goes to Tom (pictured).