Brian Caffarey
12:00am, Sat 12th Jan 2008
Woking 2 Aldershot Town 4
FA Trophy, 2nd Round
12 January 2008

This was a bitter pill for Woking fans to swallow. It was not so much the fact that this was the third successive defeat at the hands of the Shots in as many weeks as the knowledge that this was a game the Cards could, and should, have won. At 2-1 up at midway in the second half, and seemingly well on top, Woking then proceeded to throw the game away with some poor defending, allowing the Shots to run in three goals and end up comfortable winners. It?s hard immediately after the match to take comfort from defeat but there were some positive features, not least the promising debut by Jason Norville and a return to form by Marvin Morgan.

The heavy rain on Friday had left the pitch soggy as Woking lined up, kicking towards the Leslie Gosden Stand. Matt Gray was at right back in place of the suspended Paul Lorraine and Frank Gray had decided to start with the front pairing of Marvin Morgan and new signing Jason Norville. The other new arrival, central defender Lewis Christon, was on the bench. The Shots lined up with a full-strength side.

A pulsating game came to life instantly as Matt Pattison charged down Anthony Charles?s attempted clearance. Matt?s resulting cross and the back heel by Marvin Morgan led to a back pass by a Shots defender. The free-kick was just to the right of the six-yard box but Adam Green could not force the ball through the massed Shots? defence, with Nikki Bull making a fine save. Aldershot responded with a typically quick and incisive break as Joel Grant fed the impressive Ben Harding on Woking?s right. Harding?s shot flashed wide of Nick Gindre?s far post.

Jonny Dixon floated a harmless effort over the other side of Nick?s goal before the lively Matt Pattison had a much better opportunity to open the scoring. The ball was worked into him in the box but his finish was weak, enabling Nikki Bull to dive to his left and gather the ball comfortably.

Suddenly the Shots struck to open the scoring. Woking were slow to defend a free-kick. The ball was pushed out to Louis Soares, whose left-footed strike gave Nick Gindre no chance to his left. With only 11 minutes gone Woking were 1-0 down.

The Aldershot fans clearly believed that they were on course for a comfortable win but they had only four minutes to enjoy their team?s lead. A through ball saw Jason Norville and Rhys Day wrestle each other as they approached the box. Jason came off best and, from just inside the area, swept home a superb left-footed shot to Bull?s left. Not a bad start to his Woking career!

The game calmed down for ten minutes or so after this frenetic opening. The Shots began to put some slick passes together but were wasteful with their crosses. Woking then began to get on top. The Cards won several free-kicks in the Shots? half as Day and his colleagues struggled to contain Marvin Morgan. Adam Green beat the Shots? wall with his second kick but there was not enough pace on it to trouble Bull, who fielded cleanly. A poor kick by the keeper then led to yet another Woking free-kick. Tom Hutchinson got a flicked header in the box but Marvin Morgan stretching at the far post could only lift the ball over the bar. At the other end Joel Grant had switched wings but got no change from the excellent Jay Gasson.

Matt Pattison showed up once more, making a fine slaloming run into the box but then wasted the chance with a wild cross-cum-shot which went out for a throw-in on the far side. Woking continued to do most of the attacking and Bull was lucky to escape as Marvin Morgan charged down his kick. Another Matt Pattison run, this time from in the Woking half, promised much till the linesman?s flag indicated that Jason Norville had strayed offside. The Shots? only response was a poor effort from John Grant, which went well wide. In extra time Marvin Morgan was unlucky to see his clever back heel intercepted in the area.

The Cards had dominated most of the first half but would they rue not pressing home their advantage?

Half-time: Woking 1 Aldershot Town 1

Woking continued to carry the game to the Shots at the start of the second half apart from one quick break from Joel Grant. Marvin Morgan blocked a clearance but Bull was able to get to the ball just ahead of Marvin and Goma Lambu. Goma then failed to make the most of a decent chance in the 50th minute. Danny Bunce had dinked a ball through to Jason Norville. Jason?s shot reached Goma beyond the far post but he put the ball well over the bar. An excellent run by Jason then had the Shots? defence back-pedalling before he slipped the ball through to Marvin Morgan but the attack was foiled by some slick defending. But the goal which Woking had been threatening then arrived. Tom Hutchinson surged forward but, as he was sent flying, Marvin Morgan picked the ball up and held off a couple of defenders before hitting a fine left-footed effort past Bull to give Woking a 2-1 lead with 53 minutes gone.

The Cards continued to look good value for their lead as they exerted more pressure on Nikki Bull, forcing two poor clearances. They tackled strongly in midfield and Tom Hutchinson and Jay Gasson dealt capably with anything in the air. Goma Lambu wasted another chance, with a weak left-footed effort, after Marvin Morgan had robbed Day. At this stage the odds seemed to be on Woking grabbing a third goal, with the Shots not really looking at all threatening. It may have been merely coincidence but it all seemed to go wrong for the Cards once Jason Norville went off in the 66th minute, to be replaced by Liam Marum. The turning point, however, was a defensive lapse in the 71st minute by the usually reliable Danny Bunce. He failed to take the chance to clear on the left of the Woking defence, elaborated and was robbed. He could only look on as the ball was played into the middle and pushed out into the path of Anthony Charles, who rammed the ball home from a few yards out.

The equaliser seemed to galvanise the hitherto lethargic Shots but they owed their next goal to yet another Woking defensive error. A corner was poorly defended and went right across to the far post, where Nick Gindre rashly brought down Jonny Dixon. John Grant?s penalty, in the 75th minute, went in off the inside of the post to propel the Shots into a 3-2 lead.

With Woking now chasing the game, and Tom Hutchinson increasingly venturing forward, large gaps started to appear in the Woking defence and the marauding John Grant, ably assisted by his speedy colleagues, might well have helped himself to a couple of more goals in the closing stages. As it was, he contented himself with just one more, in the 85th minute, as he fired home after a free-kick was only partially cleared.

As many disappointed Woking fans made for the exits, a deflated Cards side did not give up the fight but were unable to create any chances of their own, with the only action of note being a very feisty challenge by Adam Green on Lewis Chalmers, which earned Adam a booking.

So, the Cards? hopes of a decent run in the Trophy were crushed by a Shots side who belatedly showed their class and who must now fancy their chances of a Championship and Trophy double. As for Woking, once the bitter taste of defeat lessens, they will have to take heart from a much improved performance (apart from defensive lapses), in particular from Matt Pattison, Bradley Quamina and Adam Green in midfield and the attacking duo of Marvin Morgan and Jason Norville.

Woking: Nick Gindre, Matt Gray, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson, Danny Bunce; Goma Lambu (Jerome Maledon, 86), Matt Pattison, Bradley Quamina, Adam Green; Marvin Morgan, Jason Norville (Liam Marum,66)

Unused subs: Ross Worner, Izedin Harusha, Lewis Christon

Booked: Jason Norville, Adam Green

Attendance: 2368

Sponsor?s (GMB?s) MOTM: Marvin Morgan (pictured)

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