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Brian Caffarey - 8th March 2008

Woking 2 Stafford Rangers 2
8 March 2008

Oh dear! It?s hard to say much that is very positive about this Woking performance! Playing against a team one off the bottom, and who were tonked 6-0 on their last outing, the Cards produced a poor performance and had Stafford defensive howlers to thank for the two goals they did score. In the team?s defence you could say that they were playing with ten men for an hour after Tom Hutchinson?s save ? unfortunately with his hands! ? which led to the equalising penalty. But by then the Cards had been gifted their first goal and should have gone on to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Frank Gray selected Damian Batt at right back, with Adam Green coming in on the left side of midfield and Jason Norville partnering Marvin Morgan up front.

A swirling wind and a pitch which cut up quickly didn?t help but, even so, this was a scrappy affair, with too many misplaced passes, poor control and lack of invention. Stafford had the first attack of note almost straight from the kick-off as the ball fizzed across the Woking goalmouth. Three minutes later Marvin was hauled back just outside the area but Adam Green?s free-kick was well over the bar.

The game then became very disjointed until it was interrupted, in the 17th minute, by some comical Stafford defending. Danny Bunce threw in a decent cross but the Rangers keeper, Danny Alcock, made a hash of his attempt to collect it. The ball fell to Matt Pattison, who calmly and gently stroked it past Alcock to put the Cards 1-0 up.

For a brief period the Cards began to put a few enterprising moves together, with Matt Pattison?s clever footwork at the corner flag winning a corner, from which Alcock punched clear. Danny Bunce then crossed dangerously once more.

But then it all went wrong on the half-hour mark. The ball was slipped all too easily through the Woking back line to Olaoye. Ross Worner did well to block his shot but Tom Hutchinson decided to turn goalkeeper for the second effort, saving the ball with his hands. A red card inevitably followed and Arnolin scored comfortably from the spot to put Stafford level.

Woking almost conceded a second goal a minute later as Neil Grayson, slipped through in similar fashion, missed a great chance, putting the ball wide. Frank Gray re-shuffled his side, bringing Matt Ruby on for the unlucky Adam Green. Matt almost got on the end of a corner at the other end, but Ross Worner had to be quick off his line to foil another Rangers attack and only good covering by Damian Batt prevented Olaoye, who had beaten Danny Bunce, from bearing down on the Woking goal. Just before half-time Matt Gray forced Alcock to parry his shot but no one was following up and Bradley Quamina hit a fierce volley wide of the post.

Half-time: Woking 1 Stafford Rangers 1

Neil Grayson, a thorn in the Woking defence all afternoon in spite of his 42 years, went close again just after the interval, poking the ball wide with his left foot after holding off Matt Ruby. More defensive uncertainty followed as Danny Bunce seemed slow to tackle Grayson. Woking responded with a free-kick just outside the area, initially blocked, with Alcock then grabbing a ricochet.

In the 55th minute Stafford gifted Woking their second goal of the afternoon. Wayne Daniel and Danny Alcock hesitated over a through ball. Marvin Morgan nipped in between them and slid it sideways to Jason Norville for a simple tap-in. Predictably, the Cards conceded almost straightaway, with a defensive blunder of their own three minutes later. Danny Bunce tried unsuccessfully to usher the ball out for a goal kick and was robbed. The cross came over, Arnolin headed down and Grayson was there to prod home to make it 2-2.

Jay Gasson connected well with a corner before Stafford went on the offensive again. Ross Worner comfortably saved a long-range effort from Arnolin and Matt Ruby hacked clear after both Gasson and Bunce missed a cross. Woking tried to regain the initiative but were frustrated as moves broke down.

Grayson missed another excellent chance in the 75th minute as he got the better of Jay Gasson but pulled the ball wide of the goal. Jason Norville shot straight at the keeper before being replaced by Liam Marum, with Giuseppe Sole coming on for Marvin Morgan a few minutes later.

Grayson got the ball in the net in the 82nd minute, only to be ruled offside. Woking huffed and puffed in a final attempt to force a winner, with Matt Pattison prominent once more. Liam Marum cut inside from wide left but Alcock saved comfortably. Matt Pattison?s volley rocketed into the stand, just wide of the goal, and Gez Sole hit an ?over the shoulder? effort. But Ross Worner had to be at full stretch to prevent Stafford having the last laugh as a shot was deflected.

The final action of a poor game saw Matt Gray blast a free-kick across the Stafford goalmouth with no one gambling on it.

Let?s hope that the Cards can rouse themselves for the last few games, otherwise the season is in danger of ending not with a bang but with a whimper.

Woking: Ross Worner, Damian Batt, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson, Danny Bunce; Matt Pattison, Bradley Quamina, Matt Gray, Adam Green (Matt Ruby, 32); Jason Norville (Liam Marum, 76), Marvin Morgan (Giuseppe Sole, 79)

Subs not used: Nick Gindre, Goma Lambu

Sent off: Tom Hutchinson

Booked: Matt Ruby

Attendance: 1133

Sponsors? (Smith and Williamson Ltd) MOTM: Bradley Quamina (pictured)

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