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Bob Cumming - 27th March 2008

By Bob Cumming

Woking 0 Whyteleafe 1
Surrey Senior Cup Semi-Final
26 March 2008

Woking were forced to change the planned line-up at the last minute at a rain-soaked Kingfield on Wednesday night as Tom Hutchinson replaced Adam Green after the warm-up. However, the Cards opened a wholly uneventful first half playing well within themselves, passing neatly out of defence but failing to find the telling final pass. If Woking had managed to find anything other than second gear and the attacks constructed with any degree of determination, then Whyteleafe would surely have folded early on.

As it was, the green shirts began to find space on their left with Michael Riley at the heart of the opening exchanges. Woking recovered to smother any further serious attacks, with Gez Sole becoming influential, outpacing a defender and placing an angled shot wide before curling a free-kick the wrong side of the post.

On 37 minutes Damian Batt drilled a superb through ball past the Whyteleafe defence for Sole to meet with pace, but with only the keeper to beat he scooped Woking?s best chance of the game wide.

Half-time: Woking 0 Whyteleafe 0

Whyteleafe came out determined that the opening minutes would be theirs, probing and harrying on the left side, putting pressure on Batt?s defensive position. They delivered several good crosses and forced Woking into some hurried clearances, culminating in Clayton striking firmly and forcing Gindre into a fine stop.

Ten minutes later Riley squared from the left of midfield into the path of Clayton, who rifled a 20-yard effort, which was parried by Nick Gindre.

The Cards? front runners were running into blind alleys, unable to get behind the ?Leafe defence, so Frank Gray replaced Goma Lambu with Marvin Morgan, and four minutes later, Liam Marum with Jason Norville. This sparked Woking into third gear. Jerome Maledon had a shot blocked, and the keeper fumbled an angled drive from Damian Batt. Gez Sole gradually carved openings: a corner headed onto the bar by Matt Gray on 65 minutes and three minutes later a solo effort by Sole himself as he stepped inside a defender and unleashed a rising and curling shot towards the top corner which was palmed away by keeper Tolfrey.

A nearly costly 76th minute error by Damian Batt in midfield let in Steve Causon, who fired high and wide as the midfield began to tire on the heavy and sodden pitch.

Bradley Quamina replaced Matt Gray on 77 minutes, and the next ten minutes produced the Cards? most determined efforts, Matt Pattison and Jerome Maledon both taking on defenders, running at and past them, rather than playing the passing game, and in the process carving openings for Morgan and Norville. Gez Sole conjured up a forceful run but shot high into the night sky. Then Morgan rounded three defenders but could not bury his final shot.

With extra time looming, both sides visibly dropped the pace except for Clayton, who found himself free on the edge of the D and fired an angled shot wide of Gindre, and one minute later a scrappy midfield challenge saw the ball bobble into space. Clayton collected and pushed the ball into the box past Tom Hutchinson. As he raced past Hutchinson?s untidy challenge, with the linesman flagging, Clayton fired past a helpless Gindre to give ?Leafe a Surrey Senior Cup Final against Kinstonian at Imber Court on 6 May.

Woking never really got past third gear and never produced the extra quality or time on the ball expected of a side three divisions higher in the pyramid. Maybe this was one game too many in a cluttered Easter programme.

Woking: Nick Gindre; Damian Batt, Matt Ruby, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson; Goma Lambu (Marvin Morgan 58), Matt Gray (Bardley Quamina 77), Jerome Maledon, Matt Pattison; Liam Marum (Jason Norville 62), Giuseppe Sole.

Unused subs: Ross Worner (gk), Adam Green.

Whyteleafe: Tolfrey; Jabbie, O?Flaherty, Spencer, Boxall; Riley (Platel 85), Smith (Maclean 51), Broomhead, Greaves (Rivers 70); Clayton, Causon

Unused subs: Meite, Hackett.

Attendance: 279

Weather: constant rain

My MOTM: Gez Sole (pictured) for showing determination.
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