Woking 1 Chelmsford City 1
Vanarama National League South
13th October 2018
Woking produced an improved second half performance to grind out a draw against a convincing Chelmsford City side.
After rueing a missed opportunity late in the first half Jamar Loza made no mistake with a similar opportunity midway through the second period with a well taken finish in his league debut for the Cards. With a victory today for next weekâ€™s FA Cup opponents Welling United, the Cards drop a place down to third with this draw.
After some fluctuating form in the past few weeks - both in the league draw against Torquay United and then making hard work of the victory against Kempston Rovers in the FA Cup - Alan Dowson took to making some selection changes. Former Billericay and Truro centre-half Ben Gerring came straight into the team in place of Kiran Khinda-John. Charlie Hester-Cook and Paul Hodges also dropped to the bench in place of two new loanees; French Midfielder Donovan Makoma has arrived from Stevenage, alongside Jamaican forward Jamar Loza in his second game. Both were keen to make their mark in the starting eleven.
On a warm but breezy afternoon, Woking attacked the MKJ end in the first half. However they soon found themselves on the back foot from a Chelmsford side high on confidence and intent. An early free kick 30 yards out was taken by Joe Anderson which was blocked by Gayle; the rebound settled at Whelpdale. He was unable to exploit the overlap as Casey sensed the danger and was able to crowd out his opponent before he could get sight of goal.
Moments later the Clarets were on the attack again. Jordan Chiedozie - son of former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder John - looked lively throughout on his first start for the visitors. His threaded pass for Whelpdale sent him clean through. Failing to see Murphy alone on the overlap, Whelpdale instead opted to shoot for the near post which failed to trouble Ross. Soon after, Chiedozie was again involved as he found space down the right side. His cross took a heavy deflection of Casey and dropped right under the goalframe. Ross was alert enough to follow the flight of the ball and get a hand outstretched to tip over his crossbar.
Woking were finally able to register their first attack by means of a counter-attack. From a Chelmsford corner, Woking were able to clear and thread through to Kretzschmar. Collecting deep in his own half he weaved forward before laying off a distant cross-field pass to Wheeler. After switching onto his right foot just inside the penalty area, he angled a curling shot which sailed narrowly wide of the far post.
Returning former Cards wing back Matt Young sought to make an impression as he beat Casey to a challenge and laid on an accurate looping cross into Murphy in the centre. Though his header was powerfully aimed at goal, the linesman raised his flag to signal a Woking free kick.
Having switched wings midway through the half Wheeler looked to enjoy better success against a resolute Clarets defence. After stepping past two challenges his floated cross deep into the Chelmsford zone was only narrowly missed by an onrushing Loza.
This miss was punished in the next phase of play as the visitors deservedly took the lead. Chelmsford won a corner which was floated in by Anderson. It was powerfully attacked by Chiedozie and the attempt crashed back against the crossbar. First to react was Whelpdale to decisively strike the rebound back into the heart of the goal before Ross could reposition.
Instead of being able to hit back at their opponents immediately Woking instead found themselves defending again. Whelpdale squared a short pass across to Nasha who switched the ball onto his left foot. His curving low shot looked primed for the bottom corner and only an impressive acrobatic diving save from Ross to palm around the post prevented the second of the afternoon for the visitors.
In a half of so few opportunities the Cards would have been grateful to be given their best chance to that point with the final attack deep into first-half injury time. A long ball from Casey was contested between Loza and Omozusi. A slip from the visiting defender was exploited allowing Loza to be able to advance clean through on goal with just McDonald to beat. As the angles narrowed he opted to place his shot for the far corner and the home fans looked on despairingly as it bobbled wide to ensure the visitors retained their lead going into the break.
Half-time: Woking 0 Chelmsford City 1
After being largely outplayed in the first half Alan Dowsonâ€™s side looked to alter the balance of power and make the most of attacking the significant size of support in the Leslie Gosden Stand. Kretzschmar collected Wheelerâ€™s pass wide on the right and laid off a quick pass to Jake Hyde who found himself in a promising central position. Unfortunately he lost his footing at the crucial moment and fanned his attempted shot allowing the Chelmsford defence to recover and clear.
Woking were able to make amends for past narrow misses in the 57th minute. Loza was played in down the right side and was able to time his run perfectly behind Anderson to collect the ball for his second opportunity clear through on goal. Perhaps learning from earlier in the game he this time placed the ball calmly under an onrushing McDonald to earn the Cards a much needed equaliser.
Loza slots home Woking's equaliser from a difficult angle; pic: David Holmes
Wheeler was replaced by Paul Hodges (pictured above) who instantly added greater impetus to the Cards attacking options. After winning a fully committed challenge in the centre of the field the Woking substitute surged forward and slid a well weighted pass through to Hyde. His effort was returned back to Hodges via a McDonald save although he was narrowly unable to control in time to be able to place the ball into the open goal.
From an attack at the opposite end the Cards defence were able to clear out to Hodges who advanced forward in the middle of the park. Having averted two challenges Hodges was then felled by Spillane but managed to recover his footing and pass to Collier on the overlap on the left. Sensing the danger again McDonaldâ€™s mobility was able to crowd out Collier and prevent any shot reaching the goal.
Hodges continued to impose his influence on the game as he again collected and dribbled forwards. This time he laid off to Hyde who had gained some space. On this occasion it looked as though McDonald would have too much ground to make up and as such Hyde opted for the lob. Unfortunately his connection was not as he would have hoped and the attempt comfortably sailed over into the Leslie Gosden Stand.
As the fourth official signalled the final few minutes of additional time Woking attempted to make their last efforts count. Collier delivered an accurate cross deep to the back post. Under pressure from Swaine, Hyde timed his jump to get a header on the cross first. However his redirection was sent agonisingly wide of the post. With the final phase of play McDonald sliced a clearance which fell to Makoma. He quickly found Loza who in turn looked to shoot early. However his placed shot was too tame to trouble McDonald. As the Chelmsford goalkeeper collected the attempt referee Blake signalled the end of the game and a point a piece for both sides.
Woking now take another break from league action to take on league rivals Welling United in the 4th qualification round of the FA Cup next Saturday at Kingfield. The reward on offer is a place in the first round proper with the addition of league clubs entering at that stage. The Cards will be hoping to capitalise on a third straight home tie in front of their passionate and loyal supporters.
1 Craig Ross, 2 Ian Gayle, 3 Josh Casey, 4 Jack Cook, 5 Ben Gerring, 6 Nathan Collier, 7 Nicky Wheeler (16 Paul Hodges 60â€™), 8 Donovan Makoma, 9 Jake Hyde, 10 Max Kretzschmar, 11 Jamar Loza
12 Duane Ofori-Acheampong, 14 Charlie Hester-Cook, 16 Greg Luer, 18 Berti Schotterl
Gayle 50â€™, Casey 82â€™
1 Nathan McDonald, 3 Elliot Omozusi, 5 Michael Spillane, 6 Rob Swaine, 8 Anthony Church, 13 Joe Anderson, 15 Jordan Chiedozie (11 Tom Wraight 65â€™), 16 Amos Nasha (4 Max Porter 78â€™), 17 Matt Young, 18 Chris Whelpdale, 19 Rhys Murphy
9 Scott Fenwick, 7 Jonny Giles, 10 Jai Reason
Spillane 74â€™, Whelpdale 74â€™, Swaine 84â€™, Wraight 88â€™
1,663 (111 Away Supporters)
Sponsors' Man of the Match: Jamar Loza
. Made a notable impact on his Cards league debut. Should have ensured that the scores were even at half-time but learned from this setback to coolly finish later in the match and earn the Cards a much needed point.