Maidenhead United 3 Woking 2
Vanarama National League
23rd October 2021
A last-minute header consigned The Cards to their first away league defeat for a month, as Maidenhead grabbed the winner at the death at York Road in a dramatic 5-goal encounter, in front of the BT Sport cameras.
Despite the visitors being in the ascendency for the majority of the first half and in spells of the second, ultimately squandering two leads prior to the winner will be the biggest concern for Dowse’s men.
The line up saw one change from the previous two weeks, with Max Kretzschmar returning to the starting XI in place of Tarryn Allarakhia, who dropped to the bench.
Woking came out the stronger, commanding the first ten minutes playing towards the sizeable travelling support. This positive opening garnered an early penalty appeal for a challenge on Effiong, but was waved away by the man in the middle, Daniel Middleton. A test for the host’s shot stopper Rhys Lovett also came early in the first 5 minutes from a drilled shot by the returning Kretzschmar, resulting in one of numerous corners the visitors had throughout.
All that was profitable came through the hard work and hold up play of Effiong, who won many balls in the air coming from crosses put into the box from the industrious full backs Casey and Lofthouse.
For all of Woking’s attacking, however, the first real goal threat came at the opposite end as The Magpies sent a long ball into box from the right, headed loopingly over Craig Ross by Josh Kelly but clipped the bar then out for goal kick.
Kretzschmar’s endeavours were rewarded in the 25th minute, as his pacey curled free kick met Effiong’s head 6 yards out and was nodded in past the goalkeeper to break the deadlock.
With 7 minutes to half time, rather against the run of play, Sam Barratt found himself with the ball just inside the Woking box and took a shot from nothing, deflected off McNerney, leaving Ross with no chance as it sailed past his right to level the scores.
The equaliser halted the Woking pressure, and the midfield became scrappier with free kicks given away. A final few Maidenhead attacks tested Ross, but he was alert enough to be equal to them, ensuring the visitors went in level at half time.
Half-time: Maidenhead 1 Woking 1
The second half began with a more energised crowd as most home fans were now in the same stand as the Cards’ support, and this livelier atmosphere helped the home side start this half brightly. It didn’t take long however for Woking to get on the front foot and in the 51st minute a series of corners led to firstly Effiong heading goal-wards which deflected out to McNerney who bulleted it into the top net to give the Surrey men the lead once again.
Minutes later came a flash point, as a high through ball for former Woking star Kane Ferdinand drew a foul from the goal scorer McNerney. This led to both players being down for a couple of minutes needing physio attention. Once upright, McNerney saw straight red, deemed to have been the last man preventing the goal scoring opportunity.
The one-man advantage gave the hosts and their fans a renewed vigour, seeing threats come from a myriad of free kicks and corners in the intervening minutes. The Maidenhead goal scorer Barratt proving to be the main catalyst for these. Calls for him to be sent off from the Woking fans were loud, with justification, after he went through late on Kretzschmar in the Woking area. He could count himself lucky being given just a yellow.
Rallying efforts from the visitors saw efforts by Effiong go close, created by Kretzschmar, with powerful runs through the middle from both Ince and Nwabuokei frequently breaking up the midfield and defence.
The pressure from the home side’s full complement told when in the 76th minute their frontman Kelly collected the ball on the edge of area, passed two, struck it with right foot with pace, into the top right corner to equalise
. This second equaliser didn’t deter The Cards’ attack, with a powerful run by Ince, good through ball to Effiong in space, who chased through but was adjudged to foul a defender.
The final minutes saw The Magpies attacking well, drawing saves from Ross. One was pushed out for a corner, from which a ball was whipped into the front post, met by the head of Barratt for his second of the game
, providing further reason for BT Sport to award him Player of The Match.
This defeat will doubtlessly give Dowson further headaches, given the two previous results, whilst losing the impressive McNerney will also call for an unwanted defensive reshuffle. They remain on the road for next week’s league fixture in Somerset versus fellow midtable side Yeovil Town, who they’ll hope to get back to winning ways against.
1 Rhys Lovett, 5 Manny Parry, 6 Remy Clerima, 9 Nathan Blissett (Emile Acquah 83’), 10 Kane Ferdinand, 15 Sam Beckwith (Dan Sparkes 83’), 19 Ryan Upward, 21 Jay Mingi (Reece Smith 69’), 22 Josh Kelly, 24 Alan Massey ©, 25 Sam Barratt
7 Asonganyi, 27 Adams
Barratt 38’, 90’, Kelly 76’
Kelly 15’, Mingi 31’, Barratt 61’, Clerima 87’
13 Craig Ross, 2 Kyran Lofthouse, 3 Josh Casey ©, 4 Tom Champion, 5 Joe McNerney, 6 Moussa Diarra, 8 Solomon Nwabuokei, (Kane Thompson-Sommers, 81’) 9 Inih Effiong, 10 Max Kretzschmar (Jamar Loza, 90’), 19 Tahvon Campbell (Tyreke Johnson, 69’), 24 Rohan Ince
1 Smith, 17 Allarakhia
Effiong 25’, McNerney 50’
Ince 19’, Champion 22’,
Man of the Match: Max Kretzschmar
– an impactful and creative return to the starting XI and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.