3:54pm, Sun 13th Mar 2022
Woking 1 Maidenhead United 0
Vanarama National League
12th March 2022
Ian Dyer marked his first home game as caretaker manager with a long-awaited three points courtesy of a superb 94th minute strike from substitute Nicke Kabamba after some excellent work from fellow substitute George Oakley. The fact that the goal was greeted like a Cup-final winner by the bench and fans showed how much it meant to both parties, perhaps for slightly different reasons. The goal lit up a game which was otherwise largely devoid of interest apart from a promising ten to fifteen-minute spell from the Cards in the first half which, unfortunately, turned out not to be a foretaste of what was to follow.
On a bright, breezy afternoon players and fans began with a minute’s applause to salute the bravery shown by the citizens of Ukraine in their fight against the senseless, unprovoked Russian invasion of their country.
The Cards made two changes from the starting line-up from their 0-0 midweek draw at Kings Lynn, with Rohan Ince returning from suspension and Jamar Loza getting the nod. Oliver Pendlebury and Kabamba dropped to the bench. The Magpies included three former Cards in the shape of Kane Ferdinand, Manny Parry and Shaun Donnellan.
The visitors looked more cohesive in the first ten minutes or so, although no chances were created at either end. But the Cards then sprang to life and put Maidenhead under sustained concerted pressure. Moussa Diarra had a header cleared off the line. Visiting keeper Nathan Ashmore then failed to collect a high ball before it was cleared. More attacks, corners and shots followed, with efforts by Max Kretzschmar, Ince, Loza and Inih Effiong all blocked by a defence ably marshalled by the experienced Allan Massey.
However, a quick break at the other end almost caught the Cards out. A header fell to the hard-working Josh Kelly, who poked the ball just wide under pressure from David Longe-King.
Shortly afterwards Effiong saw a similar poked effort go narrowly wide of the target after some good work by Josh Casey and Ince had created the opening. Another opportunity was missed in the 24th minute when Tyreke Johnson headed Casey’s cross over the bar.
That was about as good as it got in terms of chances created in the first half. The game turned into something of a stalemate with both sides guilty of wasting free-kicks and putting in poor crosses. About the only real goal threat came just before half-time when Parry headed a free-kick over the bar.
Half-time: Woking 0 Maidenhead United 0
As in the first half, Woking started pretty slowly after the break and the game continued to be a fairly dull affair, with virtually no chances created. Indeed, it’s hard to remember either keeper having a save to make the whole game, with activity being limited to a few catches and punches.
It was no surprise to see Ian Dyer bring on two substitutes in the 70th minute, with Kabamba replacing Johnson and Oakley replacing Effiong, who had worked hard but with fairly limited service. The changes did seem to give the Cards a bit of a lift, with Oakley appearing to find some space to the right. A shooting chance opened up for Solomon Nwabuokei but he seemed reluctant to take it. Long-Kinge’s header looked to have created a chance for Kretzschmar but he couldn’t take advantage and the offside flag was raised anyway.
As the minutes ticked away, it looked more and more as though it would be another 0-0 draw. Both sides fired in crosses but without much threat. A long ball appeared to catch out the Magpies’ defence, leaving Kretzschmar goalside but the ball somehow bounced up and Ashmore collected.
And, then, deep into the four minutes of added time Kretzschmar managed to find Oakley in the left channel. Holding off defenders, he played a smart ball crossfield to Kabamba. Neatly shimmying round a defender, he advanced into the right of the box and fired a superb shot into the far corner for his first Woking goal.
Kabamba ends his drought with late winner
Once all the lengthy celebrations had finally finished, the Cards had only to see out a corner and a short passage of play before they could rejoice in three points gained for the first time in ten league games.
It wasn’t a great spectacle but Ian Dyer will no doubt take some justified satisfaction in gaining a win at last to add to the draw he secured in his first game in charge, neither of which saw Woking concede a goal. The side looked more balanced with four at the back and, at times in the first half, looked more threatening down the flanks, with Johnson’s and Loza’s pace.
The win takes the Cards to 16th place in the table, 15 points clear of the relegation places.
13 Craig Ross, 3 Josh Casey, 6 Moussa Diarra, 4 Tom Champion, 22 David Longe-King, Max Kretzschmar, 8 Solomon Nwabuokei, 24 Rohan Ince, 7 Jamar Loza, 9 Inih Effiong (14 George Oakley 71’), 11 Tyreke Johnson (18 Nicke Kabamba 71’)
16 Louie Annesley, 20 Jack Roles, 27 Oliver Pendlebury
1 Nathan Ashmore, 5 Manny Parry, 6 Remy Clerima, 8 Shaun Donnellan, 10 Kane Ferdinand (11 Dan Sparkes 52), 15 Sam Beckwith, 16 Ryheem Sheckleford, 18 Emile Acquah (20 Shawn McCoulsky), 19 Ryan Upward, 22 Josh Kelly, 24 Alan Massey
9 Nathan Blissett, 17 Reece Smith, 27 Charlee Adams
Parry, Clerima, Sheckleford
2,188 (130 away fans)
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