Woking 2 Solihull Moors 3
Vanarama National League
26th March 2022
An unseasonably warm afternoon on the eve of the clocks springing forward greeted a healthy sized crowd as they assembled at the Laithwaite Community Stadium to watch their men do battle under the cloudless Surrey skies. Acting manager Ian Dyer made four changes from the midweek win over Weymouth with Joe McNerney replacing the suspended David Longe-King in defence. Inih Effiong and Max Kretzschmar started instead of George Oakley and Olly Pendlebury, who both dropped to the bench, and Nicke Kabamba came in for Jamar Loza, also amongst the substitutes.
The match itself was end-to-end with plenty of chances for both sides but the enforced reshuffle following Diarra’s departure with injury, with the Cards leading 2-1, gave the Moors an opportunity to exploit the makeshift home defence and allowed them to overturn the deficit to return to the Midlands with all three points and boost their play-off potential.
The visitors kicked off and looked confident playing the ball around nicely as they probed for an opening. It was noticeable from the start that they preferred to play a short passing game from back to front which was good to see and added to the entertainment on offer to the paying public.
Woking were gradually finding their feet and fashioned the first chance when Johnson’s cross from the left was headed back by Effiong to Nwabuokei who volleyed over from barely five yards out.
After a quarter of an hour, Johnson weaving his magic down the left-hand flank, forced the first corner of the match. Max Kretzschmar eventually took this; the ball dropped to McNerney who turned it goalward before Inih Effiong reacted quickest to stab home for his twelfth goal of the season in the sixteenth minute
. The Woking faithful cheered loudly as he was congratulated by his teammates. Three minutes later he had a chance to double the lead with a great driving run into the area, but unfortunately blazed the ball over when well positioned.
Inih Effiong scores the first of his two
The Moors took some time to recover from going behind as both sides continued to create chances in what was turning out to be an excellent advert for football on Non-League Day. On the half-hour mark there was a brief stoppage in play for treatment on the pitch to Kretzschmar with both sides taking advantage in the hiatus for a water break before play continued in the warm sunshine.
There then followed ten minutes of nip and tuck with both sides forcing corners and then Johnson found himself in the referee’s notebook, presumably for a foul.
A minute later the Moors were level; the ball fell to Harry Boyes who hit a half-volley from 20 yards that flew past Craig Ross for the first goal that the Cards had conceded in over 400 minutes of league action
. The Woking players and the home crowd were visibly stunned by this strike and looked nervously towards the clock for the five minutes left, plus one added minute, to get to halftime with no further concessions to keep the scores level.
Half-time: Woking 1 Solihull Moors 1
The second half started with no changes of personnel and the Moors had the first chance when Osbourne took aim and fired from outside the area, but his shot was tipped over the bar by Ross.
Two minutes later the Cards regained the lead. Diarra’s long ball over the top caused confusion in the visitor’s defence and Effiong chased it down to give himself a simple tap-in for his second goal of the game
. Woking had obviously noted that Boot had been reluctant to clear his lines and had expertly exploited this apparent weakness to go back in front after 49 minutes.
Two minutes later he almost claimed the match ball when his volley was parried by Boot wide of the near post. This would have given Woking the breathing space they would require as shortly afterwards Diarra pulled up hamstrung and limped off slowly after treatment on the pitch to be replaced by Loza. This forced the Cards to shuffle their defence with Captain Casey taking the right back position and still 35 minutes left to play.
Just after the hour Effiong made a good run down the left but saw his shot saved. The Moors then broke down their right where for once Barnett got the better of Johnson to deliver a cross into the area which was headed in past Ross by Rooney to restore parity after 62 minutes
. His afternoon ended seven minutes later when he was replaced by the giant Kyle Hudlin up front.
Solihull had forced a corner which was somehow cleared by the defence, but the cracks were beginning to show at the back. They then took the lead for the first time in the match after Osborne’s long throw caused chaos inside the area. Woking failed to clear the danger and the ball fell to Barnett who pounced to fire home on 72 minutes to the delight of those who had made the journey down
The visitors were now well on top and there was an almighty scramble with penalty box ping-pong followed by a rasping shot from the edge of the area by Osborne which was well saved by Ross.
Woking then made their second change with Oakley replacing Kabamba after 78 minutes. Boyes then became the first booking for the visitors after being outfoxed by Kretzschmar’s shoulder drop.
Oakley then chipped the ball in for Effiong, but it was just too long for him to reach. Sbarra was then withdrawn to make way for Reilly as the Moors looked to hold on to their lead. The Cards then produced another chance when the man in the middle waved away claims for a penalty before Johnson’s volley went over the bar. It had been the story of the match where Woking had produced more opportunities then Solihull but not enough of them had been on target.
In the five added minutes there was just time for one more caution when Barnett was booked for tripping the lively Johnson before Roles replaced Ince as the visitors held on to claim the points.
Thus ended Woking’s winning streak but they more than played their part in a contest that was in the balance until the end and, had Diarra not been injured, they would surely have claimed at least a share of the spoils. Up next is a trip to Boreham Wood in front of the BT Sport Cameras next Saturday 2nd April (17:20) followed by a longer journey up North to face Halifax Town on the 9th April. The Cards Trust have been given a generous donation for this game with coach travel costing just £10.
13 Craig Ross, 3 Josh Casey ©, 4 Tom Champion, 5 Joe McNerney, 6 Moussa Diarra (7 Jamar Loza 55’), 8 Solomon Nwabuokei, 9 Inih Effiong, 10 Max Kretzschmar, 11 Tyreke Johnson, 18 Nicke Kabamba (14 George Oakley 78’), 24 Rohan Ince (20 Jack Roles 90’)
17 Tarryn Allarakhia, 27 Oliver Pendlebury
Solihull Moors (4-4-2):
1 Ryan Boot, 2 James Clarke, 5 Callum Howe, 7 Joe Sbarra (15 Callum Reilly 83’), 8 Callum Maycock, 9 Adam Rooney (27 Kyle Huddin 69’), 10 James Osborne, 11 Ryan Barnett, 14 Harry Boyes, 19 Andrew Dallas, 25 Lois Maynard
3 Jordan Cranston, 6 Alex Grudger, 21 Tom Allsopp
Boyes 40’, Rooney 62’, Barnett 72’
Boyes 81’, Barnett 90+2’
2198 (82 away)
Man of the Match:
As chosen by Seymours
our match Sponsors, Inih Effiong
who scored both of Woking’s goals and was a whisker away from a hat-trick on several occasions
Thank you to our Match Sponsor Seymours
and our Match Ball Sponsor Hepworth Brewery
You can check out Seymours here
’s range of beers here