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Cards bag the points

Brian Caffarey
9:19pm, Mon 3rd Jan 2011
Woking 3 Boreham Wood 0
3 January 2011

The Cards made slightly heavy weather of disposing of bottom-of-the-table Boreham Wood this afternoon, failing to capitalise on a superb opening goal in 50 seconds, scored by Sam Hurrell. Elvis Hammond’s penalty miss in the 17th minute briefly looked as though it might prove costly as the visitors came back into the game but two ‘soft’ goals in the second half, from Craig Faulconbridge and Dave Gilroy, wrapped up the much-needed points. The Cards move up to 10th spot but are still seven points adrift of the play-off positions.

On a grey, chilly afternoon Graham Baker rang a few changes from the side that drew 1-1 at Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday. Reiss Noel, one of several 'flu' victims, was replaced by Alan Inns in the back three, with Aswad Thomas out left and Sam Hurrell moving inside to join Lee Sawyer and Joe Keehan in midfield. Craig Faulconbridge started up front with Elvis Hammond.

The Cards made a dream start as Keehan deftly played the ball wide to the rampaging Ricky Anane. The latter’s low driven cross was met perfectly by Sam Hurrell, who side-footed emphatically past the visitors’ keeper. It was Sam’s first goal in a Woking shirt but scored, ironically, against the side for whom he’d netted four goals in his recent loan spell.

With Sawyer continuing to pull the strings, spraying the ball out to Thomas and Anane, it looked as though the floodgates might open. Anane was sent free again on the right by Hurrell. His pass found Hammond but he was caught just as he prepared to shoot. Next it was Faulconbridge stretching to get a boot to another fine Anane cross but the shot went straight to the keeper. The virtual one-way traffic continued as Sawyer fed Thomas, and then Hammond wriggled along the bye line, only to see his cut-back intercepted.

In the 17th minute Sawyer cleverly jinked past several players just inside the area before drawing a foul as he prepared to cross. Hammond stepped up to take the penalty but it was a poor effort, allowing the keeper to deflect it with his feet up and over the bar.

For a while it looked as though the miss would not matter too much as the Cards fashioned more chances, with two efforts – one a header from Thomas and another struck from close range by Inns in the ensuing melee – cleared off the line. Gradually, however, Woking’s momentum waned and the visitors, playing some neat football at times going forward, began to come more into the game. On the half hour mark the lively Danny Green flashed a shot just wide of Andy Little’s far post. In the 40th minute a loose ball from Adam Doyle to Sawyer, who seemed taken by surprise by the pass, was intercepted by Mario Noto, who drove a shot not far over the bar.

The Wood had another chance a few minutes later with Noto’s free-kick being not far off target before, on the stroke of half-time, Green struck an effort across the face of goal.

So, the Cards, having dominated most of the half, headed for the dressing rooms only one goal up, with the visitors perhaps sensing that there was a possible way back into the game.

Half-time: Woking 1 Boreham Wood 0

Woking fans are used to their side getting off to a slow start after the break and today was no exception, with most of the opening spell being played out in the Woking half and several corners gained by Boreham Wood. About the only Woking move of note came when Sawyer took the ball down adroitly, releasing Thomas, whose cross was deflected for a corner. Boreham Wood then threatened as ex-Card Nicky Nicolau looped a hanging cross, which Luke Wilkinson headed wide.

In the 59th minute Graham Baker made a couple of, perhaps unexpected, substitutions, with Sawyer and Hammond giving way to Anson Cousins and Moses Ademola.

Ali Chaaban wasted a chance for the visitors with a poor shot and then the Woking defence had to clear off the line from another effort.

Just as the Woking fans were beginning to become anxious and restless, their fears were eased by a ‘soft’ second goal in the 63rd minute. Joe McNerney flighted a free-kick into the box. Inns got the slightest of touches to it; the ball fell at Faulconbridge’s feet and all he had to do was walk it over the goal line. 2-0 to the Cards.

Ademola had a couple of half-hearted appeals for a penalty as he – too easily – hit the deck in the area, while Thomas’s poor cross was a disappointing end to a swift break out of defence.

Cousins, unexpectedly winning the ball back in the box, had a rush of blood to the head as he skewed a shot wide, with his strikers lamenting his failure to cross it. But he immediately made amends in the 80th minute as he chased down a ball which for anyone without his turn of pace would have been a lost cause. His presence, though, was enough to cause confusion between keeper and defender. When the ball dropped Cousins found himself, almost comically, with his back to the goal and the ball behind him, but Dave Gilroy, only just on as a substitute for Faulconbridge, had the simple task of tapping it into an empty net.

One might have expected, at that point, that the game would peter out to the final whistle but Boreham Wood – all credit to them – had other ideas, causing quite a few headaches for the Woking defence in the closing stages. Doyle was forced to clear clumsily over the bar for a corner before, in injury time, Little was forced to make two exceptional saves. The first was a fine reaction palm-away from a shot. The second was when he foiled Chaaban in a one-on-one after the striker had already appeared to have rounded him.

Woking’s best chance of a fourth goal had arrived three minutes from time when Gilroy narrowly failed to connect with Ademola’s low cross a yard or two in front of the goal line.

So, the Cards gained their expected and much-needed three points even if it wasn’t quite as straightforward as it had looked after 50 seconds on the clock. They will need to be more ruthless, though, against better teams if they are to secure the three-point hauls they need to make up lost ground.

Woking: Andy Little, Ricky Anane, Aswad Thomas, Alan Inns, Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Joe Keehan, Lee Sawyer (Anson Cousins 59), Elvis Hammond (Moses Ademola 59), Craig Faulconbridge (Dave Gilroy 78), Sam Hurrell

Unused subs: Matt Pegler, Josh Watkins

Booked: Adam Doyle, Lee Sawyer

Sponsors’ MOTM (as chosen by Tim Buzaglo): Lee Sawyer (pictured)
Woking fans’ MOTM (as chosen by those texting): Sam Hurrell

Attendance: 1084

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