Cards suffer defeat at Bromley

Haydn Cobb
10:34pm, Sat 20th Feb 2016
Bromley 2 Woking 1
February 20th 2016
Vanarama National League

Woking slipped to a second straight defeat in the Vanarama National League to see their play-off hopes take another dent, after John Goddard’s opener was trumped by a Moses Emmanuel penalty and an Adam Cunnington strike to hand Bromley victory.

Garry Hill’s side made a blistering start to the game by going ahead inside ten minutes as Goddard latched on to a Joe Quigley knockdown. Despite the bright start, an injury to new signing Sam Smith midway through the first half, coupled with ex-Card Emmanuel’s penalty, saw momentum swing to the home team in a frantic opening period.

Former Woking loanee Cunnington then latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the penalty box to slam home and despite a spirited fightback by the Cards, now a striker light, they couldn’t crack the Bromley defence.

The result sees Woking drop a place to 11th in the league and five points off the final play-off spot held by Gateshead. The team's attention now turns to a double-header against Grimsby Town, firstly in the league on Tuesday night before returning to Blundell Park for the FA Trophy quarter-final tie at the weekend.

After a disappointing home defeat to Guiseley AFC last weekend manager Garry Hill rang the changes with four switches. Brain Saah and Chris Arthur returned in defence, with Bruno Andrade’s impressive cameo last weekend giving him a starting role in midfield and new signing Sam Smith from Brackley Town coming straight in to join Joe Quigley in attack.

Woking, in their yellow away kit, started brightly and grabbed the initiative with a goal after six minutes. Andrade dribbled unopposed into the Bromley half and passed to Caprice whose tempting cross from the right wing saw Quigley rise highest to head the ball down to Goddard who slammed home from six yards for his 15th goal of the season.

In the early stages, Bromley looked very much a side who had lost four consecutive league matches coming into this fixture with ex-Card Moses Emmanuel, formerly Ademola, leading the home side’s attack.

Garry Hill’s game plan needed an early change for the second game running when new signing Smith hobbled off with a groin injury after 20 minutes, with Keiran Murtagh coming on as his replacement. The change marked a swing in momentum as Bromley went close through Lee Minshull, whose long range effort was pushed away for a corner by Jake Cole (pictured).

The resulting corner swung dangerously towards the goalmouth and glanced off the crossbar and three minutes later Bromley grabbed their equaliser in slightly fortunate circumstances. With Cameron Norman attempting to clear the ball while on the floor, a ricochet pushed it into the path of a Bromley attacker who was bundled over.

The referee pointed to the penalty spot, much to the exasperation of Norman, and Emmanuel duly slotted the ball into the bottom-left corner having sent Cole the wrong way.

Despite their positive start, Woking were caught on the back foot and went behind on the half-hour mark through another former Cards player, Adam Cunnington. Emmanuel pinched the ball off Woking on the edge of the box and the ball fell kindly to Cunnington who lashed home with a powerful right foot strike before celebrating with new Bromley manager and another ex-Cards star Neil Smith.

The travelling side continued to pose a threat at the other end with Quigley clipping the crossbar with a cute chip from the edge of the area but it was the home side who enjoyed the more sustained pressure when in possession.

Woking were able to weather a couple of good chances for Bromley, with Cole making a smart save when Emmanuel sprinted through one-on-one. Overall, facing the elements and plenty of home pressure, the Cards were relieved to reach the interval just one goal behind.

Half-time: Bromley 2 Woking 1

With a chance to sit down and reorganise, Hill’s team started the second period in a more positive fashion and went close to equalising after smart work on the left found Quigley, whose snapshot produced a fine save from Alan Julian.

Substitute Murtagh was then inches away from connecting with a teasing Goddard cross but the ball skipped away on the greasy surface and out for a throw-in. At the other end, Emmanuel remained a constant thorn in Woking’s side but Norman kept him under close scrutiny.

There was more pain for Woking as an injury to centre back Brain Saah saw the central defender limp off with a hamstring problem, to be replaced by Joey Jones. Murtagh again went close to scoring after a goalmouth scramble but the Woking midfielder’s effort was blocked by Rob Swaine.

Woking goalkeeper Cole was again called into action by another one-on-one with Emmanuel, but the Cards stopper was up to the task and stood tall to claw away the striker’s effort, effectively keeping Woking in the contest with 15 minutes remaining.

The Ravens seemed content with their one goal advantage in the closing stages and began to drop back, happy to threaten on the counterattack only. The extra space in the middle of the pitch allowed Woking to impose their passing game but they struggled to find that telling final delivery to carve open the Bromley defence.

Nevertheless, Goddard thought he’d grabbed a point for his team with a brilliant right-footed long range effort but he was denied by a fingertip save from Julian. With the Bromley defence remaining resilient during added-on time, Woking were resigned to their second straight defeat as their play-off hopes continue to recede.

Woking: Jake Cole, Chris Arthur, Brain Saah (Joey Jones 71), Cameron Norman, Jake Caprice, John Goddard, Matt Robinson (Alex Smith 71), Mark Ricketts (c), Bruno Andrade, Joe Quigley, Sam Smith (Keiran Murtagh 20)

Unused subs: Nick Hamann, Scott Griffiths

Goal: Goddard (6)

Bromley: Alan Julian, Joe Anderson, Rob Swaine, Sean Francis, Jack Holland, Adam Coombes, Ali Fuselini, Lee Minshull, Rodell Gordon, Adam Cunnington (Ben May 79), Moses Emmanuel (Bradley Goldberg 87)

Unused subs: Reise Allassani, Pierre Joseph-Dubois, Paul Rodgers

Goals: Emmanuel 24 (pen), Cunnington 30

Yellow Card: Minshull 62

My MOTM: Jake Cole – the Woking stopper made a string of excellent saves to keep his team in with a shout until the very end

Attendance: 1,227

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