Ravens leave Cards with nothing to crow about

John Pearce
12:00am, Tue 4th Oct 2016
Bromley 2 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
4th October 2016

Under a clear sky, with a steady breeze and an early autumnal feel to the night in Hayes Lane, a strong and encouraging start to this key game for Woking gradually evolved into a frustrating, error-strewn performance and a disappointing outcome, with Bromley stealing a last minute winner.

Garry made two changes to the team from that which started at home to Eastleigh on Saturday, with Connor Essam eligible again and Nathan Ralph back from suspension, and Ismail Yakubu and Charlie Carter dropping to the bench. Max Kretzschmar dropped out of the squad, and Jake Caprice, Gozie Ugwu and Zac Ansah remained sidelined with injury. The home side included two former Woking loanees in Joe Anderson and Adam Cunnington, and the familiar face of Alan Julian - ex-Stevenage and other clubs - between the sticks.

Despite kicking into the north wind, Woking made a bright and confident start, and the game seemed barely under way when Fabio Saraiva – advancing centrally in midfield – latched onto a Murtagh pass and unleashed a thunderbolt past Julian into the bottom left corner of the Bromley goal. 0-1 to Woking.

A couple of minutes later, Saraiva shot again in the box from a Matt Tubbs’ knockdown, but this was blocked by a Bromley defender. Woking continued to dominate and control the game for the first 15 minutes and the travelling fans were vocal in their optimism.

However, Bromley gradually began to establish themselves, and Bradley Goldberg had room to shoot in the 15th minute, but the ball sailed well over the bar. The same outcome resulted 10 minutes later, when he found himself in space in the box. Between those two opportunities, Saraiva had a further opportunity to score, from an Essam pass, but blasted the ball to the left of Julian’s post on this occasion.

Bromley won two free kicks in the Woking half in the space of a minute. From the second of these, just outside of the box and slightly to the right of centre, the left foot of Joe Anderson curled the ball in for Turgott to fire it over the Woking goal. A 30th minute free kick by Howe was flicked on by Rob Swaine but there was no power to the final Bromley header on goal.

On 34 minutes, Bromley finally equalized as a ball pushed forward on the right wing was picked up by Oluwatobi Sho-Silva. He progressed to the byline and centred for Blair Turgott to score from about 10 yards out. 1-1. Joey Jones was at fault on this occasion in not anticipating the movement and preventing the cross.

For Woking, Frankie Sutherland played a ball down the right which was collected by Matt Tubbs near the corner. He turned towards the box but could not find a Woking player with his cross.

Sho-Silva again worked his way into a dangerous area. A Bromley shot was blocked; from an Anderson corner on the right was successfully defended. The ball found its way into the Woking net from a close range shot, but the goal was disallowed as Poke had been fouled.

By this time, the Card’s early dominance had effectively evaporated and, as the players went down the tunnel at half-time, the Ravens were on a high and were looking forward to the second half in the more confident frame of mind.

Half-time: Bromley 1 Woking 1

Until the unfortunate denouement to the game, it followed no particular pattern as each of the two sides near the wrong end of the table struggled to gain an edge over the other.

On 48 minutes, Lewis weaved his way towards goal from the right, but he shot harmlessly pass Julian’s left post. A Bromley corner a minute later from Anderson’s left foot was hooked over the Woking goal by Goldberg as Poke pushed out.

Nathan Ralph received the first yellow card of the game as he floored Howe near the halfway line in the 52nd.

A Woking free kick from about 30 yards out, after Sam-Yorke was tripped, was floated in by Saraiva but Jones headed over the bar and was, in any event, offside. The game continued in a somewhat scrappy fashion with weak attempts on goal at each end.

Garry made two substitutions just after the hour in an effort to break the deadlock, bringing on Charlie Carter for Sutherland and Chike Kandi for Tubbs. On 70 minutes, Kandi showed some deft touches in the centre, before touching the ball out to Lewis on the right; he progressed to the byline and crossed, but the ball was cleared for a corner; shortly afterwards, a free kick near the right corner flag led to another unsuccessful corner. In the 75th, the lively Kandi headed over from a Murtagh chip.

Lewis got to the byline again in the 81st minute and put in a beautiful ball, which was defended, and Bromley broke out rapidly, finishing with a shot into the side netting of Woking’s goal to Poke’s left.

As the game moved towards its conclusion, Edgar showed some deft ball skills just outside of the Bromley box, but his ambitious shot sailed over the bar.

Then, in the last minute of normal time, with depressing inevitability, came the winning goal following a Bromley move on the right and a cross into the box. A short range shot was parried away by Poke, only to fall at the feet of Lee Minshull who blasted into the net from a range of 5 yards, triggering a rapturous reception from the home fans. 2-1 to Bromley.

In the final action of the game, another Bromley break was intercepted by Poke as he rushed out of the box to head clear, and was fouled in the process.

(Non-league manager) Steve King was standing behind this reporter at one point, but this was very much a horror story of Woking’s own making. Once again, the defence’s inability to deal effectively with dead ball situations or crosses in general was in evidence, as was the propensity for an extravagant airborne diagonal pass when a series of short passes on the ground would probably have been more effective.

Of the ‘new’ boys’, Sutherland started convincingly in midfield before fading badly, while Tubbs was largely anonymous, through a combination of lack of service and perhaps a shortage of fitness. Edgar and Kandi again showed nice touches coming on as impact players, but with no end product this time. Sam-Yorke struggled gamely with his back to goal, and Murtagh and Lewis generally maintained their good form of late.

Bromley: Alan Julian, Joe Howe, Daniel Johnson, Rob Swaine, Joe Anderson ©, Jordan Higgs (Connor Dymond 83), Reece Prestedge (Lee Minshull 64), Blair Turgott, Bradley Goldberg (Daniel Ajakaiye 83), Adam Cunnington, Oluwatobi Sho-Silva

Subs not used: Jack Holland, Michak Stanic-Stewart

Goals: Turgott (34), Minshull (90)

Bookings: Howe

Woking (4-4-2): Michael Poke, Connor Essam, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Nathan Ralph, Frankie Sutherland (Charlie Carter 62), Fabio Saraiva, Dennon Lewis, Keiran Murtagh ©, Delano Sam-Yorke (Anthony Edgar 73), Matt Tubbs (Chike Kandi 67)

Subs not used: Brandon Hall, Ismail Yakubu

Goals: Saraiva (3)

Bookings: Ralph

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 808

My MOTM: It is not easy to identify a Woking player who distinguished himself on the night. My vote goes to Fabio Saraiva who – apart from his finely-struck goal – often got himself into positions to shoot, displayed confidence and showed again how he is adjusting to the demands of football at this level.

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