Wood Too Good Despite Cards Fight

Ray Avards
12:00am, Fri 24th Nov 2017
Boreham Wood 2 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
25th November 2017

On a bright but briskly cold afternoon in Hertfordshire, the Cards faced what proved one of their stiffest examinations of a season so far, that has included Football league Bury in the FA Cup.

Woking made two changes from the winning side against Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night, bringing in Joey Jones as holding midfielder in behind Chez Isaac and Kane Ferdinand, in place of Charlie Carter and his advanced role and Jamie Philpot for Regan Charles-Cook, wide right.

The Wood pressed Woking from the kick off and there was little respite throughout a first half in which the visitors struggled to create a chance at all. Jones was kept busy from the off and he had to get a foot in on the edge of the area, with vain appeals for a back pass to Sam Mason. Blair Turgot, in a free role for the home side, had his shot blocked on the edge of the area from a Bruno Andrade free kick. Keiran Murtagh headed on for Dan Holman to get in first and slide the ball past Mason, only for Nathan Ralph to somehow keep the ball out with a sliding stop.

A bizarre moment on the halfway line saw the ball go out for a Woking throw in, only for home manager Luke Garrard to cling onto the ball and have it wrestled from him by Young, only for another Wood backroom staffer to get involved physically and be sent from the dugout. This incident raised the temperature on and off the pitch at the time, but this game was played in a fair but competitive spirit throughout. If only the young Cards could also have matched the home side’s pace and power on the day; in fact they found themselves pressed and hurried on the ball most of the match and could not create any pattern of play.

A Ricketts shot was deflected just wide after Shakes had set up Andrade to lay on the ball. An Andrade free kick was over hit and went out for a throw in. A Wells free kick was headed behind for a corner. However, the ultimate price was paid when Tom Champion had time and space to head home a resulting corner from the edge of the six yard box for 1-0.

The home side swarmed forward with renewed energy. Yet another free kick was given away wide on the left only to be swung over by left back Wells and out for a goal kick.

Woking were finding it impossible to get out of their half, let alone launch an attack. Philpot switched wings with Joe Ward as they struggled to impose themselves, without the ball carrying Charles-Cook.

Chez Isaac played the ball back under pressure, and it was lost and Turgot found room to cross for Holman sliding in yards out, without making enough contact and for the Woking defence to scuff the ball away.

An isolated free kick won in the home side’s half was played in high by Ralph to be easily collected by keeper Smith. Another ball in was flicked on and Effiong clashed with the keeper as the ball ran out for a goal kick, leading to a needless altercation over a simple 50/50 clash.

Back came Wood and Ralph steered a header across his own penalty area from another Wells and free kick. Worse, Holman was set up by Turgot’s escape clear on the left again and the away goal survived only through a double ricochet, because the striker could not get a clean enough contact. Another flick , this time by Shakes and Holman could not quite connect with the ball on the slide again.

Mason was relieved to simply slide out to the edge of his area and gather in a right wing raid. Turgot went down in the area almost immediately after but referee Quelch was strict and had none of it.

Matt Young performed even greater heroics than Ralph’s earlier goal saving stop when he threw himself in the way of an Andrade shot and was struck the back from around the penalty spot, but the winger was flagged off side.

Half Time Boreham Wood 1 Woking 0

Woking came out for the second half determined to get on the front foot and probed the home side, especially with Ralph pressing from left back. Joey renewed his efforts on the ground and in the air to try to wrest possession and create a platform in front of his defence for the Cards where the play was happening, in Woking’s first third. They did not break through and a lull in play, as Mark Ricketts received several minutes’ treatment reversed the pattern, as Wood took charge again.

Champion spurned a chance from a free kick, given away by Wynter on Holman. Andrade twice hit the defensive wall through a free kick and a rebound, on the right. Kane Smith, from right back, exchanged superbly with Andrade to run inside and open up the whole goal, only for Mason to save superbly. Huge pressure resulted and with the ball flicked across the goal area Holman was one on one with Mason, but the young keeper saved superbly. Richard Orlu tried to get the rebound clear but Wood retained possession and worked back out to the right this time for Smith to drive his pass across the goal area.

Anthony Limbrick made his first change, Charlie Carter on for Chez Isaac, but it could not stem the tide and yet another free kick was swung in over the penalty spot, but Mason collected. Amidst this pressure the referee decided in favour of a linesman’s decision that Philpot had caught the ball over the touchline whilst still in play to the consternation of the Cards and management. It did seem an attempt to even up the score for the earlier technical sending off, a basketball sub-plot that probably affected Cards’ captain Orlu also. He subsequently got booked for dissent; costly, should it be the case, he misses next week’s FA Cup second round.

Louis Ramsey, returning to replace the hard working and committed Matt Young at right back, aided Woking as Ralph motored down the left and set up Philpot’s cross that Inih Effiong could not quite bring down to get a shot in. At least the Cards were on the counter attack when they could now. Ralph got away again and crossed but no Woking head could get on it and Ramsey’s return effort was blocked at birth.

Boreham Wood were making changes now. Balanta replaced the elusive Turgot and a little later Shaun Jeffers, a short term loanee at Woking in the past, came on for Holman. Garrard showing his strong hand by use of his bench. Woking broke down the right and Carter so nearly found Effiong, his high pass stopped by vital headed interception. Philpott’s pass back under pressure, exposed the Cards backline and Andrade was round Orlu , only to blaze his open goal chance way over the bar.

A passage of possession by the home side pinned the cards back and they could not get the ball back. Play was switched from wing to wing, ending in Andrade weaving along the goal line and going down under pressure from Orlu. No penalty!

Kane Ferdinand slotted back into defence to allow Jordan Wynter to reinforce midfield , a sign that the workload had been high in the engine room. Then Fabio Saraiva joined the action for Joe Ward and almost immediately set up a free kick for Wynter to head wide of the far post.

Then disaster, Effiong coming back to receive laid the ball off with a heavier touch and once Orlu was played into trouble Andrade was round him to the left and in, to score low past Mason.

Jeffers found a big hole in the inside right channel of the visitors’ rearguard and hammered his effort into the side netting. A final home replacement was Paul Benson, the ex-Dagger, for Andrade.

Four minutes were added and in that time, Jones found Philpott raiding on the left. When he swung in his cross Inih Effiong controlled instantly and rifled his shot from the edge of the area into the bottom half of the net.

Woking found what energy they could and drove forward. Ramsey combined with Jones on the right, but they could not create a telling cross. Too soon now, the game was over.

Boreham Wood: Grant Smith, Kane Smith, Tom Champion, David Stephens, Dean Wells, Mark Ricketts, Keiran Murtagh, Blair Turgot (Angelo Balanta 69), Bruno Andrade (Paul Benson 90), Dan Holman (Shaun Jeffers 76), Ricky Shakes

Subs unused: Erbil Bozkurt, Danny Woodards.

Goals: Champion 22 Andrade 82

Booked: Andrade

Woking: Sam Mason, Matt Young (Louis Ramsey 66), Richard Orlu, Jordan Wynter, Nathan Ralph, Joey Jones, Chez Isaac (Charlie Carter 59), Kane Ferdinand, Jamie Philpott, Inih Effiong, Joe Ward (Fabio Saraiva 81).

Unused Subs: Nathan Baxter, Daclan Appau.

Goal: Effiong 90

Booked: Orlu

Referee:Adrian Quelch

Attendance: 543

MotM: Sam Mason made two or three outstanding saves and Nathan Ralph’s goal saving other moves stood out, but for me, Joey Jones battled throughout the game to stem the home tide.

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