Woking News & Mail

Jamar puts on a show

Brian Caffarey
6:43pm, Sat 6th Mar 2021
Woking 3 Kings Lynn Town 0
Vanarama National League
6 March 2021

The Cards went into this game hoping to put an end to a poor run of league results, which had seen them win only one of their last nine National League games, including a run of four games at home in which they had scored only one goal. In an attempt to inject some more firepower, Dowse had brought two strikers in on loan during the week – Sam Ashford from Crawley Town and Niko Muir from Hampton and Richmond Borough – and both were given their debuts. The change paid off handsomely, with Ashford giving the Cards a first-half lead, which provided the platform for Jamar Loza (pictured) to then put on a show, as his quick feet and ability to slalom past defenders, provided a crucial cutting edge. Loza added the second late on after good work from substitute Jayden Wareham, and there was still time for Ben Gerring to poach a third goal from close range.

Dowse made two more changes from Tuesday’s starting line-up in the disappointing defeat at Altrincham, with Charlie Cooper and Max Kretzschmar returning in midfield in place of Ben Dempsey and Tommy Block. Kings Lynn had furloughed several players, including their top two strikers, but were still able to field a side which included the experienced Michael Gash and Alex Kiwomya in attack and made Woking work hard for their victory.

After a fairly harum-scarum opening in which Ashford nevertheless impressed immediately with his ability to win balls in the air and bring in his new team mates, the away side began to look threatening, with some fluid attacking moves. Kiwomya’s pace, in particular, caused problems out on the right flank, while Carr and Mitchell moved the ball sweetly through midfield. The Linnets went close in the 11th minute after Kiwomya had taken the ball down adroitly and put in a searching cross which just eluded Mitchell. The pressure ramped up as Ross palmed one effort away and Gash then headed against the bar, with Diarra putting in a great block to foil the follow-up.

Woking responded, initially, with a decent effort from Muir, which the Linnets keeper had to be alert to smother and then grab at the second attempt. But the Linnets attacked again, with two more shots blocked and a 30-yard Denton effort whistling past Ross’s post.

The turning point came in the 28th minute after some fine attacking play from Loza and Kretzshmar down the left had temporarily broken down, only for Loza to fire in a lovely cross from the opposite flank. Ashford, slightly hanging back from the defenders, headed down clinically back across the keeper to put the Cards 1-0 up.

The goal visibly lifted the Cards, with Loza now seemingly everywhere, winning tackles, slipping past defenders and getting in some fine crosses, from one of which Muir flicked wide. The highlight, though, came shortly before half-time as, in a brilliant move, he jinked into the area, turning past defenders and firing just past the far post.

Half-time: Woking 1 Kings Lynn Town 0

The visitors started the second half strongly, with Ross immediately having to foil a Fleming effort and Gash having a shot blocked. But Woking’s harrying seemed to regain them the initiative. A second interception as the Linnets tried to play out of defence almost produced a repeat of Loza’s marvellous strike against Torquay but the post prevented his left-footed effort from adding to the Cards’ lead.

It really ought to have been 2-0 in the 65th minute. Gerring’s header hit the bar and Wareham, on as a substitute, nodded the ball back goalwards. It seemed pretty clear from the streaming pictures that the ball had crossed the line before being hacked clear but the linesman didn’t agree and the referee was not in a position, presumably, to make the call himself.

The Cards continued to press: at one point, taking four corners in succession as Ashford showed his prowess in swinging in balls from the left.

But the Linnets were far from out of the game at this stage and might well have equalised in the 68th minute. Woking looked as though they had been caught out by a short corner. The resulting shot was mis-hit but when the ball came back in the Linnets ought to have capitalised instead of heading over the bar.

It was noticeable that the Cards didn’t try to sit on a one-goal lead but continued to attack whenever the opportunity arose. Diarra – as influential as ever in defence, but also in attacking set plays – won a couple of headers in Kings Lynn’s area and then he and Ferdinand both had shots blocked.

Woking finally gained some breathing space in the 80th minute. The ever-willing Wareham chased down a ball on the right flank, forcing the defender to slip. He then cut the ball back coolly – and, more importantly, accurately – to Loza, who had the relatively simple task of side-footing the ball home before two defenders could intervene. It was a goal which Loza’s performance thoroughly deserved and one which he clearly enjoyed.

However, his decisive contribution to the match wasn’t over yet. Just before the end of full-time his quick feet drew a foul to the left of the area. Cooper’s free-kick arrowed in on goal; the keeper saved; and Wareham shot, with the ball then being turned in by Gerring to make the scoreline a perhaps slightly flattering 3-0.

The visitors pressed for a consolation goal but substitute Gyasi’s efforts were blocked and another free-kick cannoned into the Woking wall.

This was a very welcome and well-deserved win, coming after a poor midweek performance which had somewhat taken the gloss off the Cards’ defeat of Torquay in the FA Trophy and the away win at Barnet. Dowse will have been delighted with the contribution of Ashford in particular and the further vindication of his decision to bring Loza back to the Club. But it was also a good all-round team performance, with the defence again looking pretty solid. Boreham Wood are likely to provide an even stiffer test on Tuesday.

Woking: Craig Ross, Jack Cook, Ben Gerring, Moussa Diarra, Kyron Lofthouse, Jamar Loza, Charlie Cooper, Kane Ferdinand, Max Kretzschmar, Sam Ashford (Malachi Napa 79), Niko Muir (Jayden Wareham 63)

Unused subs: Mark Smith, Josh Casey, Matt Jarvis

Goals: Sam Ashford 28, Jamar Loza 81, Ben Gerring 90

Booked: Kane Ferdinand, Max Kretzschmar

Kings Lynn Town: Mair, Callan-McFadden, Smith, Richards (Gyasi 82), Gash, Fleming, King (Clunan 46), Mitchell, Kiwomya (Jarvis 71), Carey, Denton

Unused sub: Bastock

My MOTM – has to be Jamar Loza!

Referee: Tom Reeves

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