Woking News & Mail

Cards left to rue missed chances and have to settle for a point

Justin Burns
12:00am, Tue 9th Mar 2021
Woking 0 Boreham Wood 0
Vanarama National League
Tuesday, 9th March 2021

Woking put in another positive display at the Laithwaite Community Stadium last night, but after squandering four clear-cut chances, had to settle for a point against play-off chasing Boreham Wood in an entertaining goalless draw, who had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping them level.

Dowse made one change to the starting side that comfortably beat Kings Lynn 3-0 on Saturday, with Ben Dempsey coming in for Kane Ferdinand in central midfield, while Tommy Block was also a substitute in place of Mark Smith. Captaining Boreham Wood was former Woking player Mark Ricketts, now 36, who played more than 270 games for Cards from 2009 to 2016.

Buoyed by their comfortable win over on Saturday, Woking started on the front foot and nearly made a dream start to the game in the 2nd minute, when Max Kretzschmar had a shot blocked near the goal line after the ball fell to him in the penalty box from a tantalising in-swinging corner by Sam Ashford from the right.

Led by the rampaging Jamar Loza, fresh from his scintillating showing at the weekend, they nearly took the in the 10th minute lead when the forward made powerful run from the halfway line, but his left-foot shot was well saved low down by Nathan Ashmore in the visitor’s goal.

The away side finally got an attack together in the 11th minute, when Corey Whitely slalomed into the penalty area from the left, but it was well defended before he could pull the trigger. Soon after, Loza made another surging run down the left and played in a low cross from the byline, but a sliding Ashford just failed to connect a few yards out and give Woking the lead.

In the 18th minute, the Cards should have taken the lead through Loza, when he found space and latched onto a high through ball by Dempsey, but failed to beat Ashmore in a one-on-one as his tame right footed effort was well saved. Loza was kicking himself, as it was a great opportunity and he would have expected to finish it after his recent strong showing in front of goal, but his effort lacked conviction.

Boreham Wood’s Marsh then had a half chance in the 22nd minute but hit a volley into the stands after a free kick was headed into his path, as the away side struggled to carve out any good opportunities and Woking’s defence was well marshalled by Ben Gerring.

A Kretzschmar cross from the right then nearly fell in from the right touchline before in the 29th minute Charlie Cooper, was recklessly taken out in the central midfield by Gus Mafuta whose studs were high and the Boreham Wood midfielder was booked for the challenge.

The first 30 minutes of game was a lively, tightly-fought contest with battles across central midfield and no team in complete control, but at this stage it seemed there was no way it would remain goalless as it was fairly open.

Whitely, the away side’s most lively player in attack throughout, then went on a run a few minutes before half-time but his low shot from range failed to find the target.

The last chance of the half fell to Woking, when Jack Cook sent in a powerful cross from the right after a driving run that was well cleared for a corner. From Ashford’s corner, Gerring nearly got on the end of it to make it 1-0 and a second corner from the other side by Cooper was then cleared in a packed penalty area.

The competitive game lacked clear openings towards the end of the half as both teams defended well, but the Cards had much the better of the chances, notably through Loza’s effort, and were hoping they would not be left to rue that golden opportunity.

Half-time: Woking 0 Boreham Wood 0

The second half started much like the 1st period with plenty of competitive challenges in midfield. A few minutes into the half, Muir was pulled back on the right just outside the penalty area, and from the free-kick, Cooper whipped in a dangerous ball but it was superbly claimed at the near post under the bar by the impressive Ashmore.

The pacey Boreham Wood forward Kabongo Tshimanga, who has scored 11 goals this season then ghosted past Diarra into the penalty box after finding some space, but failed to pass to a team-mate and it was well cleared by the Cards’ well-drilled defence.

Loza then missed his second golden 1-on-1 chance of the game in the 53rd minute and he seemed certain to break the deadlock, when he was put through by a neat flick by Muir after his pace took him clear of the defence, but his left foot effort lacked power and Ashmore was able to touch it wide of the right-hand post.

Gerring was then booked in the 57th minute for a crunching challenge on Marsh that got the Boreham Wood bench up in arms. It was an entertaining 0-0 to this point and a goal seemed certain to arrive. Tshimanga then claimed he was tripped on the hour mark and called for a penalty, but the referee waved play on and awarded a goal kick, much to the forward’s dismay.

Woking continued to drive forward and Ashford cleverly won a free kick after being taken out by Stephens on the by-line after flicking it over him. From the resulting free-kick in the 71st minute, Ashford floated over a lovely ball to the back post, but Gerring couldn’t keep his header down and nodded narrowly over the bar from eight or so yards out. Another great chance for the Cards, who you felt as the game wore on, were going to regret being wasteful in front of goal.

In the 73rd minute, Dowse made his first change of the game as he searched for a goal, taking off Muir and bringing on Wareham up front. Cooper was then booked in the 79th minute for a midfield lunge as he broke up a counter-attack, bringing down Whitely, as he looked like he was breaking away near the halfway line.

A second change was made by Woking in the 81st minute as Matt Jarvis came on for the impressive Ashford, who had shown some nice touches and set-piece deliveries throughout the game.

Wareham then nearly made it 1-0 in the 83rd minute as his acrobatic effort from a Cook ball in from the right looked was superbly saved by Ashmore, who tipped the effort over the bar before Cook then headed wide from the resulting Cooper corner.

Woking nearly won it at the death, which they would have fully deserved, when Cooper whipped in a free-kick from the left and the unmarked Diarra headed over by the bar from seven or 8 eight yards out, when it looked easier to score. The effort summed up the Cards’ luck in front of goal, but the towering centre back would have expected to find the target.

A flurry of long balls was the last action of the game that the Cards will feel they should have won and taken all three points from, as they created some great chances, notably twice through Loza, and headers from Gerring and Diarra. On another day they could have been two or three up, but it was one of those evenings.

However, it was another positive display after the win over Kings Lynn and with games in hand, and with the National League so congested and unpredictable, if Woking can get on good run, they could still make the play-offs. The new signings up front have given them a boost in the final third of the pitch, while they look more secure at the back with Gerring and Diarra as the centre back pairing and it all bodes well for an end of season charge, when the games come thick and fast.

The goalless draw leaves Woking delicately poised in 18th place in the National League, only eight points from a play-off spot, but just seven points above the relegation zone. The Cards next game is a trip to the West Country on Saturday afternoon when they visit mid-table Yeovil Town, who sit in 13th place.

Woking: 13 Craig Ross ©, 2 Jack Cook, 16 Kyran Lofthouse, 5 Ben Gerring, 6 Moussa Diarra, 4 Charlie Cooper, 18 Ben Dempsey, 10 Max Kretzschmar, 26 Jamar Loza, 25 Sam Ashford (11 Matt Jarvis 81’), 19 Niko Muir (23 Jayden Wareham 73’)

Unused subs: 21 Tommy Block, 3 Josh Casey, 20 Malachi Napa

Booked: Cooper, Gerring, Ashford, Kretzschmar

Boreham Wood: 1 Nathan Ashmore, 6 David Stephens, 12 Jamal Fyfield, 3 Femi Ilesanmi, 19 Kane Smith, 10 Kieran Murtagh, 4 Mark Ricketts ©, 11 Corey Whitely, 8 Gus Mafuta (16 Zaine Francis-Angolat 68'), 23 Tyrone March (18 Shaquile Coulthirst 68’), 9 Kabongo Tshimanga

Unused Subs: 14 Krystian Pearce, 15 Matt Rhead, 22 Junior Morias

Booked: Mafuta

Referee: Alan Dale

Attendance: behind closed doors

Man of the Match: Ben Gerring – colossal performance at centre back keeping the dangerous Tshimanga relatively quiet and also nearly won it with two towering headers at the other end of the pitch

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