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Match Report


Posted Sat 05 Jul 14 at 05:18 AM

United 1
Young 89

Woking 0

ONE moment of real quality on a night when two powerful teams matched each other throughout was to prove decisive and United have now won five games on the trot.

Woking were hoping to extend their own victorious streak to six games and looked a decent side in the first-half, but the Gulls stood firm without ever finding their normal rhythm.

Things definitely improved after the break but both teams had almost settled for the draw when Luke Young had a pop with a long-range free-kick, and his stunning strike on 89 minutes was too much for the visitors to resist.

United manager Chris Hargreaves stuck to the same starting 11 that performed so admirably to win at Grimsby on the weekend. The only change came on the bench, where Courtney Cameron returned from hamstring trouble to replace Daniel Sullivan.

Woking boss Garry Hill opted for one change to the team that defeated Chester 1-0 on Saturday, with Keiran Murtagh coming in for Theo Lewis in midfield. Former Gull Scott Rendell was the name that immediately stood out from the visiting team-sheet.

A frenetic start to the evening told the story of two sides bang in form, as a beautiful autumn sunset descended over the Launa Windows Stadium. A perfect night for football and Martin Rice was soon forced to race off his line and smother the ball after Rendell sneaked in behind the Yellow defence.

United’s brisk passing on the heavily-watered surface then began to take control but there was a clear resilience in the Woking team, and the sort of determination that comes with an unbeaten start to the season.

The Cardinals did have a problem on 12 minutes though, as right-back James Clarke was forced to limp off. Adam Newton was the man introduced a lot earlier than his manager would have expected.

Woking quickly recovered with an incisive move down the middle and a fizzing 25-yard shot from Joey Jones was only a fraction too high. At the other end, a sloppy back-pass almost presented Duane Ofori-Acheampong with a glorious chance but Ross Worner was quickly off his line to hack clear.

The game then slipped into a spell of dominance for two very strong defensive units but the frustrating reality was that Woking were the side more likely to break the shackles, and Jones almost did that with a weaving run that needed a last-ditch challenge from Angus MacDonald.

Rendell was next to have a bash from distance and Rice was beaten as the rasping low drive speared inches wide of the far post. United simply had not started as an attacking force and desperately needed a catalyst.

Instead, Woking continued to win the majority of second-balls, preventing the Gulls from finding a real platform to play their football. A clever pass into the right channel from Dale Tonge briefly changed the pattern, as a darting run from Ryan Bowman again had Worner scampering off his line.

Half-time was the perfect time to reassess the Yellow plan, although the chat very nearly changed when a terrific strike from the dangerous Jones shaved the top left-hand post of United’s goal.

The tempo was definitely improving in the early stages of the second period but the passing was just not quite finding its target, a point emphasised by the normally-precise Young just missing a through-ball for Bowman that would have presented a clear run on goal.

Toby Ajala was the Gull who looked most likely to find a way through the Woking defence and the Yellow Army were slowly raising the volume after some terrific pressing in midfield by Young and Courtney Richards.

Hargreaves sought to build on the growing impetus by introducing Cameron for Jordan Chapell on the hour and the new man was immediately into the action, whipping over a dangerous corner that Woking did well to clear.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, had lost their attacking verve from the first-half and the increasing influence of Bowman saw him clip over a devilish cross from the right touchline that only just eluded the run of Cameron.

Woking responded by removing the quiet Giuseppe Sole for the fresh legs of John Goddard but Bowman was again racing in behind and when he fell to the ground after a nudge by Joe McNerney, TQ1 screamed for a foul – referee Lee Swabey showed no interest.

Woking then created a decent opening for Rendell but, thankfully, his header from a loopy cross lacked the power to trouble the unruffled Rice. The next visiting move was to bring on Lewis for Murtagh, but only after Rice had to concentrate in snaffling a dipping free-kick from Josh Payne.

Worner had a lot more difficulty when he was forced to beat away a swerving shot from Ajasla with two minutes left on the clock and moments later, he was picking the ball out of the net after the decisive thunderbolt.

A shot seemed an ambitious option when the Gulls won a free-kick 30 yards from goal but Young struck the ball as sweet as you can, and Worner could only dive in hope as the ball whistled into the bottom corner of the net.

In a very even game, it was perhaps harsh for either team to go home the loser but this United team has a very impressive combination of talent and resolve, and the dazzling run of form marches onto a home meeting with Dover on Saturday.

(4-4-2): 1 Martin Rice; 2 Dale Tonge, 21 Angus MacDonald, 4 Aaron Downes, 3 Tom Cruise; 12 Jordan Chapell (11 Courtney Cameron 61), 8 Luke Young (capt), 16 Courtney Richards, 11 Courtney Cameron; 9 Ryan Bowman, 24 Duane Ofori-Acheampong. Substitutes (not used): 5 Krystian Pearce, 14 Ashley Yeoman, 22 Josh Wakefield, 23 Jordan Seabright (GK).

Cameron 82, Young 90

(4-3-3): 30 Ross Worner; 6 James Clarke (2 Adam Newton 12), 3 Mike Cestor, 6 Joe McNerney (capt), 32 Chris Arthur; 7 Josh Payne, 8 Keiran Murtagh (14 Theo Lewis 85), 21 Joey Jones; 24 Dean Morgan, 9 Scott Rendell, 10 Giuseppe Sole (22 John Goddard 71). Substitutes (not used): 31 Andy Little (GK), 33 Nick Arnold.

Newton 84

Lee Swabey

2,144 (81 away).

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