Pre-match drama for the team this week as the correct pitch proved an elusive target for the coaching team. Tina stepped in to take the warm-up, producing a neat range of synchronised stretching. Warm-ups are tricky without a ball.
The team talk was necessarily short. This must have added to the clarity of the instructions as the Tigers were on the attack from the whistle, with Alex almost immediately sliding Joe through for a chance.
This bright start didn’t last long, with a dangerous corner that went straight through the area untouched from Woking their best chance in a period where the Tigers were pinned back, our clearances coming straight back at us.
As the half progressed the Tigers finally got a bit further up the pitch and nearly scored from a a long ball that bounced over a defender and was put a couple of feet over by Joe on the half volley.
Better from Walton, though this unfortunately didn’t continue, with the team finding it hard to get Alex on the ball in midfield, where we were getting out-battled. We still created the odd chance – a loose ball from a nice cross by George forced a save from Lucas B’s shot – but Woking were having the better of things, the most glaring being the Tigers’ defence caught horribly square and only a poor Woking first touch stopping a more dangerous one-on-one. A let off.
This was followed by a slap in the face with a terrible penalty award given against Walton. Daniel D went shoulder to shoulder with a Woking forward, won out, but the whistle went for a spot kick which was put away comfortably for a lead that was probably deserved on balance.
What was certainly not deserved was what happened next; a ‘look away’ moment as an unnecessarily lofted back pass put Jasper in all sorts of trouble, with the ball being sliced into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Casuals came out for the second half with a changed shape; Jon at left back, George more central and Daniel D moving higher up on the left wing. Despite that we nearly conceded straight away from a free kick as the half kicked off, but then a searing run up the left from Daniel D and then the right from Lucas B both resulted in decent chances.
Lucas Crabb had his head up from defensive midfield and the Tigers were on top, though Eli had to get down well for a decent save from a speculative shot. George was then desperately unlucky to hit the post when put clean through and then Lucas C strode through midfield after winning a ball back brilliantly to put a peach of a ball through that the Woking keeper only just got to ahead of Daniel.
Chances came and went in the next few minutes, with a Tiger (Joe?) once again close to being clean through. The keeper then claimed well from a Daniel D cross. George made a lovely run which nearly saw a goal and then Woking came close to a third from two defensive howlers in succession. George nearly scored. Again. Shots were coming thick and fast as we started to use the width of the pitch better.
George once again came close after some great interplay between Lucas and Joe, the ball somehow stayed out after rolling across the goal line, George again and then Daniel D missing out. A sweet first time cross from Alex nearly resulting in getting George the goal he and the team deserved.
As the game neared its end both teams seemed to sit back to take a breath, with little happening other than Eli having to come out well to snuff out an attack, but in the last two minutes the ball was once again pinballing in the Woking area, each time drawn to anything not in orange when a goal looked certain.
It finished 2-0. A tough game against a decent team on a poor pitch. We could and should have scored at least a couple. Letting the ball bounce caused us self-inflicted problems throughout the match. Lucas C was MoM. A few shouts for Eli too amongst the travelling support.
Team: Eli, Jasper, Daniel D, Daniel W, Lucas C, Lucas B, Liam (c), Conall, Louis, Alex J, Alex W, Jon, Suyash, Joe, Bradley, George