Woking 1 Rushden & Diamonds 1

 

Rushden & Diamonds earned their first point of the 2007-08 Blue Square Premier campaign with a well fought 1-1 draw with Woking at Kingfield.

Manager Garry Hill gave their Diamonds debut to three of his summer signings, with Paul Bastock, Curtis Osano and Jon Challinor all pulling on the Diamonds shirt for the first time in a league game, and Phil Gulliver returning after a year away. New loan signing Ryan Semple started on the bench, along with Simeon Jackson and Alex Bolt. The team lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with strikers Tomlin and Rankine playing in front of a midfield of Woodhouse, Challinor and Shaw with Howell and Osano as wing backs and Gulliver, Hope and Hatswell lining up in front of goalkeeper Bastock.

Woking manager Frank Gray fielded a youthful side, giving debuts to six of his summer signings, including defenders Paul Lorraine (AFC Wimbledon) and Jay Gasson (Farnborough Town), midfielders Matt Gray (Sutton United), Matt Pattison (Farnborough) and Bradley Quamina (Yeading), plus striker Marvin Morgan (Yeading), with Michael Charles on the bench.

On a warm and sunny summer afternoon Woking kicked off attacking the Bellway Stand End.

The first five minutes of the game were very uninspiring, as neither side managed to string together a sequence of passes, and a series of long balls overshot their targets.

After 8 minutes Diamonds won a free kick on the left just inside the Woking half, and although the initial kick fell straight to Giuseppe Sole he dwelled on the ball, and Curtis Woodhouse took advantage to feed Tom Shaw, but his shot resulted in an easy catch for Gindre. His throw out saw a dangerous Woking break, with the ball falling to Marvin Morgan, but his powerful shot only found the side netting.

The match then returned to its sleepy state until the 18th minute when Curtis Osano went on a raid down the left, combining with Tom Shaw to hit a cross which found John Challinor, and his looping header looked to be heading towards the net until Nick Gindre pulled out an excellent fingertip save.

Woking’s threat was now mostly on the break, with a long ball bouncing over Chris Hope’s head to Marvin Morgan, but although the striker’s flick looped over Bastock it went too far sideways and the defence was able to recover.

In a similar move a poor Gulliver header looked to have given Morgan sight of goal, but a despairing Wayne Hatswell tackle saved the day, albeit at the expense of a Yellow Card.

Lee Tomlin was starting to come more into the game, giving defender Lorraine a few problems, as well as making a couple of flicks that found their way past his marker. Michael Rankine too was showing some good touches, and he was involved with a move on 32 minutes when he linked with Curtis Woodhouse, and he found Tom Shaw who hit a dangerous looking lob, but once again Gindre was able to stretch and tip the ball over.

The first half ended as it began, with little goalmouth action, and although Diamonds had seen the best of the chances a goalless scoreline at half-time did reflect the quality of the football on show.

Half-time: Woking 0 – 0 Rushden & Diamonds

Woking started the second half rather more brightly, with Giuseppe Sole looking especially lively, although his runs were thwarted by a combination of the Diamonds offside trap and some desperate covering tackles. Marvin Morgan was starting to look more dangerous as he had shaken off the attention of Wayne Hatswell, and had one great chance to feed an unmarked Sole but didn’t spot the pass.

On 49 minutes Marvin Morgan picked up the ball inside his own half, and after shrugging off a Curtis Woodhouse challenge he realised that Sole was in an offside position so continued his run, beating Woodhouse a second time, and breaking into the area. Chris Hope looked to get in a challenge but appeared to fear giving away a penalty, allowing the striker to get in a shot that beat Bastock for a great individual goal.

However, Woking manager Frank Gray will not be happy that his side switched off after the goal, allowing the Diamonds to break forward in numbers on the 50th minute. Curtis Osano got in a ball across from the right which eluded three attackers and their markers, but it was worked back from the left to Curtis Woodhouse, whose initial attempt was blocked, but it fell back to him and he finished well with a shot to Gindre’s right.

Curtis Osano then started to raid inside, and had a couple of mazy runs through the centre of the Woking defence, resulting in attempts for Tomlin and Challinor, but both attempts were blocked.

Curtis Woodhouse then took a knock in front of the Diamonds fans, and although he soldiered on for a few minutes, he had to be replaced by Simeon Jackson, with Lee Tomlin moving back into midfield.

Lee Tomlin was the second Diamonds player to be booked for a challenge in the centre of the field, and he was followed by Woking’s Bradley Quamina for a tackle on the Diamonds striker.

Woking were looking much more of an attacking threat in the second half, with Phil Gulliver making one great tackle to stop a great moving involving Pattison, but it was a Diamonds attack that perhaps presented the best chance for a winner, with Howell and Shaw combining on the left to put in a great cross which looked to present Michael Rankine with a free header. The Striker failed to get any power, but the ball looped to Simeon Jackson, who looked in an even better position, but he too failed to get the power needed and the chance was wasted.

Dean Howell also had a great chance after a long throw from Osano caused panic in the Woking defence, but at the other end a great chance fell to Matt Gray after his free kick was fed back to him by Matt Pattison and he hit a thunderbolt shot which was only narrowly wide of the right hand post. The last real threat of the game from the diamonds came from Simeon Jackson, with a run and shot similar to his effort at Dagenham last season, but with the final effort going wide, then a great run into the area on the left which resulted in a desperate block for a corner.

Frank Gray took off the speedy Sole towards the end, and his replacement Michael Charles had a great chance in injury time to snatch a win, but his shot from the edge of the area was blazed over.

The final whistle signalled celebrations from the 209 travelling fans showing they were happy with the point on a pleasant afternoon in Surrey.

After the game Frank Gray reported he was pleased with his young team.

Garry Hill praised the performance of Nick Gindre, and was pleased with an away point in the first game of the season, saying he would have taken a point if offered at 3pm, and felt it was a fair result. He confirmed that Curtis Woodhouse should be OK for Tuesday.

Full-time: Woking 1 – 1 Rushden & Diamonds

Teams:

Woking (Red / White):

Nick Gindre; Paul Lorraine, Tom Hutchinson, Jay Gasson; Matt Gray, Bradley Quamina, Matt Ruby, Danny Bunce, Matt Pattison, Marvin Morgan, Giuseppe Sole (Michael Charles 76)

Subs Not Used: Adam Green, David Shin, Ross Warner (GK), Goma Lambu

Rushden & Diamonds (Yellow) Paul Bastock, Curtis Osano, Phil Gulliver, Chris Hope(c), Wayne Hatswell (Paul Watson 79), Jon Challinor, Curtis Woodhouse (Simeon Jackson 54), Lee Tomlin (Ryan Semple 79) Tom Shaw, Michael Rankine, Dean Howell.

Subs not used: Paul Nicholls (GK), Alex Bolt

Goals : Morgan, Woodhouse

Yellow Cards : Hatswell, Tomlin, Quamina

Referee: M Bull

Attendance: 1576 (Away 208).

Reporter’s Man of the Match : Curtis Osano

Travel Club Man of the Match : Tom Shaw

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