OLD BOY JOEL LEDGISTER SCORES THE WINNER FOR WOKING AT KINGFIELD
WOKING 1-0 EBBSFLEET UNITED
Report by Allan Main
The Fleet crashed to their first defeat in four games against Woking this season as a 70th minute goal by former player Joel Ledgister was enough to see the home side climb out of the drop zone.
Liam Daish’s selection dilemma up front following the signing of Matthew Judge was solved as soon as he got on the team bus with Luke Moore falling ill. This elevated Judge to the starting XI but otherwise the side remained the same as the one which defeated Rushden.
Woking for their part started with new signing Oliver Bozanic, on loan from Reading, and he looked up for things from the start, involved in set plays and crossing from wide. But it was the Fleet’s new boy who almost made the early headlines when goalkeeper Simon Eastwood was played into trouble by his defence and Judge nipped in ahead of him but there was no support as he attempted to play the ball into the danger area.
George Purcell lofted in a couple of corners for the Fleet while Michael Gash and Paul Lorraine were exchanging pleasantries as the referee blew for a foul against one and then the other for the opening half hour.
But it was the home side who could have gone ahead on 24 minutes when Wilfried Domoraud was felled by Derek Duncan. Bozanic stepped up and let fly with a free kick that got the better of Lance Cronin but fortunately for the Fleet bounced off the crossbar. The Fleet responded a little over three minutes later when Jamie Hand broke free following a Woking attack and he found Judge who in turn played in Stacy Long and the Fleet midfielder crashed a shot just over the bar.
Duncan, fortunate not to see yellow in the earlier incident with Domoraud, exhausted the referee’s patience on 30 minutes after bringing down Goma Lambu, who had come on for Paolo Vernazza on 18 minutes, and the Fleet began to labour in a bid to find some fluidity.
Woking were playing a largely similar game, looking resolute building up from midfield but less than threatening in front of goal – and on 41 minutes Marum wriggled his way through the Fleet defence but Cronin smothered his wayward attempts to convert. The Fleet broke again a minute later and Neil Barrett found Long in the box but he was challenged by Joel Ledgister as he shaped to shoot.
Daish made a change at half-time, Purcell making way for Ricky Shakes and the Fleet substitute will probably want to blame his lack of participation for a miss barely 30 seconds into the restart. Barrett forced Eastwood into a save and with the goal at his mercy, Shakes lofted the ball over the bar.
Domoraud had a half-chance for Woking as James Smith blocked his efforts from a Lambu cross. Thereafter the game settled into a largely incident-free lull with only Bozanic catching the eye for Woking while although the Fleet sought to get forward, they seemed to take their foot off the gas the more their efforts went awry. Daish was unimpressed by the referee hauling Shakes back after a foul despite the Fleet winger having been through on goal and seeking an advantage.
It took until the 70th minute for another talking point and sadly for the Fleet, it was a Woking goal. From nothing, Marum gathered the ball down the right and found Domoraud. He in turn put the Fleet under pressure with a ball into the box and as Cronin advanced, former Fleet loanee Joel Ledgister was well-placed to slide the ball into the net.
The home side, with their fans in good voice, found a higher level and Bozanic hit a good shot over the bar while Leon Crooks had to be alert to divert Domoraud’s effort for a corner. The Fleet had a half-hearted shout for a penalty when Duncan went down under a challenge but it was wishful thinking and seconds later Lorraine cleared off the line as the men in white sought an equaliser.
There was more drama in the closing stages with the Fleet pressing and as Lorraine cleared from Craig Stone, Woking broke, Domoraud, Ledgister and Marum hared upfield, with Ledgister getting off a shot which cleared the crossbar. There were five minutes of stoppage time but the Fleet couldn’t find anything in their reserves to threaten.
TEAM: Cronin, Stone, Duncan, Smith, Crooks, Hand, Barrett (Ibe 82), Long, Purcell (Shakes 46), Judge, Gash. Subs not used: Mott, Pooley, Ricketts.