MATCH REPORT | Wealdstone 1-2 Woking
A fantastic four-minute brace in the first half from Woking’s midfielder Max Kretzschmar sealed a fine victory for the Cardinals’ on the road in their season-opener against Wealdstone.
Kretzschmar’s double was enough to edge an entertaining contest at The Vale, with Stones’ forward Josh Umerah pulling a late goal back for the home side to force a thrilling finale.
The visitors started the brighter of the two sides, galvanising a chance within four minutes of play as Tahvon Campbell fed Innih Effiong in the box who controlled, turned and attempted to curl his effort into the bottom right corner, but Wealdstone’s goalkeeper George Wickens was on-hand to deny the striker.
Three minutes later, the Cardinals came close to scoring again as Effiong advanced down the right wing, before holding off a few challenges and blazing his shot just over the crossbar from inside the box.
The Stones recorded their first effort in 14th minute of play, creating an excellent move which split the Woking defence, enabling Josh Umerah to rocket a strike from an acute angle, just wide of the target.
Five minutes later, the home side came close again from a swift counter attack, with overlapping winger Dennon Lewis firing over Craig Ross’ crossbar.
The deadlock was finally broken by the Cardinals in the 20th minute as Effiong’s cross from the left wing was headed home past Wickens by Kretzschmar.
Four minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead as goal scorer Kretzschmar rose highest to nod Kyran Lofthouse’s cross from the right-hand side past Wickens.
Woking continued to dominate proceedings in the first half; however, Wealdstone were unfortunate not to reduce the deficit on the stroke of half time as Stephan Browne struck a fierce shot towards the top corner, but Ross produced a fine finger-tip save to deny the forward.
The Stones resumed from the break with an added impetus and went close to pulling a goal back in the 51st minute as Umerah unleashed an instinctive shot from distance, but Ross was equal to the effort, palming the ball wide for a corner.
As Wealdstone continued to probe for a way back into the game, they were duly rewarded in the 69th minute when winger Andrew Eletheriou’s pinpoint cross found Umerah who headed past Ross to send the match into a tense finish.
Stuart Maynard’s team upped their intensity further as they pushed for an equaliser in the remaining 20 minutes, but the Cardinals produced some resolute defending to hold firm and clinch an important opening day victory.
Reflecting on the match, Wealdstone’s Assistant Manager Matt Saunders said: “In the end, a point was probably what we deserved.
"We looked very nervous first half, which is understandable, as we’re a very young team; but it’s like we forgot our patterns and movements. However, our second half performance was very good and we’ve got to kick on from here with nothing to fear!”
WEALDSTONE: Wickens, Tavares, Cook, Okimo (c), Eleftheriou, Cooper, Buse (Dyer 46), Lewis, Browne, Fasanmade (Elito 67), Umerah.
Subs not used: Wishart, Charles, Cawley.
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee