Football: Walker conducts Cambridge requiem

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The Independent Online
Cambridge United 0

Woking 2

Walker 74, Taylor 83


Woking's male voice choir may never get to perform in King's College at Cambridge. For a start, they are unlikely to be welcomed back after their team led the locals a right song and dance. Furthermore, purists from the college's renowned choir would have complained about the timbre, cadence and monotony of Woking's warblings. But they wouldn't have been able to fault them on volume and effort.

The non-league visitors outsung the Third Division title contenders so comprehensively that you would have assumed it was Woking who were the home side. Well, they certainly had more to sing about. Their side supplied most of the ideas, drive and conviction. They also had the inspiration for a sing-song: a former Chelsea player who in footballing terms should be spending his Saturday afternoons sitting in front of a fire with his slippers on.

Clive Walker may have lost some of his pace and most of his hair, but he hasn't lost his zest for the game or his guile. In the first half, he looked well named, a pedestrian striker walking into big defenders. But in the second half, Walker turned runner. The Cambridge defence, obviously unimpressed by what they had seen earlier, gave him too much space. He made them pay dearly.

First, he took a byline pass from Shane Wye, drifted inside and put in a speculative pass-cum-shot. Until then, Scott Barrett had greeted the ball like an old friend. This time, he treated it as if it had been covered with the stuff that makes those Fenland vegetables grow so well. It curled neatly inside his post, and the choir turned up the volume to fortissimo.

Eight minutes from time, Walker killed the game off. Baffling the Cambridge defenders, he set up Darran Hay, whose shot was blocked. But it rebounded back to Robin Taylor who whacked the ball into an undefended net. The result kept up Woking's impressive average of two goals a game, and confirmed Walker's pre-match predictions.

Cambridge's nickname is the Us and they certainly played like a pack of sheep, never really looking likely to find the gate through Woking's defence.

Five balls were hacked wildly out of the tiny ground, four of them in the first half. You found yourself wondering if officials would have to send someone to the local garage for emergency spares.

Woking, on the other hand, look good up front, with Walker, the elegant Scott Steele and the steely Hay. Their midfield outfought Cambridge and their defence will bottle up better attacks than Cambridge's. They have plenty to sing about. No surprise, really, when you have someone called Tom Jones in your side.