Woking given nasty bite by underdogs
Football: Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Woking 1 (after extra time)
Monday 19 May 1997
Dagenham & Redbridge, from the Icis League, had a man sent off midway through the second half but still took their opponents from the GM Vauxhall Conference to extra time. They could not survive the additional half-hour, though, and a Woking substitute, Darren Hay, headed the goal which took the silverware to Surrey.
The victors took as many bruises as medals home with them, however, after a bad-tempered and occasionally brutal encounter.
Woking produced little of the flowing football which had brought them wins at Cambridge United and Millwall and a draw at Coventry during their FA Cup run earlier in the season. They were hustled and bustled out of their stride by Dagenham's robust tackling and quick covering.
An attritional first half contained more flying elbows than clear scoring chances. When the two teams did concentrate on playing football there was some skilful midfield work but little in the way of end product.
The burly Jason Broom did some good things for Dagenham while, as ever, Clive Walker was Woking's most creative player, although he was regularly forced out wide by the attentions of Steve Conner and Glyn Creaser.
John Stimson came closest to a goal in the first half, with a fierce low shot into the Woking side-netting in the 40th minute, but after the interval the match warmed up - and then boiled over.
Robin Taylor, who played for Dagenham last season, unwittingly became the game's central figure when, contesting a stray pass with Tony Rogers, he fell to the ground clutching his face. Rogers had got away with mis- use of his elbow in the first half, this time he was not so lucky as Jeff Winter produced a red card.
The mood turned ugly as Dagenham's Conner, Dean Parratt and David Culverhouse all collected yellow cards. The tackles were high and crude as the 10 men battled to keep Woking out.
Dagenham were tiring, though, and Woking broke through at last in the 99th minute. Paul Gothard dived to his left to push behind a 20-yard shot from Hay but was left helpless as Walker's deep corner reached an unmarked Hay, who headed home emphatically.
Goal: Hay (99) 0-1.
Dagenham & Redbridge (4-4-2): Gothard; Culverhouse, Conner, Creaser, Davidson; Pratt (Naylor, 81), Parratt, Jacques (Double, 75), Broom; Rogers, Stimson (John, 65).
Woking (3-5-2): Batty; Brown, Howard, Foster; S Wye, Thompson (Jones, 115), Ellis, Steele (L Wye, 108), Taylor; Walker, Jackson (Hay, 77).
Referee: J Winter (North Riding FA).
Bookings: Dagenham: Conner, Parratt, Culverhouse. Sending-off: Dagenham: Rogers.
Man of the match: Gothard.
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