Woking left to rue Jack King penalty miss as Maidenhead shock Blue Square leaders at Kingfield

KING ROCKER - Jack King misses from the spot

Woking 0 Maidenhead 2

FALTERING Woking saw their lead at the top of the table slashed to six points in a fixture plagued with controversy.

Referee Ian Crouch stole the headlines as a clinical Maidenhead punished Woking’s goal-shy strikers.

Bobby Behzadi converted a controversial second half penalty after Jack King had seen a spot kick of his own saved by Aaron Lennox moments before the interval.

Debutant Charlie Strutton fired under Aaron Howe two minutes later to condemn the hosts to defeat after a handful of chances went begging.

Substitute Dale Binns was shown a straight red card in the 90th minute for a petulant kick at an opponent to compound a miserable afternoon for the Cards.

But the Magpie’s stunning upset will be overshadowed by the man in black.

Crouch failed to dismiss Lennox in the first half when he poleaxed Paris Cowan-Hall as he raced toward goal, instead serving the relieved keeper a caution.

[pullquote]I think we’ve got a few things to sort out this week and if there is a time for character to be shown and for everyone to dig deep it is now[/pullquote]He also decided to point for a penalty despite the foul taking place well outside the area.

After the game manager Garry Hill aired his disappointment at a result that blows the title race wide open.

He said: “If rules are made and everyone knows them then there should have been one outcome in respect of the goalkeeper.

“Saying that we could have got 10 today, but we haven’t taken our chances and they’ve punished us.

“I think we’ve got a few things to sort out this week and if there is a time for character to be shown and for everyone to dig deep it is now.

“I’m disappointed we haven’t had the end product, if you look at the first half if we score the penalty then we probably go and win the game.

“But if you don’t take your chances and get sloppy then you get punished.

“We’re certainly getting punished at the minute and it is hurting, and if it’s hurting the players half as much as it’s hurting me and Steve Thompson, they are certainly going to be feeling it.”

Until they fell behind Woking had been comfortable if not lethargic.

A lack of intensity left Lennox with little to do between the sticks, Cowan-Hall’s long range effort the only chance of note in a laboured first half.

Guiseppe Sole had the best chance to open the scoring after the break, rounding the keeper only to send his effort into the side netting.

King then stung the hands of Lennox with a dipping volley before Cowan-Hall crashed a close range strike off the post.

But it was AFC Wimbledon loanee Strutton, who turned the game – and the title race – on its head minutes after coming on as a substitute.

He chased down a hopeful ball forward and after an innocuous tussle with Alan Inns was awarded a penalty by Crouch.

The soft spot kick was dispatched by Behzadi and before Woking could dust themselves down they were caught with a decisive sucker punch.

Joe McNerney was left static as Strutton waltzed his way into the box before driving confidently past a helpless Howe.

Woking’s response never materialised, Elvis Hammond blazed over for the Cards before Binns received his marching orders.

In the last move of the match, Sole sent a pointblank header straight into the arms of Lennox as the title race continued its unexpected revival.

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About the Author: Andy Fitzsimon