Woking 3 Torquay United 1
The Vanarama National League
September 13th 2016
The Cards produced comfortably their best performance of the season as a brace from Delano Sam-Yorke and a superb individual goal from Dennon Lewis cancelled out the first-half opener from Torquay defender Giancarlo Gallifuoco.
Gallifuoco opened the scoring after 28 minutes – turning home his third goal in four games after Nathan Blissett had seen his initial effort cleared off the line.
The home side, who were unlucky to go in behind at the break after enjoying long spells of possession and squandering several half-chances, quickly struck back after the interval as Sam-Yorke followed up Gozie Ugwu’s blocked shot.
He would make it two less than ten minutes later – again capitalising after Torquay failed to deal with Lewis’ rampaging run into the box. And the Watford loanee wrapped up the three points himself five minutes before full-time, bursting clear of the defence before firing past Brendan Moore in the visitor’s goal.
The Cards started the game with just one change from the team held by bottom of the table Guiseley on Saturday, with Fabio Saraiva earning his reward for Saturday’s late equaliser as he took the place of Max Kretzschmar. Garry Hill’s side lined up in their increasingly regular 3-5-2 formation, with Sam-Yorke once again partnering Ugwu up front following his return from injury.
Despite the visitors coming into the game off the back of an encouraging 2-0 win over York City – their fourth success of the season – it was the hosts that started the brightest. Fabio Saraiva stung the hands of Moore with an early volley, before good work from Sam-Yorke on the left-hand side forced a cross that again tested the American stopper, whilst under severe pressure from Ugwu.
However, it was the Gulls who took the lead against the run of play mid-way through the first-half, when Dan Sparkes’ free-kick taken from close to the right-hand touchline was not dealt with by the Woking defence, the towering Blissett got his head to the ball, and Gallifuoco was in the right place at the right time after the Cards initially appeared to have forced the ball clear.
Kevin Nicholson’s side had the better of the closing stages of the second-half, with on-loan Exeter City frontman Jamie Reid striking the side netting after forcing his way through the Woking defence, but a late run and shot from Sam-Yorke reminded the visitors that they would not have it all their own way after the break.
Half-time: Woking 0 Torquay United 1
So it would prove as the Cards took just five minutes to deservedly find a leveller after the restart – Nathan Ralph’s cross causing havoc in the Torquay penalty area, and when Ugwu’s effort was only half cleared, Sam-Yorke was on hand to prod home his first goal of his second spell with the club.
The former academy product, who only scored four times in all competitions during his initial time with the Cards, then doubled his tally just nine minutes later. Jake Caprice broke down the right-hand side, flying past Lathaniel Rowe-Turner and laying the ball off for Lewis, the teenager cut inside and forced a block – but like all good strikers Sam-Yorke was there again to coolly finish the job.
The Cards played some truly excellent football for a stirring 20 minute spell, with Saraiva twice going close to a third but instead forcing a pair of fine saves from Moore, whilst Murtagh clipped the crossbar with an audacious effort from the corner of the penalty area. The Gulls seemed unable to deal with their host’s speed in attack – with Woking’s full-backs particularly impressive as they continued to push forward at every opportunity.
Torquay, who switched from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 soon after the break – and even introduced former Woking and Aldershot striker Brett Williams to something of a mixed reception - left their front men increasingly isolated. Blissett, who scored both the goals in the win over York on Saturday, was left particularly frustrated as his side’s only real chances came from set pieces. Indeed, it was Gallifuoco who came closest to equalising following another free-kick from a wide position, only this time he found the legs of Michael Poke blocking the way.
Woking introduced fresh legs of their own, with Chike Kandi and Charlie Penny further stretching an increasingly tiring Torquay defence, and just a minute after the latter’s introduction the home side belatedly had their third – Lewis bursting clear, clearing Moore, and seeing his shot deflect in off the underside of the crossbar.
It sealed what was an important three points for the Cards. On a night when four of the five teams directly above us all won, whilst Solihull Moors picked up an impressive point against high flying Lincoln City, anything other than three points would have left us a long way adrift at the bottom. As it is, we remain within touching distance of escaping the bottom four, and after taking seven points from our last four games things are certainly looking up for an improving side.
The addition of Connor Essam on loan from Eastleigh has eased the blow of losing captain Ismail Yakubu to yet another injury, with the former Dover and Leyton Orient defender an assured presence at the back tonight. Murtagh – man of the match in our only other win this season – could arguably have taken the accolade again this evening after another superb all round display in midfield, while Lewis and Saraiva both put in arguably their best performances of the season alongside him. Ugwu and Sam-Yorke remained a threat throughout up front and the latter should continue to improve as he works his way back to full fitness.
The Cards next take on Wrexham, who lost their mid-week game with Macclesfield to the weather, and will no doubt be keen to improve on what has been a disappointing start to the season for a side with strong promotion ambitions. However, they’ll be facing a Woking side full of confidence and now looking to make it three home wins on the bounce.
Woking: Michael Poke, Jake Caprice, Nathan Ralph, Connor Essam, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Keiran Murtagh (c), Fabio Saraiva (Charlie Carter 82), Dennon Lewis, Gozie Ugwu (Charlie Penny 85), Delano Sam-Yorke (Chike Kandi 70).
Subs not used: Max Kretzschmar, Brandon Hall
Goals: Delano Sam-Yorke 50, 59, Dennon Lewis 86
Bookings: Joey Jones 9
Torquay United: Brendan Moore, Aman Verma, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Sean McGinty, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Courtney Richards (c), Luke Young, Joe Ward (Chay Scrivens 46), Jamie Reid (Brett Williams 57), Dan Sparkes (Sam Chaney 70), Nathan Blissett.
Subs not used: Damon Lathrope, Ben Gerring
Goal: Giancarlo Gallifuoco 28
Bookings: Brendan Moore 50
Sponsor’s (Allenbuild) MOTM: Dennon Lewis – scored one, made one, and caused constant problems with his pace and trickery – both out on the right-hand side when combining with Jake Caprice, and also when cutting inside and driving into the penalty area – an excellent performance from the youngster.