Alan Worth - 15th July 2010
15 July 2010
Pre-season games are a bit like Marmite! As a supporter you either love or loathe them. For the former, a visit to Petersfield Town provided those Cards fans that made the trip, with a first opportunity to look at some of Graham Baker’s new signings as they began their pre-season programme of warm up games.
Graham started with triallist Will Viner in goal; a back four of Ricky Anane, Andy Forbes, Joe McNerney and Aswad Thomas; a midfield of Moses Ademola, captain Mark Ricketts, Francis Quarm and Sam Hurrell with Craig Faulconbridge partnering Dave Gilroy up front. Forbes' inclusion as a centre back was a surprise but the new signing from Eastleigh looked very comfortable alongside McNerney, strong in the air and good on the ball.
For the first half, the team struggled to tame a pitch that made close control difficult – it sloped from side to side and the surface was firm and very uneven. Rather like the Jabulani, the ball on occasion reared up unpredictably and passing was something of a lottery as our new look squad began to settle in.
Defensively the Cards looked untroubled, with Will Viner again having little to do. Woking generally dominated possession but too often their final ball into the box, where Craig Faulconbridge looked bright throughout, lacked real quality.
Few chances were created early on, the best coming after 18 minutes when Faulconbridge rose to direct a Hurrell free kick down towards goal, only for Patella in the Petersfield goal to turn the ball round the post for a corner. Five minutes later Mark Ricketts had an opportunity but his header from a Ricky Anane cross flew well over the bar.
The Cards took the lead on 30 minutes. A Moses Ademola corner from the left was flicked into the net by Faulconbridge at the near post.
On 37 minutes Petersfield equalised after the award of a rather harsh penalty – the ball again bouncing up and striking Joe McNerney. There was little he could do as a Petersfield free kick was whipped into the Cards’ box and bobbled up on the uneven surface. Warwick made no mistake from the spot as he blasted the ball high into the roof of the net.
Aswad Thomas, lively throughout, came close a few minutes later as his shot from outside the box appeared to clip a post and four minutes before half time a Dave Gilroy free kick was scrambled away by the hosts’ keeper low to his left.
Half-time: Petersfield 1 Woking 1
The second period brought the inevitable sting of replacements for both sides. At the start of the half, Graham Baker brought on Jerome Maledon for Mark Ricketts and Takumi Ake, a triallist from Newport County, for Sam Hurrell.
Ake’s introduction made an immediate impact. Playing initially on the right of midfield before a switch to the left, he showed excellent control, was quick, could pick a pass and appeared to have the ability to beat his man. He immediately put Anane through on the right but the full back’s cross was over hit. Gilroy’s ball to Ake enabled the triallist to get to the bye line and his quick cross was only just scraped away by the home defence.
Woking were now increasingly dominant. A long clearance from Viner saw both Faulconbridge and Gilroy clear on goal but the linesman’s flag was raised for a contested offside. Good work from Aswad Thomas and a reverse pass from Faulconbridge almost released Gilroy but again he was ruled offside.
Petersfield now had their best opportunity of the half to take the lead. Against the run of play, Price’s turn and shot just clipped the post, with Will Viner beaten.
A further string of substitutions followed: Daniel Sintim, Ola Sogbanmu and triallist Tobias Weppelmann were introduced, shortly followed by Josh Casey, Charlie Turnbull and Chris Sullivan. With a side now made up predominantly of triallists and Academy players, the tempo increased. With the help possibly of some light rain on the pitch the quality of passing improved, with Takumi Ake still at the heart of most of the Cards' most dangerous moves.
The Newport triallist could have scored as he volleyed a free kick straight at the keeper and then after a great run on the left his low cross into the box was forced into the net but ruled out for a foul.
The winning goal finally came on 82 minutes. An excellent Ake free kick to the far post was headed back across goal by David Ray, on for Ricky Anane. The ball was met by Sogbanmu, whose initial header hit the bar. Ola made no mistake with the rebound and his second chance as he put the ball into the net to secure a win for the visitors. Given their dominance in the second half, this was no more than Woking deserved.
Next up is an immediate return to Hampshire and a visit to Winchester City on Saturday. Let’s hope that the Wessex Premier League side have a pitch that’s a little less uneven than their Wessex League One rivals.
Woking: Will Viner* (Matt Pegler 73), Ricky Anane (David Ray 73), Aswad Thomas (Josh Casey 63), Mark Ricketts (Jerome Maledon 46), Joe McNerney (Aaron Gough 76), Andy Forbes (Daniel Sintim 60), Moses Ademola (Chris Sullivan 70), Francis Quarm (Charlie Turnbull 63), Craig Faulconbridge (Tobias Weppelmann 60), Dave Gilroy (Ola Sogbanmu 60), Sam Hurrell (Takumi Ake 46)
*Triallists in italics
Petersfield Town: (Starting Line Up) Patella, Price, New, Bishop, Warwick, Jones, Jeram, Baker, Newman, Martin, Simbanda