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Cards prosper despite defeat

Alan Worth - 21st July 2012

Cards prosper despite defeat Woking 1 Queens Park Rangers 2
Pre-Season Friendly
21st July 2012


Another fine performance from the Cards, particularly in the first half, ended disappointingly in a 2-1 defeat against a QPR XI – a result that hardly reflected Woking’s dominance throughout most of the game. The Premiership visitors fielded a team made up largely of reserve team players but still featuring the experienced Rob Hulse, Tommy Smith and D.J. Campbell. And it was Campbell’s sharpness in front of goal that provided the Premiership side with a win very much against the run of play.

Garry Hill fielded two trialists in the first half and new loan signing Bradley Bubb. With Aaron Howe in goal the back four was made up of Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson and triallist Renee Steer. Dean Sinclair, the ex-Charlton and Barnet player, was introduced in front of the defence with Lee Sawyer and Kevin Betsy (pictured) in the centre of midfield. Bubb and Loick Pires played out wide with Gez Sole operating up front.

From the start the Cards took control playing some superb passing football and creating a host of goal opportunities. Within two minutes a Sole volley was palmed away acrobatically by Lennox and then a few minutes later a rasping Bubb volley was again palmed away by the visitors’ keeper.

Hulse almost caused an upset with a near-post effort that Howe cleared with his feet but that was as close as Rangers came to breeching the Cards' solid defence in this first period.

Woking continued to create chances – Betsy, dominating in central midfield, played a sweet pass to Pires, whose left-foot volley from the edge of the box was bound for the top corner. Lennox made a superb save to keep the ball out. From the resulting corner a Sinclair header was tipped over and then Pires also headed over from a third set piece.

It was all one-way traffic as Betsy and Sawyer combined well in midfield and Newton raided forward setting up Bubb, but his shot was cleared. A strong penalty shout for handball, after McNerney’s effort on the turn from yet another corner appeared to strike a QPR defender, was turned down by referee Mr O’Brien.

It was Lee Sawyer’s turn to set up Sole with a wonderful cross-field pass that found the striker unmarked in the box but with the ball under his feet the striker’s chip was again just over the bar. A further Sole cross re-bounded away off the post and then Bubb had another effort fired inches wide of the post.

With the half coming to an end and the visitors’ goal continuing to lead a charmed life a break by Steer set up Bubb but his volley was agonisingly just wide.

Half-time: Woking 0 Queens Park Rangers 0

QPR made several changes at the start of the second half including the introduction of D. J. Campbell, which was to prove decisive. Playing with greater resolve, the visitors began to gain a little more possession but it was still the Cards who were making most of the running.

On 58 minutes Woking created a wonderful chance with Bubb pushing the ball past a defender on the right-hand side, racing past his marker and crossing first time for Sole to meet the ball with a diving header. Sadly, the ball flew wide and the Cards were denied what would have been a sensational strike.

Garry now began to introduce the rest of his squad with triallists Greg Mills and Jesse Waller-Lassen replacing Bradley Bubb and Gez Sole and shortly after Jay Davies and Jack Parkinson coming on for Sawyer and Sinclair.

But it was very much against the run of play that QPR took the lead on 70 minutes. Steer tripped a QPR forward in the box and D.J. Campbell made no mistake from the spot, sending Aaron Howe the wrong way. Mark Ricketts and Mike Cestor were now introduced along with the Lithuanian striker Nikolaj Misiuk, yet another triallist.

Campbell doubled the lead on 77 minutes after turning quickly in the box and volleying home from close range.

Despite the setback Woking continued to create chances and some justice was restored when a Mills’ freek-ick was deflected onto the post for Jay Davies to stab home from close range to reduce the deficit.

Despite the defeat this was a very impressive performance that augurs well for the start of the season. Garry and Thommo have some difficult decisions to make regarding additions to the squad as Cards fans witnessed some fine performances from triallists who continue to impress. Those newly signed are bedding in well with the “old hands”, and the football on display must surely encourage the management team as well as fans.

On Tuesday Woking meet AFC Wimbledon in their fourth pre-season game which should again provide a stiff test for the Cards' new-look side –on this showing it’s a challenge they will be more than confident of meeting.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton (Mark Ricketts 74), Renee Steer (Mike Cestor 74), Dean Sinclair (Jack Parkinson 67), Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson, Loike Pires, (Nikolaj Misiuk 74) Lee Sawyer (Jay Davies 67), Bradley Bubb (Jesse Waller-Lassen 59), Giuseppe Sole (Greg Mills 59), Kevin Betsy (George Frith 87)

Queens Park Rangers: Aaron Lennox, Brad Simmonds, Manny Monthe, Albert, Ben Brown, Taylor Parmenter, Tommy Smith, Tom Hitchcock, Rob Hulse, D. J. Campbell, Bruno Andrende

Substitutes not announced

Attendance: 739


MOTM: Kevin Betsy – hugely influential in the centre of midfield prompting much of the Cards' attacking threat.

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