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Cards narrowly beaten

Brian Caffarey - 31st July 2014

Cards narrowly beaten Woking 1 Crawley Town 2
Pre-season friendly
30 July 2014

This was another good work-out, for both sides, on a balmy summer’s evening. The Cards, fielding one new triallist in the shape of striker Jordan Robinson, started strongly but found themselves behind to a penalty on the half-hour mark. The lead was doubled after the break as Woking found it increasingly difficult to make any real headway, but Scott Rendell scored from the penalty spot after Gez Sole had been bundled over. As so often in these friendly games, the second half became disjointed as both sides introduced numerous substitutes.

Both sides lined up with sides which were probably not far off those that will start their respective league campaigns. For the Cards Aaron Howe was shielded by a back four of Adam Newton, Joey Jones, Joe McNerney and John Nutter. Theo Lewis and John Goddard were in the wide midfield positions with Keiran Murtagh and Josh Payne in the middle of the park, and Scott Rendell, partnered by Robinson, up front.

Woking took the game to the Reds from the kick-off, although the latter looked dangerous on quick counter-attacks. Murtagh and Payne dominated midfield at this point and both Lewis and Goddard made driving runs into the Crawley defence. Payne went on to try several shots from outside the box but experienced Danish keeper Brian Jensen had to field only one low drive that was on target. Adam Newton’s cross-cum-shot was also taken comfortably, while Goddard’s header downwards from Lewis’s fine cross lacked any pace. Joey Jones went closest at this stage with an excellent header from a Nutter free-kick, which Jensen palmed away.

At the other end there was a mix-up between Jones and Howe which, fortunately, only resulted in a corner, but Izale McLeod should have done better after a nice move saw him drag his shot wide. Howe did well to tip over a fierce drive from Gwion Edwards on the 20-minute mark.

Woking pressure resumed with some nice interplay between Rendell and Lewis resulting in the latter firing a low cross right across the face of the goal, while Rendell then headed a Newton cross well over the bar.

It came as something of a surprise when Crawley took the lead in the 34th minute. Newton appeared to make contact to give away a penalty just inside the box. Howe half-saved McLeod’s penalty but the ball ended up in the net.

A McNerney foul just outside the box – which might have been punished more severely in a competitive fixture – then brought a dangerous free-kick, which Howe, at full stretch, did well to palm away.

The Cards had a couple more promising attacks before the break, with the best chance falling to Murtagh at the far post, but the midfielder fluffed his left-footed effort.

Half-time: Woking 0 Crawley Town 1

The second half started slowly but Payne instigated a good move, also involving Murtagh and Nutter, with the latter’s cross being just too high for Rendell to reach. Another promising move saw Lewis cross for Rendell, who shot narrowly over. But, apart from the penalty much later in the half, that was about as threatening as it got for Jensen in the second half, as a combination of some assured defending and the lack of an incisive final ball from the Cards meant that he was largely a spectator.

The substitutions started as early as the 52nd minute with Gez Sole coming on for Robinson, who had not really managed to get into the game, and Mark Ricketts replacing Jones.

The main threat now came from swift Crawley counter-attacks, with substitute Lewis Young, brother of Ashley, causing problems with his electric pace down the Reds’ left flank. Eventually, the pressure told in the 70th minute when, after a goalmouth scramble with several shots foiled, substitute Emmett O’Connor fired home to make it 0-2.

Aaron Howe had to make a sharp save to prevent a third goal before the Cards reduced the deficit. Sole did well to get in front of Sonny Bradley in the box, with the big defender then bringing him to the ground. Rendell sent Jensen the wrong way to make it 1-2.

A raft of substitutes ensued as the game wound down, including ex-Woking loanee Charles Banya coming on for Crawley. Howe blocked a shot, with Ricketts clearing off the line, and Lewis Young shot narrowly wide from a Banya cross before the referee called time.

The Cards looked very competitive in the first half against League One opposition but, as the game wore on, the initiative was gradually wrested from them and they found themselves unable to pose much of a threat in the second half once they neared the opposition area.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton (Xapi 79), John Nutter (Reece Beckles 65), Joey Jones (Mark Ricketts 52), Joe McNerney (Adam Brice 86), Josh Payne, Keiran Murtagh, Theo Lewis, John Goddard (Ebby Nelson-Abby 79), Scott Rendell, Jordan Robinson (Giuseppe Sole 52)

Unused sub: Jake Cole

Crawley Town: Jensen (Spiegel 82), Oyebanjo (Bawling 75), Leacock (Stewart 65), Walsh (Bradley 65), Dickson (Robson 80); Simpson (Odamattey 80), Henderson (O’Connor 51), Smith, Edwards (Young 51); McLeod, Tomlin (Banya 82).

My MOTM: Aaron Howe (pictured)

Attendance: 437 (44 from Crawley)
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