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Trialists fail to impress as Cards lose out

Alan Worth - 18th July 2015

Trialists fail to impress as Cards lose out Staines Town 3 Woking 2
Pre-Season Friendly
18th July 2015

The Swans nicked a late winner as Woking kicked off their pre-season schedule at Wheatsheaf Park. Garry Hill will not be much concerned with the result but rather with the fact that the handful of trialists on show, for the most part, failed to impress.

Nevertheless it was good to be back to the football on a sunny afternoon and for Cards fans to cast an eye over new and potential signings. Woking fielded two completely different sides for each half – the first comprising largely of trialists and the second made up of rather more familiar faces.

The first half side had Nick Hamann in goal, a back four of Jake Caprice, Lionel Stone, Ismail Yakubu and Jordan Brown, Dan Sweeney and Keiran Murtagh in the centre of midfield with Evans Kouassi on the right and Alex Smith on the left. The line was led by Scott Rendell and partnered by Andre Johnson.

The game itself began with a flurry of action and Woking had the lead within five minutes. A Jake Caprice cross from the right and Smith was on hand to volley home a spectacular opener. It was a magnificent strike!

Almost immediately Staines were back on terms. Jack Hutchinson sliding the ball home past a helpless Hamann as the Swans capitalised on a wayward pass from the Woking midfield.

The breathless start continued as, again, Smith smashed a shot against the host’s crossbar after a piece of excellent set up play by Rendell, chesting down Sweeney’s long ball forward.

Staines were generally getting the better of things as Woking began to lose their way against the home side who were playing with the far greater fluency. Both Woking flanks were regularly threatened as the Swans capitalised on the alarming amount of free space they were afforded.

The Swans’ second goal came after twenty-two minutes. Okuleye found himself in acres of space on the right as he controlled a cross-field pass and ran on to crash his shot past Hamann.

Half-time: Staines Town 2 Woking 1

Garry Hill appeared far from pleased as he spoke animatedly to the first half side on the pitch during the break but it was a rather more recognisable side that kicked off the second period.

Jake Cole started in goal with a back four of Joey Jones, Mark Ricketts, Brian Saah and Chris Arthur. New signing Godfrey Poku and John Goddard were in centre midfield with Reece Beckles on the right flank and triallist Kazeem on the left. Gez Sole led the line with Charles Banya.

Overall the performance in the second half, as might have been expected, was rather more cohesive if unspectacular. Woking exercised a greater level of control of the game as they worked hard to press and close down the Staines side.

Early on Banya looked sharp as he turned his man in the box but couldn’t find the finish. The striker was then brought down in the box but the penalty shouts were waived away by referee Mr Forrester.

The Swans were still threatening down both flanks but it was the visitors who were largely creating the opportunities. Jones headed over from a Goddard corner and Banya slipped his way up the goal line only to see his shot from the tightest of angles saved by Turner.

After seventy minutes Sole was tripped outside the box as he turned his marker and was presented with an early opportunity to rehearse his dead ball routine from the resulting free kick. From twenty-five yards the execution was excellent but Cards fans were disappointed to see Sole’s shot clatter off the upright with Turner motionless.

Five minutes later Woking were level with a goal out of nothing. A typical Chris Arthur run climaxed with a rasping shot from well outside the box that flew into the far corner of the net.

From then on it was largely the Cards who carried the threat. Sole fired over after good interplay between Beckles and Banya and Banya should have done better after being put through by Goddard.

But it was hosts who finally found the net to take the honours. Okuleye capitalised on some dithering in defence and ran on to slot the ball past Cole.

There was still enough time for Goddard to see his shot blocked from close range after Sole had turned the ball back into his path.

Of the trialists it is unlikely that any did enough for Garry to offer them a contract immediately after this game. Certainly Smith impressed early on and Kouassi looked promising in patches. Of the rest none particularly caught the eye.

Of the new signings Yakubu looked excellent at the back, dominant in the air and reading the game well. Poku never stopped running as he relentlessly closed down the opposition midfield, tackled and challenged. His work-rate was impressive.

And so on to Tuesday’s game at Kingfield against Oxford United. It will be interesting to see who makes the cut!

Woking: 1st Half: Nick Hamann, Jake Caprice, Lionel Stone*, Ismail Yakubu, Jordan Brown*, Evans Kouassi*, Dan Sweeney*, Keiran Murtagh, Alex Smith*, Scott Rendell, Andre Johnson*

2nd Half: Jake Cole, Joey Jones, Mark Ricketts, Brian Saah*, Chris Arthur, Reece Beckles, Godfrey Poku, John Goddard, Kazeem*, Gez Sole, Charles Banya*

* indicates Triallist

Goals: Smith 4; Arthur 77

Staines Town: Jack Turner, Erivaldo Felix, Jack Bennett, Jeremy Boakye, Darren Purse, Joe O’Cearuill, Prince M’Bengui, Ashley Lodge, Aaron Okuleye, Jack Hutchinson, David Fallah

Substitues: Tommy Brewer, Luke Wanadio, Michael Kalu, Mitchal Gough, Ahmed Abdulla, Phil Clarke

Goals: Hutchinson 6; Okuleye 22, 90
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