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Cards Come Through Late Curfew

Dan Stobbart - 3rd December 2019

Cards Come Through Late Curfew Woking 2 Chertsey Town 1
Surrey Senior Cup - First Round
December 3rd 2019

Woking just did just enough against their local opposition Chertsey Town to progress into the second round of the Surrey Senior Cup. A Max Kretzschmar penalty and Shaun Donnellan header gave the Cards an early lead and set anticipation for more to come, but a spirited Chertsey battled well, missing a first half penalty, before notching a goal back just past the hour mark through Scott Day. The visitors rallied late, but were unable to force penalties.

Dowse shuffled his side but did opt for a more experienced team than perhaps expected. Christian Paulat-Brigg started in goal, as Shaun Donnellan partnered Moussa Diarra in central defence, Jake Gray and Godfrey Poku operating just in front. Max Kretzschmar, Paul Hodges and Jack Skinner (pictured), who performed particularly well in this competition last season, attacked behind front-man Ibra Meite.

In a busy opening twenty minutes, Woking took the lead inside the opening five, Skinner receiving a nicely flighted ball from Donnellan in the area, but scrappily brought to ground by a defender, penalty awarded. Kretzschmar stepped up, and emphatically drove the kick into the top left corner.

The Curfews would respond instantly, striker Jake Baxter would almost punish the Cards not clearing their lines with a half-volley sailing wide, and also having an effort find the side netting, Lubo Guentchev also slicing an attempt narrowly over the upright following a quick counter.

It preceded Shaun Donnellan doubling the Cards lead on twelve minutes, nodding a Jack Cook aerial flick-on marginally over the line despite the best efforts of Chertsey to tip it over the bar. Confusion followed as to whether the goalkeeper or in fact a defender had handled on the line, and if the referee had actually awarded a goal kick regardless, but the goal was eventually confirmed.

Day would head over another chance in space, prior to Chertsey being awarded a spot kick themselves. A rapid transition of play put Glen Yala into the area, his quick turn forcing a trip by Collier. Baxter stepped up and struck it, his effort saved by Paulet-Brigg, who then reacted impressively to deny the rebound as well.

The remainder of the half would calm down, play still lively but absorbed largely in midfield; the attacking trio behind Meite rotating within the line but not quite able to muster opportunities in the final third. Up the other end, the runs of Baxter were a threat as Chertsey had a knack for turning play over quickly, Donnellan with a brilliant recovery challenge to prevent the striker getting a shot off close to goal.

Whilst in a race down the right with Diarra, Baxter got to the byline and forced a corner just on the verge of half-time. In the duel, Diarra unfortunately pulled up with what looked like a hamstring tweak, the Frenchman heading straight down the tunnel after getting to his feet.

Half-Time: Woking 2 Chertsey Town 0

Josh Casey came on at half-time in place of Diarra, Nathan Collier would then move into central defence to partner Donnellan.

Baxter set out to punish a Poku misplaced pass, striking well from the edge of the box, the ball slightly deflecting and whistling just over the bar.

The Cards began to generate activity in the final third, Paul Hodges unexpectedly received the ball in space, and instinctively played back to Skinner, unfortunately losing the opportunity to get in behind and do damage. He would then turn provider for Skinner, spearheading a swift break from inside his own half and producing a measured through-ball, Skinner marginally beaten to it by the defender.

Hodges would then be brought down on the right-hand side; Kretzschmar's delivery was a perfectly measured one, finding Jack Cook in space, only to side foot first-time over the bar.

Chertsey had been starting to threaten down the left side, and got reward from a corner kick just past the hour, Guentchev’s delivery powerfully met at the near post by Day.

In reaction to the goal, the game opened up a bit on entering the last twenty minutes, Baxter initially not getting a good contact on a corner delivery before having another crack at it, catching the ball with force, and bringing out a good near post save from Paulet-Brigg.

Dowse brought on Jamar Loza for Skinner as Woking looked to rally and put the game to bed. Kretzschmar had a couple of efforts drift off target including a free kick; Hodges deftly took down a Gray flighted ball and strike just wide, before Gray himself came agonisingly close, smacking the underside of the bar from just inside the area.

Kretzschmar and Meite linked well a couple of times, one attack just ruled offside, the other finding Loza on the left side of the area, who did well under challenge to get a shot off, the effort saved well.

The Curfews forced the issue in the final minutes, winning a succession of corners and putting in testing deliveries, and Day would have a couple of shots blocked before bringing out a diving catch from Paulet-Brigg.

Ultimately a tricky negotiation for Woking against lower league opposition, but the strong albeit positionally variable Cards side held out and got reward for finding the net early. A home tie with Kingstonian awaits in the next round of the Surrey Senior Cup, expected to be played in early January. That's after playing the K's away from home in the Cards other continuing cup competition this term, the FA Trophy, in just under a fortnight.

Woking: 1 Chris Paulet-Brigg, 12 Nathan Collier, 2 Jack Cook, 6 Moussa Diarra (3 Josh Casey 46'), 16 Shaun Donnellan (Oliver Creed 64'), 14 Godfrey Poku, 10 Max Kretzschmar, 15 Jack Skinner (22 Jamar Loza 70’), 18 Ibrahim Meite, 24 Jake Grey

Unused subs: 1 Craig Ross, 7 Dave Tarpey

Goals: Kretzschmar 4', Donnellan 12'

Chertsey Nick Jupp, Michael Drage, Albie Sheehan-Couzens, Glen Yala (Talboys 72’) Mason Welch-Turner (Fred Hill 66’), Lubo Guentchev, Jake Baxter, Andy Crossley, Jonathan Hippolyte, Sam Murphy, Scott Day

Unused subs: Casey Maclaren, Devon Gordon, Sam Hurrell, Leon Dadey, Dale Binns

Goals: Day 64’

Referee: TBA

Attendance: 335

Man of the Match: Chris Paulet-Brigg – penalty and rebound save, key saves in the second half to ensure the Cards stayed ahead.
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