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Woking lose 'Dowson's Derby' in final warm-up game

Ben Musgrove - 25th September 2020

Woking lose 'Dowson's Derby' in final warm-up game Hampton & Richmond 3 Woking 1
Pre-Season Friendly
26th September 2020

Despite a positive pre-season with just one loss in six, a Cards side attempting to conjure a patchwork defence fell short of hosts Hampton and Richmond in a 3-1 defeat. A brace from winger Ryan Hill - taking him to nine in pre-season - and a second-half goal from striker Nathan Minhas took the game away from the visitors, despite a late consolation from one of Woking's trialists.

Injury to Ben Gerring, and the departures of Manny Parry and Moussa Diarra, have left the Woking squad short at centre back. New signing Sam Cartwright wasn't included in the matchday squad, with Jack Cook partnering Trialist 1 at the heart of defence. Cook's position meant that versatile midfielder Tommy Block shuffled to right back, with Kane Ferdinand and Charlie Cooper anchoring a midfield that included Trialist 2, Dave Tarpey (pictured) and Max Kretzschmar. A third trialist led the line against a Hampton and Richmond side matching Woking's 4-2-3-1, with an XI including ex-Cards Charlie Wassmer and Jake Gray.

Despite the gap in divisions, it was the home side who made the stronger start, opening the scoring within five minutes. A long ball into Woking's right-hand channel invited a duel between Jack Cook and Beavers' forward Nico Muir, with the latter bursting into the penalty area with his marker sprawling on the turf. His initial cutback was blocked, but the resulting chaos in the box saw the ball pop out to Ryan Hill on the left hand side of the penalty area, who lashed the ball through Craig Ross at his near post to put his side into the lead. 1-0

The goal was a burst of energy for both sides early in the game. Hill, clearly invigorated, burst through two challenges on the same wing minutes later, earning a free kick in a dangerous position that would ultimately be wasted. Minutes later, Hampton's Trialist 1 pulled out a superb stop from an inswinging Tarpey cross, blocking a point-blank shot from [Max/Trialist 3] with his legs.

While Woking did look dangerous with direct running at times - particularly through Trialist 2, who had a superb first-half under difficult circumstances - Hampton were more mature and composed with their ball retention, and took advantage by doubling their lead just before the twenty-minute mark. Trialist 1 committed a foul on the edge of the Woking D after good movement from Hampton, and Ryan Hill stepped up to fire an unsaveable free kick past the despairing Ross. 2-0

Again Woking looked to respond, and they had their best chance of the game on the half-hour mark. Trialist 2, who had the measure of full-back Imran Uche in the first half, sent in an inswinging cross from just level with the penalty area that found Trialist 3 in space at the far post. The forward's effort forced the save of the game from Hampton's Trialist 1, who flung out a hand and palmed the effort away for a corner via his woodwork.

The Cards enjoyed their best period of the game between this chance and half-time, and must have been approaching double figures for corners by the half time whistle without making the most of them. Charlie Cooper had several efforts from range, and some crosses into the box were inexplicable in their ability to avoid a touch from either side that could have halved the deficit.

That said, Hampton almost provided a sting in the tail at the end of the half. Nico Muir's effort from the left channel forced a good save from Ross, who had to be alive to palm out a second shot from Sam Deadfield moments later. Whether Woking should've been level or further behind, it was unarguable that the half should've seen more goals.

Half-time: Hampton & Richmond 2 Woking 0

The second half kicked off with only one change for either side. Nathan Collier entered the field for fullback Josh Casey, who'd spent some time receiving treatment after the heavy impact of a header just before half time.

It was the only action of note for the first ten to fifteen minutes, as has been the case in many pre-season friendlies this year. Barring a Dave Tarpey free kick that was easily claimed, the initial stages of the half were probing and unexciting. They also saw a Hampton change, with defender Dean Inman replaced by striker and summer signing Nathan Minhas.

Minhas' introduction would sting the half into life moments later. An impossibly far-reaching ball from centre-half Charlie Wassmer, fired into the left hand side of Woking's defence from just outside his own penalty area, managed to break two lines of Woking players and send Minhas in one on one. Craig Ross's charge was possibly his only option, but ultimately ill-judged, with Minhas reaching the ball first and slotting it home to put the Beavers 3-0 up on the day.

With many expecting the game to be over in terms of a final result, the goal seemed to stimulate a flurry of player changes. Dave Tarpey made way for Johnny Goddard whilst Kane Ferdinand, making his way back from injury, was replaced by youngster Jayden Wareham for the visitors. Shortly after clashing with Hampton's trialist keeper, Trialist 3 was replaced by Woking's new #9, Connor Hall. Hampton also moved to make several changes, with Danny Bassett and Tyrell Miller-Rodney replacing Sam Deadfield and Ru Donaldson.

These changes stymied the game to an extent, with the last twenty minutes failing to produce consistent chances. The only notable incident until very late in the game was an altercation between Kretzschmar and Niko Muir, with the latter responding to a clear foul by appearing to stand on Max's hand. The resulting scuffle made it plain how unexciting the latter stages of the game had been for quality chances. Hampton's trialist goalkeeper, who ran fifty yards to protect Muir from punishment, was substituted shortly after the incident for summer signing Myles Bowman.

Jack Cook challenges for a ball; pic: David Holmes

There was one more goal to come, and it was a consolation for the visitors. Excellent close control from substitute Johnny Goddard, wriggling away from two challenges in Woking's left-back area, saw the midfielder fire a ball down the Woking left into the path of Connor Hall. The substitute outmuscled Imran Uche and cut into the Hampton area looking to shoot. While his finish was well-saved, the rebound fell to Trialist 2, who slotted his finish beneath the keeper to deny Hampton the clean sheet.

The final whistle blew moments later, and while Hampton should be praised for a professional and effective performance, the result will also be food for thought for Alan Dowson. The negatives of a 3-1 loss certainly shouldn't outweigh a positive pre-season in unique and difficult circumstances, with the Cards going unbeaten for more than a month. That said, the need to reinforce the Woking defence, and find replacements for key players like Moussa Diarra, represent a challenge for the coming weeks and months.

Woking: 1. Craig Ross, 2. Tommy Block, 3. Josh Casey (Nathan Collier 45), 4. Charlie Cooper, 5. Trialist 1, 6. Jack Cook, 7. Dave Tarpey (Johnny Goddard 57'), 8. Kane Ferdinand (Jayden Wareham 62'), 9. Trialist 3, 10. Max Kretzschmar, 11. Trialist 2 (Connor Hall 67')

Unused subs: Harvey White, Leo Hamblin

Goals: Trialist 2, 90'

Bookings: N/A

Hampton & Richmond 1. Trialist 1 (Myles Bowerman 84'), 2. Imran Uche, 3. Rene Steer (Kyron Farrell 81'), 4. Dean Inman (Nathan Minhas 55'), 5. Charlie Wassmer, 6. Ru Donaldson (Danny Bassett 69'), 7. Ryan Hill (Razzaq Coleman 81'), 8. Sam Deadfield (Tyrell Miller-Rodney 69'), 10. Niko Muir, 11. Jake Gray (David Amate 84'), 15. Christian Smith

Unused subs: N/A

Goals: Hill 5', 18', Minhas 58'

Bookings: N/A

Referee: TBA

Attendance: Behind Closed Doors

Man of the Match: Trialist 2: the winger was the only consistent source of danger for Woking on a disappointing afternoon, creating the Cards' most dangerous chance of the entire game and requiring Hampton to double up on him in the second half.
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