MKJ Group
3:00pm - SundaySun 5th MayMay 2019
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 2917

3 - 2


Cards ready for Wealdstone play-off challenge

Glen Harrington
10:41am, Sat 4th May 2019
Woking vs Wealdstone
Vanarama National League South
Sunday 5th May 2019

The Cards are just two games away from an immediate return to the National League. However, they face a tough road through the end of season play-offs starting this Sunday, when Wealdstone will be the visitors to the Laithwaite Community Stadium.

Whilst comparative league placings and point tallies, along with home advantage makes Woking firm favourites on paper this weekend, reality suggests this will be anything but an easy ride. Alan Dowson’s side have somewhat limped into the play-offs with just one win in the last eight league games, whilst three of our last four home league matches have ended in defeat, our last win coming against Chippenham back in early March. Add in the fact that the Raiders have already done the double over the Cards this season and you can understand why there will likely be some nervous faces around Kingfield come 3pm tomorrow. Despite an indifferent run to end the season recent performances in big games have been good, with an excellent display against champions Torquay last month, as well as a comfortable victory over Dulwich Hamlet to belatedly secure second place. Dowse and co will no doubt be confident that with a big crowd behind them that they can make home advantage pay and progress to the final against either Welling United or Chelmsford City.

While Woking’s play-off place has long since been secured, Wealdstone come into the end of season shoot-out riding a wave of momentum, after sneaking into seventh place on the final day of their regular season campaign. Ironically, it was Bath City’s victory over Billericay Town, combined with their win over Hemel Hempstead, which saw them qualify – before they then eliminated the Romans at Twerton Park on Wednesday with a hard-fought 3-1 victory. Their recent form is naturally good with an impressive 3-0 win over Chelmsford preceding their victories over Hemel and Bath, although their previous two games, away to Hampton and at home to Dulwich, did both end in defeat. Their biggest concern coming into Sunday’s game is likely to be around goalkeeper Jonathan North, who has inspired Bobby Wilkinson’s team to two clean sheets against the Cards already this season, but was forced off late on against Bath after a collision with Ryan Brunt who was sent off for the challenge.

The games don’t get much bigger than this, it’s our first play-off game of any kind since 2011, so come along if you can and get behind the team!

Woking Team News

Dowse chose to rest a number of players for the game against Gloucester and the likes of Greg Luer, Max Kretzschmar and Olu Durojaiye could all be restored to the starting line-up.

In defence, the back five looks likely to pick itself with Craig Ross playing behind Jack Cook, Ben Gerring, Moussa Diarra and Josh Casey; although Sam Mason’s man-of-the-match performance from the bench last time out could well put him in contention if Ross in not fully fit. Nathan Collier will likely have to make do with a place on the bench.

In midfield, Armani Little’s place looks secure, with Durojaiye, a returning Kane Ferdinand and Christian Jolley fighting it out to play alongside him. Kretzschmar should return in his preferred attacking midfield role although Paul Hodges and James Ferry offer alternatives.

Up front, Dowse will hope he has Reise Allassani available again after his double against Dulwich, with Greg Luer and Kieron Cadogan set to be the other two names on the teamsheet. The likes of Jake Hyde and Harvey Bradbury will provide the attacking flair from the bench.

Wealdstone Team News

For their win over Bath, the Raiders started with the following team: North in goal, a defence of Rhys Taylor, Freddie Grant, Connor Stevens and Jerome Okimo, formerly of Stevenage and Braintree; in midfield was the industrious former Woking man Godfrey Poku alongside Christian Smith, who has plenty of experience of these kind of big games with Chelmsford and Maidenhead; out wide were the dangerous Jeffrey Monakana, once on the books of Arsenal and later Brighton, along with Jake Sheppard who scored the opening goal before being forced off after 25 minutes; up front was Stefan Brown supported by Danny Green. Star man David Pratt, who has caused the Cards plenty of problems already this season, came off the bench to score his team’s third.

One other former Woking connection in the Wealdstone squad is striker Bradley Bubb, although he wasn’t involved at all in the game against Bath on Wednesday.

Admission Prices

• Adults £15
• Over 65s £10
• Disabled (Including carer) £10
• Students (Under 19) £5
• U16s £5

Tickets are also available ahead of the game through our online booking system.

Our matchday programme will be on sale for £3. Don’t forget to grab your copy on the way in! You’ll also be able to visit the club shop for more great offers.

Remember, as with all cup games, a season ticket does not offer entry to this fixture.

Cards sink Stones with dramatic late fightback

Alex Wright
12:00am, Sun 5th May 2019
Woking 3 Wealdstone 2
National League South Play-Off Semi-Final
5th May 2019

Woking staged a dramatic second-half fightback to book their place in the National League South play-off final against Welling United.

Trailing to early strikes by Wealdstone’s Freddie Grant and Connor Stevens with 14 minutes to go, after which even the most optimistic Woking fan must have written off their chances, the Cards produced one of the most stunning comebacks in recent memory.

First man-of-the-match Moussa Diarra headed home Max Kretzschmar’s corner on 76 minutes before Kretzschmar himself smashed in the equaliser with four minutes left on the clock and then Jake Hyde flicked the ball past keeper Mark Scott for the winner deep into injury time.

Cue scenes of sheer delirium around Kingfield as all the players and management celebrated in front of a packed Leslie Gosden Stand.

Woking had made sure of second place and home advantage courtesy of a 3-1 victory at Dulwich Hamlet on Easter Monday. But those players still trying to secure a starting berth for the play-offs did their chances little good thanks to a drab 2-1 home defeat to lowly Gloucester City on the final day of the season.

This was the second season running that boss Alan Dowson has been involved in the play-offs, having lost to Braintree Town 4-3 on penalties in last year’s final. However, he was hoping to go one step better this time despite a less than convincing second half of the season.

Wealdstone had already done the double over Woking this season, bringing their winning start to an abrupt halt with a 1-0 win at Grosvenor Vale back in August after an 85-minute Matt Lench penalty. Then the Cards were undone by first-half strikes by Tarry Allarakhia and David Pratt in the return leg at Kingfield in January.
The Stones snuck into the play-offs after coming from behind to beat Hemel Hempstead Town on the final day of the regular season. And they continued their momentum with a 3-1 victory at fifth-placed Bath City in Wednesday night’s play-off eliminator.
Among the most familiar names in the Wealdstone ranks was former Cards midfielder Godfrey Poku. But influential keeper Jonathan North was ruled out after a serious head injury sustained in the Bath game.

Dowson also rang the changes, restoring Scott Durojaiye, Reise Allassani, Greg Luer and Max Kretzschmar to the side with Jake Hyde, Paul Hodges and Kane Ferdinand dropping to the bench, and James Ferry missing out altogether.

The game burst into life as early as the second minute when Grant crossed the ball and it was punched away by Craig Ross. The follow-up was smartly met by Rhys Taylor on the half-volley but his effort flicked off Josh Casey’s head and over the bar.

But Grant made Woking pay for their lackadaisical defending from the resulting corner by Daniel Green, arriving late in box to head home.

Shortly after Jake Sheppard found his way into referee James Durkin’s book for a crude challenge on Armani Little.

Kretzschmar was next to try his luck from 30 yards but his effort was comfortably dealt with by Mark Scott in the Wealdstone goal.

Moments later, however, Stevens doubled Wealdstone’s advantage on 19 minutes as Woking went to sleep and were again undone by a Green corner, this time from the other side, Stevens firing beyond the despairing dive of Ross.

Chances were at a premium with the Cards failing to produce anything of note as Durojaiye joined Sheppard in the book for a robust tackle on Christian Smith who was later subbed for Simon Mensah as the half drew to a close with Woking going in 2-0 down.

Half-time: Woking 0 Wealdstone 2

The second half started with the same frenzy as the first with Woking’s appeals for a penalty after a handball by Stevens in the Wealdstone box waved away by Durkin. Moments later Kretzschmar’s corner was met by the advancing Jack Cook but his header was just over.

Then on 61 minutes Ben Gerring rattled his header against the Wealdstone bar with Scott beaten, but the ball was scrambled to safety.

With the game seemingly ebbing away from Woking, Dowson had seen enough and brought on Hodges and Hyde for Allassani and Kieron Cadogan.

Little was then booked for a reckless challenge on Sheppard as frustration crept in.

Dowson then made his last roll of the dice, bringing on Ferdinand for Durojaiye. The changes paid swift dividends as moments later Diarra rose above the Wealdstone defence to head home Kretzschmar’s corner to halve the deficit and set up a grandstand finish.

Little was then alert to pick up a quickly taken Hodges free-kick and he raced into the box. An almighty goalmouth scramble ensued but Kretzschmar was in the right place to force the ball home and level matters.

It was end-to-end stuff with Taylor also trying his luck from 30 yards but Ross comfortably caught it.

With extra time beckoning, Hodges flicked the ball over the top to Hyde who chipped the ball past Scott in the second minute of extra time to send the Kingfield faithful into raptures and set up a winner takes all clash at home to Welling next Sunday.

Hyde lifts the ball into the net to complete stunning Cards comeback; pic: David Holmes

However, the Cards will need to play much better from the start if they are to overcome an extremely strong Welling outfit that saw off Chelmsford City 3-2 courtesy of a Brendan Kiernan penalty in the sixth minute of injury time.

Woking: 1 Craig Ross, 2 Jack Cook, 3 Josh Casey (c), 4 Olu Durojaiye (16 Kane Ferdinand 76’), 5 Ben Gerring, 6 Moussa Diarra, 7 Reise Allassani (15 Paul Hodges 62’), 8 Armani Little, 9 Greg Luer, 10 Max Kretzschmar, 11 Kieron Cadogan (14 Jake Hyde 65’)

Unused subs: 12 Nathan Collier, 18 Sam Mason

Goals: Diarra 76’, Kretzschmar 86’, Hyde 90+3’

Bookings: Durojaiye 31’, Little 70’

Wealdstone 1 Mark Scott, 2 Rhys Tyler, 3 Freddie Grant, 4 Connor Stevens, 5 Jerome Okimo (c), 6 Godfrey Poku, 7 Jeffrey Monakana, 8 Christian Smith (14 Simon Mensah 33’), 9 David Pratt (James Clark 84’), 10 Daniel Green, 11 Jake Sheppard

Unused subs: 12 Glen Wilson, 13 Sonny Wheeler, 17 Stefan Brown

Goals: Grant 3’, Stevens 19’

Booking: Sheppard 13’

Referee: James Durkin

Attendance: 2, 917

Man of the Match: Moussa Diarra – the man mountain didn’t put a foot wrong all game, winning all his headers and scoring the crucial first goal that started Woking’s remarkable comeback
1Craig Ross
2Jack Cook
3Josh Casey
4Olu Durojaiye ('76)
5Ben Gerring
6Moussa Diarra
7Reise Allassani ('62)
8Armani Little
9Greg Luer
10Max Kretzschmar
11Kieron Cadogan ('65)
12Nathan Collier
14Jake Hyde ('65)
15Paul Hodges ('62)
16Kane Ferdinand ('76)
18Sam Mason
Wealdstone LINEUP
1Mark Scott
2Rhys Tyler
3Freddie Grant
4Connor Stevens
5Jerome Okimo
6Godfrey Poku
7Jeffrey Monakana
8Christian Smith ('33)
9David Pratt ('84)
10Daniel Green
11Jake Sheppard
12Glenn Wilson
14Sonny Wheeler
15Simon Mensah ('33)
16James Clark
17Stefan Brown ('84)

Woking 3 - 2 Wealdstone | Dowse Interview

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