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A strong feeling of déjà vu as the Cards win a friendly at Farnborough

John Pearce - 6th November 2018

A strong feeling of déjà vu as the Cards win a friendly at Farnborough Farnborough 1 Woking 3
Friendly
6th November 2018

On a dry, mild early November evening, Woking travelled to Farnborough for a hastily arranged friendly game.

Although rumours abound as to why a good relationship with Farnborough is being nurtured at present, for Alan Dowson the primary objective was presumably to give players returning from injury a run-out. If so, this ambition was largely thwarted as the two Oxford United loanees, Bradbury and Little, were recalled by their parent club for their EFL Trophy game at Wycombe; in the event, only the former played for them, as a sub for the last few minutes. Christian Jolley warmed up with the squad before the game, but was not on the bench, while Charlie Wassmer is now out on loan at Leatherhead.

There were three ‘new’ faces in the Woking starting line-up. Two Academy players, Jack Skinner and Brandon Lewington made their debuts, plus the somewhat older Michael Kamara whom Dowson would have known from Hampton and Richmond - the same Michael Kamara who played 15 or so games for Woking in the ‘memorable’ 2008/09 season including a few alongside tonight’s returnee Dan Spence.

The Yellows’ line-up may forever remain a mystery. Their squad is understood to be subject to regular change. On approaching members of their management team with the naïve question of whether or not there was a team sheet, I was met with smiles and the man called Spencer looked skywards and said something to the effect of ‘Who knows?’. Someone else walked past me and ask if everything was ok; when I responded ‘apart from not knowing who’s playing’, the response was ‘I’m only the Chairman; I haven’t a clue’.

The first half was largely uneventful, with Woking generally on top. In the 26th minute, a ball floated into the Farnborough box from Woking’s left was headed down by Greg Luer for Max Kretzschmar to stab home and open the scoring for Woking. On 38 minutes, Kretzschmar’s shot from the left corner of the area sailed over the Yellows’ bar.

Half-time: Farnborough 0 Woking 1

Woking’s dominance continued into the second half; in the first 5 minutes, a shot from Paul Hodges sailed past the Farnborough keeper to his left, and a pass from him enabled Kretzschmar to stab the ball home for his second goal of the evening.

Some characteristically strong running past defenders by Hodges in the 53th minute led to a past to Luer on the left of the Farnborough area but his strike was cleared.

A minute later, Dowse made the only Woking substitution of the evening, brining on Charlie Hester-Cook for Kretzschmar.

On 56th minutes, Farnborough won a free kick in a dangerous position near the left hand corner of Woking’s area. Their blonde-haired No. 4 drove the ball straight into Berti Schotterl’s arms.

A determined Ofori-Acheampong (DOA) got his own head to a ball headed upwards by a Farnborough defender in front of their goal, nodding it down neatly into the path of an advancing Luer who struck it into the back of the net with some ease, giving the Cards a 3-0 lead in the 60th minute.

Farnborough, having made a number of substitutions after half-time, finally upped their game in the 80th minute and finished strongly. Their No. 16, Connor Cullen, picked up the ball just outside of Woking’s box and, moving goalwards, skilfully chipped the ball over Kamara, who had been tracking him, and Schotterl for an excellent consolation goal.

An energetic and physical encounter between DOA and a couple of Farnborough defenders in the far corner on the right included him picking himself up after being floored and finally kicking the ball out over the adjacent buildings in frustration; he was ticked off by the ref for his efforts.

With four minutes left, a good move by Farnborough led to an accurate cross from the right of the box met by a strong header which went straight into Schotterl’s hands; he saved a shot from their No. 6 in similar fashion a minute later.

I guess that it was a useful workout for Woking on the night, particularly if no fresh injuries arose. They dominated the encounter until towards the end. Of the youngsters, Skinner was combative and effective in midfield, perhaps similar in style to Hester-Cook, while Lewington was fairly anonymous but maybe his time will come. Dowse may be looking at Kamara as an ‘old head’ he knows who can provide useful cover at centre back in the continuing absence of Wassmer, whether on a short- or longer-term basis. Looking forward to the key FA Cup encounter at Torquay at the weekend, it’s hard to think that any of these three will come into the reckoning.

Of the established players, Luer showed glimpses of quality and Hodges went on those surging runs that take him past opponents; DOA made himself a nuisance up front at times with that endearing ‘hit and miss’ style of his. However, it’s difficult to believe that any significant new lessons were learnt on the night.

Woking: 1 Berti Schotterl, 2 Dan Choules, 3 Dan Spence, 4 Ian Gayle, 5 Michael Kamara, 6 Jack Skinner, 7 Greg Luer, 8 Paul Hodges, 9 Duane Ofori-Acheampong, 10 Max Kretzschmar (14 Charlie Hester-Cook 54’), 11 Brandon Lewington

Unused subs: Craig Ross, Nicky Wheeler, Nathan Collier, Josh Casey, Jake Hyde

Goals: Kretzschmar 26’, 49’, Luer 60’

Bookings: None

Farnborough Goals: Connor Cullen 80’

Bookings: None

Attendance: 125-150 (estimate)

Man of the Match: Greg Luer. One goal, one assist and generally displayed more composure and class than others on the pitch on the night.
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