Cool Kretzschmar sends Gulls out as Woking reign in the rain

Michael Phillips
12:00am, Sat 10th Nov 2018

Torquay United 0 Woking 1
F.A. Cup 1st Round Proper
10th November 2018

A professional and hard-fought Cards' performance saw them through to the F.A. Cup 2nd round in a close battle with Torquay United as Dowse's side managed a narrow victory at a stormy Plainmoor. Following three consecutive home draws, Woking faced a trip to Devon to try and extend their run in the F.A. Cup. Dowse made two changes to the team that grabbed a point in injury time against Chippenham Town last week, Max Kretzschmar (pictured above) and the returning Oxford United loanee Armani Little replacing Greg Luer and Duane Ofori-Acheampong.

Woking lined up in their classic red and white halves to take on the home side, adorned in yellow. Torquay started the brighter of the two teams and it took them less than 60 seconds to force Craig Ross into the first save of the match – blocking Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala’s low shot from a tight angle. The Gulls followed this up with two free kicks and from the second they managed to get the ball into the back of the net. James Andrews' free kick headed back across goal by captain Kyle Cameron and bundled in by Jean-Yves Koue Niate, however, the goal was ruled out for offside.

Woking managed to hit back on the quarter of the hour mark, Kretzschmar getting in behind the Torquay defence and striking a low attempt goal-wards but goalkeeper' Shaun MacDonald did well to divert the ball away to keep the game goalless. Minutes later, Kretzschmar managed to get away a second effort at goal after good play from the Cards but Ryan Dickson did well to block his effort.

After a fast-paced ten-minute period with no real clear cut chances, Torquay stamped their authority back on the match in the 26th minute when the tricky Lumbombo-Kalala made enough space for a good cross from a wide position, attempting to pick out Jamie Reid, but the ball eluded him and the far post, bouncing just wide. Moments later the home side won a free kick just outside the corner mark which eventually ended up at the feet of Andrews who whipped the ball towards the goal and Ross had to be alert to tip the ball behind for another corner which the Cards successfully defended.

Gary Johnson's team continued to pile on the pressure and in the 34th minute produced the best move of the match. Following some neat build-up, Saikou Janneh got clear down the wing and found Ben Wynter on the run and he picked out Lumbombo-Kalala in the area who volleyed at goal only for Ross to turn it away with a spectacular save. Two minutes later and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans was released down the left and found Lumbombo-Kalala, who set out to shoot once again. Ross was quick to get down low to turn the ball away from goal but the ball fell to Reid who somehow shot over from close range as the home side squandered the best opportunity of the match so far.

Woking were still failing to create any clear opportunities despite having a respectable amount of possession and were relying on some last ditch defending from Gerring and Cook and some great goalkeeping from Ross to keep them level. To finish the half there were two more attempts at goal - one from either side. First Lemonheigh-Evans went on a wonderful solo run before firing in a long-range effort which Ross was able to hold while at the other end Jake Hyde managed to get away a low effort from outside the area but it was tame and easy for MacDonald to deal with. Moments after that the referee blew the half time whistle and Dowse would have been happy going into the break with the match goalless.

Half-time: Torquay United 0 Woking 0

The second half began as frantically as most of the first half had been. The Gulls won an early corner and it was met by Janneh at the near post before being cleared off the goal line. Woking responded immediately when 30 seconds later Jamar Loza latched onto a loose ball in behind the home defence and raced into the area. He went tumbling down under the challenge of Niate and the referee pointed to the penalty spot and produced the first yellow card of the match for the Torquay man. Kretzschmar was always going to take the penalty for the Cards and was as reliable as always with the pressure on, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to put Dowse's men 1-0 up in the 48th minute.

Torquay tried valiantly to get back into the match but were left frustrated by the Woking offside trap and the time taken to take the resulting free kicks. Ten minutes after Woking's opening goal, Janneh was set free down the right-hand side but took one touch too many as he tried to get a clean strike on goal. From a tight angle, he could only manage a fierce attempt into the side netting.

In the 64th minute, Johnson opted to change things around in a bid to get back in the game and brought on Ruairi Keating for Andrews. It almost had the desired effect two minutes later when Reid nipped in ahead of Gerring and Ross to meet a cross from Dickson but his flicked header whistled over the bar. Torquay fans were then left fuming when Janneh picked up the ball inside the area and was clattered into by Gerring but the referee had already stopped play for an earlier foul on Lumbombo-Kalala by Little, who was shown the second yellow card of the match. Two minutes later and his midfielder partner Hester-Cook was also booked for a late challenge.

The team in yellow had plenty of free kicks to put pressure on the Woking defence but the Cards were defending valiantly to keep their lead. In the 78th minute, Lumbombo-Kalala managed to find space for yet another shot at goal but could only watch his curling effort flash just wide of the post off the outside of his right boot. With ten minutes to go, both sides made a substitution for the closing stages, Ian Gayle came on for the cautioned Hester-Cook and ex-Card Brett Williams replaced Janneh. The visitors continued to defend admirably with Torquay fans frustrated with the referee for not reprimanding perceived offences in the Woking penalty area for shirt pulling and then later a foul on Williams. They did however approve of him adding Ross's name into the book for time wasting in the 83rd minute.

As the 323 Woking fans were in full voice urging their team on to victory, Johnson chose to roll the dice one last time giving Olaf Koszela the chance to make a late impact in place of Lumbombo-Kalala. The late action was frantic with Wynter and Kretzschmar both seeing yellow cards for a late tackle and kicking the ball away respectively. One final opportunity fell to the visitors and it would have gone in the net had it not been for some spectacular last ditch defending from Dowse's men. Reid smashed in a low effort and the ball pinged around the penalty area after the rebound had come off Williams at the far post and seemed to be cleared off the line three or four times before finally being smashed upfield and away from danger. Goalkeeper MacDonald ending up in the Woking penalty area for a last-minute corner in the match's tense finale but the Cards stood resolute once again and the final whistle blew following another clearance.

It was a thrilling and frantic cup tie and the home side will feel aggrieved to have lost it having had some great chances but from a Woking perspective it was a brave and professional performance against a strong and rejuvenated side under Johnson. The club now awaits the 2nd Round draw on Monday with much anticipation.

Woking: 1 Craig Ross, 2 Nathan Collier, 3 Josh Casey, 4 Jack Cook, 5 Ben Gerring, 6 Charlie Hester-Cook (19 Ian Gayle 82’), 7 Toby Edser, 8 Armani Little, 9 Jake Hyde, 10 Max Kretzschmar, 11 Jamar Loza.

Unused subs: 12 Duane Ofori-Acheampong, 14 Paul Hodges, 15 Dan Spence, 16 Greg Luer, 17 Nicky Wheeler, 18 Berti Schotterl (GK).

Goals: Kretzschmar (Pen) 48’.

Bookings: Little 70’, Hester-Cook 72’, Ross 83’, Kretzschmar 90’.

Torquay United 1 Shaun MacDonald, 2 Ben Wynter, 3 Liam Davis, 10 Saikou Janneh (9 Brett Williams 82’), 11 Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 15 Jean-Yves Koue Niate, 16 Ryan Dickson, 17 Kyle Cameron, 18 Jake Andrews (7 Ruairi Keating 64’) Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala (21 Olaf Koszela 86’)

Unused subs: 6 Jamie Sendles-White, 13 George Burton (GK), 22 Josh Baxter

Bookings: Niate 47’, Wynter 86’.

Referee: Declan Bourne

Attendance: 2419 (323 Woking Fans)

Man of the Match: Ben Gerring – a towering performance at the heart of the Woking defence

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