Cards tormented in Torquay

Michael Phillips
12:00am, Sat 28th Dec 2019
Torquay United 4 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
28th December 2019

The Cards continued to struggle for form at Plainmoor with Dowse ruing cruel deflections and some controversial decisions, including the sending off of Godfrey Poku eight minutes into the second half. The final 4-1 scoreline was harsh on Woking who were well in the match before going down to ten men and even then battled valiantly before the home side added insult to injury with two further goals before the final whistle.

Dowse promised changes after the Cards’ disappointing defeat to Sutton United on Boxing Day and he duly delivered with Craig Ross, Josh Casey (out with a shoulder injury), Kane Ferdinand and Shaun Donellan all making way for Sam Howes, Nathan Collier, Jake Gray and Max Kretzschmar as he looked to freshen things up against a Torquay United side on a poor run of form.

The whole match was a frantic affair with plenty of action and it took just two minutes for the home side to test Sam Howes when Robbie Cundy swivelled in the area from an early Torquay free kick and forced the Woking keeper’ into a low save. This was quickly followed two minutes later by the first corner of the match which Ruairi Keating headed over the bar.

Woking responded in the 7th minute having won a corner following a miss kick from Jean-Yves Koue Niate. Max Kretzschmar’s dangerous delivery was diverted goalwards but was cleared off the line by Aaron Nemane. Moments later Jamar Loza fired a wild long range effort well over the crossbar while at the other end Howes showed some early nerves for the Cards fumbling a Ben Whitfield cross out for a corner while under pressure from Keating.

Torquay continued to put the pressure on and in the 9th minute Joe Lewis tried to pick out Jamie Reid and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans at the back post and the combination of them diverted the ball wide under pressure from Jack Cook and Ben Gerring although the referee surprisingly gave a corner. The Cards defence dealt with that and another free kick from which Loza broke down the left and was stopped in his tracks by a clear shirt pull from Lewis who was shown the yellow card.

The resulting free kick proved fruitful for Woking. Kretzschmar’s delivery was met by Moussa Diarra and he looped the ball over onrushing keeper’ Lucas Covolan Cavagnari only for it to be diverted off the line by Asa Hall. Woking weren’t to be denied this time though and Dave Tarpey reached the rebound first and drilled it back across goal for Hyde to convert from a yard out to give the Cards the lead after 12 minutes.

Hyde almost struck again two minutes later, his deflected long range effort parried away by the keeper’ and then he had a looping header plucked out of the air by Covolan Cavagnari from the aftermath of the resulting corner when Poku picked him out at the back post. The Gulls immediately hit back when Keating could not quite get on the end of Reid’s low cross. Another Woking corner caused problems for the home side in the 18th minute - Diarra winning the first header and Hyde stabbing the ball goalwards only for a combination of ‘keeper and Evans scrambling it away from goal.

Cundy volleyed a free kick over before the home side grabbed an equaliser in the 25th minute. The referee played a good advantage in the build up to allow Nemane to get down the right and although Nathan Collier blocked his initial cross it fell kindly for him to knock back to Hall and his low effort from just inside the area deflected off Jake Gray before wrong footing Howes and nestling in the bottom corner of the net. Gray was booked two minutes later for a reckless slide on Whitfield and Koue Niate half volleyed the resulting free kick into the arms of Howes.

The Cards had a golden opportunity to retake the lead in the 29th minute when Gray released Tarpey down the left side of the penalty area but his low shot whistled past the in rushing Hyde, keeper’ and, crucially, the far post. Kretzschmar found himself booked for a lunge on Kyle Cameron before Evans rifled in a low free kick which was well held by Howes after Gerring had been penalised for a foul on Keating.

In the 37th minute, the Cards fell behind and it was fair to say that luck was not on their side. Whitfield cut inside from the right wing and drove the ball towards the goal past the outstretched boots of both Kretzschmar and Poku. Gerring deflected it away from the target but also onto Diarra's chest and it diverted goalwards. Howes did well to re-adjust and claw it onto the post before it rebounded into the path of Reid who was left with a simple tap in. A livid Howes was booked for sprinting over to the assistant referee, who had half raised her flag, to protest the goal along with many of the Cards' management and players. After a very brief consultation with his assistant, the referee pointed to the centre spot to indicate the goal would stand. Just before the end of the half, Poku was booked for a late challenge on Keating and the resulting free kick was held by Howes at the second attempt.

Half-time: Torquay United 2 Woking 1

Seven minutes into the second half Keating was shown the yellow card for a late challenge on Diarra but it was the Cards who were to suffer the most from disciplinary action a minute later. Poku clumsily barraged into Whitfield on the edge of the Torquay United penalty area causing them both to go down clutching their heads. Despite this, the referee allowed Nemane to continue but after Gray had shepherded his run out for a goal kick, he returned to the scene of the incident and produced a second yellow card to Poku to reduce Woking to ten men. Then Assistant Manager Ian Dyer became the next culprit for a yellow card, presumably for dissent.

The Cards weren't ready to throw in the towel just yet though and Diarra and Cook threw themselves in the way of attempts at goal from Reid and Whitfield before Gray capitalised on a loose ball in the midfield and drove towards goal before drilling a low shot to the left of Covolan Cavagnari, forcing him to parry the ball behind for a corner. That was to be his last touch as he was replace by Kane Ferdinand before the resulting corner fell kindly for Woking in the area but despite Cook, Diarra and Gerring all being in the vicinity they couldn't aim at the target..

In the 63rd minute, Tarpey did manage to get a shot away having been released down the right by Kretzschmar but his fierce drive whistled over the bar. Unsurprisingly given the extra man, the home side fought back, substitute Jake Andrews having an immediate impact when his long range shot was deflected behind for a corner by Gerring before Evans run and cross got a crucial touch from Cook to divert it away from Keating with the goal at his mercy.

Evans curled a long range effort wide before the home side put the game beyond the Cards in the 71st minute with a third goal. Once again, a deflection played its part. Andrews picked out Reid in the penalty area but he was marshalled by Diarra who was within a yard from him as he attempted to centre, however, the ball looped up off the Woking defender's boot and into the path of Whitfield who bundled the ball into the net from inside the six yard box.

The Cards still weren't quite ready to give in though and Loza latched onto a long ball over the top by Collier and forced a save from the keeper' before the visitor's captain for the day was replaced by Hodges. Woking's second substitute almost managed to pull a wayward cross back for Hyde but the ball was adjudged to have gone behind for a goal kick and Hyde himself was then pulled up for a handball moments before he forced the home side's keeper' into another save to his left. A last ditch tackle from Diarra was needed to stop Reid in the 84th minute and then Howes had to dive low to stop substitute Jared Lewington converting the preceding loose ball into the bottom corner of the net. Howes was also called into action to make a great stop from Reid in the 89th minute after Evans had picked out his central run from out wide. Loza shot wildly over in added on time before the home side added a fourth in the fifth minute of injury time. Reid picking out the run of Keating over the top and Howes caught in no man’s land as the ball was curled round him and into the back of the net.

It was a horrible way to end a wonderful year for the Cards but they will get a chance to make amends on New Years Day when they visit in form Sutton United.

Torquay United: 28. Lucas Covolan Cavagnari, 4. Kyle Cameron , 5. Jean-Yves Koue Niate, 6. Joe Lewis, 7. Ruairi Keating, 8. Asa Hall (C) (11. Jake Andrews 64’), 17. Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 19. Jamie Reid, 25. Robbie Cundy, 30. Aaron Nemane (29. Jared Lewington 67'), 34. Ben Whitfield (27. Lloyd James 79’).

Unused subs: 13. Andy Collings, 18. Olaf Koszela.

Bookings: Lewis 11', Keating 52'

Goals: Hall 25’, Reid 37', Whitfield 71', Keating 90+5'.

Woking (4-3-3): 1. Sam Howes; 2. Jack Cook, 6. Moussa Diarra, 5. Ben Gerring, 12. Nathan Collier (C) (11. Paul Hodges 76’), 14. Godfrey Poku, 24. Jake Gray (8. Kane Ferdinand 61’), 10. Max Kretzschmar; 22. Jamar Loza, 7. Dave Tarpey, 9. Jake Hyde.

Unused subs: 13. Craig Ross, 4. Manny Parry, 16. Shaun Donellan.

Goals: Hyde 12'.

Bookings: Gray 27', Kretzschmar 32', Howes 37', Poku 45+1', Dyer 57'.

Sent Off: Poku 53'.

Referee: James Durkin

Attendance: 3,078 (183 away)

Man of the Match Moussa Diarra - difficult to pick but Moussa had a key part in the Cards goal and made several key blocks. Unfortunately, he didn’t have better luck with so

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