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Goalless run-out in friendly against QPR in near apocalyptic conditions

John Pearce
12:00am, Tue 14th Jan 2020
Woking 0 QPR U23s 0
Tuesday 14th January 2019

Your intrepid reporter arrived 3 minutes after the kick-off for this one, which had been brought forward to a 7:30pm start, with a reduced half-time interval, due to the ‘inclement’ weather. The arrival of Storm Brendan meant rain- and wind-swept conditions for this late arranged friendly against QPR U23s, designed to fill a gap in the schedule following our early exit from the FA Trophy, and to enable management to run the eye over a couple of potential additions to the squad.

An understandably small crowd was crammed into the two old stands.

It was also an early opportunity to see new signing Alex Wall – with the ink barely dry on the paper – the tall bustling striker who has been a scourge of the Cards for other clubs in the past. This must mean that we’re close to the little known limit on the permitted quota of ex-Maidenhead forwards?

Only 2 or 3 players from the Cards senior squad were rested on the night, with a couple of trialists in the starting line-up – in what looked like a 4-5-1 formation to this reporter’s untrained eye - the majority of which was swapped out at half-time. It was good to see Captain Casey back from his spell out injured. Trialist #7 started on the left wing and #10 in midfield.

#7 was on free kick duty in the 18th minute, near the QPR area. His kick was cleared, whereas another one a minute later – just outside the box and in front of goal, after Donnellan was fouled – sailed over the bar.

Shortly afterwards, a dodgy Godfrey Poku slide into a QPR player – not helped by the conditions - resulted in a small altercation and some strong words from the ref for him and Casey.

Trialist #7 and Loza switched wings around now.

Poku forced a corner on the right on 28 minutes, which was taken by trialist #7. It fell enticingly onto the head of Moussa Diarra and thence onto the left-hand post of the QPR goal; about as close to a goal that they came all evening.

A dangerous cross into the Cards box was headed behind by Donnellan for a corner. A 43rd minute run and shot by Woking’s #7 hit the side-netting,

On 44 minutes, Hyde was floored near the QPR area. This time, Donnellan took the kick which was parried away by Dillon Barnes in the QPR goal. The resulting corner was headed clear, and that effectively ended the first half proceedings.

Half-time: Woking 0 QPR U23s

There were wholesale changes to the Woking line-up with just Parry, Donnellan and the two trialists remaining from the starting line-up. This included Alex Wall on his debut, replacing Hyde, and a further trialist. Trialist #7 moved into a more central midfield position – with Ferdinand and #16 - and #10 from there to left back, in a back four with Jack Cook, Manny Parry and Donnellan (RB).

A strong run from Tarpey, then teasing some of the QPR defenders with his close ball skills, led to a cross and a shot by Wall which was pushed out for a corner by the keeper. This – taken by #7 - was deflected out for another corner and a goal kick.

On 65 minutes, #7 showed his skills, including a nutmeg of a QPR man, with a run towards the left of their goal. Soon after, Howes made a close range save. At the other end again, #7’s ball from a further Woking corner curled in the wind and just cleared the QPR bar.

With just 12 minutes left on the clock, Woking made their last two substitutions, with youngsters Jack Skinner and Jayden Wareham coming on for #7 and Donnellan respectively. QPR made a substitution of their own shortly after that, with Joe Gubbins replacing Francis Domi.

A Tarpey free kick on 84 minutes floated into the box but was not met by any Woking players. Ody Aifa effected a tame shot which was saved by Howes.

Woking won a corner towards the end, following a Jack Skinner free kick just in the QPR half. This was defended and the visiting team tried to break quickly but to no avail. This was the last meaningful action of the game.

It was a solid performance by the Cards, particularly in defence, and a useful run-out, in very trying conditions. Tarpey was lively and Cook made some strong surges forward when they came on in the second half. Howes in goal appeared to have put recent traumas behind him on this occasion.

Of the trialists, the experienced #7 was skilful, calm and composed, particularly in dead ball situations - a performance that hinted at having played at a higher level. #10 showed some ability both in midfield (first half) and in defence (second half), while #16 had his moments in what were difficult conditions.

The Cards now resume their League campaign at (surprisingly) lowly Wrexham on Saturday. The next few games will probably determine whether or not they are serious play-off contenders or comfortable ‘midtablers’. Let’s hope that our new signing and perhaps one or two of the trialists can contribute.

Woking: GK Craig Ross (GK Sam Howes 45’), 2 Nathan Collier (16 Trialist 45’), 3 Josh Casey © (12 Jack Cook © 45’), 4 Manny Parry, 5 Moussa Diarra (15 Kane Ferdinand 45’), 6 Shaun Donnellan (19 Jack Skinner 78’), 7 Trialist (20 Wareham 78’), 8 Godfrey Poku (7 Dave Tarpey 45’), 9 Jake Hyde (14 Alex Wall 45’), 10 Trialist, 11 Jamar Loza (18 Paul Hodges 45’)

Unused subs: None

Goals: None

QPR U23s: 1 Dillon Barnes, 2 Osman Kakay, 3 Frances Domi (14 Joe Gubbins 82’), 4 Paco Craig, 5 Charlie Rowan, 6 Dylan Duncan, 7 Ody Aifa, 8 Amrit Bansal McNulty, 9 Charlie Kendall, 10 Steven Duke McKenna, 11 Deshane Dalling

Unused subs: 12 Aaron Drewe, 13 Tyla Dickinson, 15 Nathaniel Orafu, Jake Frailing

Goals: None

Booked: None

Attendance: ca. 100

Referee: Jack Matthews

Man of the Match: Manny Parry Anyone playing the full 90 minutes in those conditions deserves some kind of award. Manny did a solid job at the back.

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