Cards' winless run continues

Brian Caffarey
6:41pm, Sat 1st May 2021
Woking 2 Weymouth 4
Vanarama National League
1 May 2021

Woking’s winless run stretched to ten games this afternoon as a patched-up, youthful side offered effort and commitment but found themselves largely outplayed by a more fluent, confident Terras outfit. Missing ten players through injury and Jack Cook through suspension, Alan Dowson was nevertheless able to start with Sam Ashford and Zach Robinson up front, though neither was likely to have been fully match fit, and, at the back, Ben Gerring – with no other defenders available for selection – looked to be struggling from the outset. Academy graduate Leo Hamblin started again at left back. Woking, against the run of play, twice took the lead but were pegged back on both occasions and, then, as has happened frequently recently, saw even a point slip from their grasp as the visitors ran in two late goals to add yet another four goals to the ‘goals against’ column.

Woking started quite brightly, taking the game to the Terras and gaining several free-kicks, from one of which Charlie Cooper blasted over the bar from distance. Hodges looked to have had a good shout for a penalty in the 12th minute, apparently bundled over in the box, but it quickly became clear that the referee was pointing for a goal kick, not a penalty. From about the quarter-hour mark Weymouth dominated proceedings, with the outstanding, quick-footed, Sean Shields leading the Cards defence a merry dance down the Woking right. McCarthy had a great chance to put the visitors in front from a corner but put his free header wide.

A poor Ross throw-out produced more pressure as Shields intercepted and put in the first of several dangerous crosses, while the Woking keeper dealt uncomfortably with Warman’s long-range effort and then, very uncharacteristically, almost fumbled a shot into the path of another Terras attacker before Shields’s shot was deflected away by Gerring for a corner.

Having somehow survived this period of intense pressure, Woking took the lead completely against the run of play. Ashford latched onto a through ball but was brought down just outside the area by Mensah, who, as the last defender, might well have merited a red card instead of the yellow card that was brandished. But he was duly punished as Cooper thumped an excellent free-kick into the top corner to give the Cards a 1-0 lead with 31 minutes gone.

It didn’t take long, however, for Weymouth to wrest back the attacking initiative and, as half-time approached, Woking were living dangerously again. Ross saved superbly, low to his left. But a poor defensive header by Ferdinand allowed Shields to attack once more. He managed to get his cross in past Lofthouse and there was Dallas to cleverly glance the ball past Ross to make it 1-1 in the 44th minute.

The Terras almost grabbed another goal after a spirited Hodges tackle had presented McCarthy with a free-kick just outside the area. His shot was deflected, with Ross doing brilliantly to tip the ball over the bar.

Half-time: Woking 1 Weymouth 1

The Cards had a great start to the second half as Hodges slipped the ball into Ashford to his left. The visitors’ keeper just managed to get a touch to the ball with his stretched-out leg but couldn’t do enough to stop it arrowing into the far corner to put the Cards 2-1 up with 47 minutes gone.

Woking had to re-shuffle as Gerring was finally forced to give up the struggle, with Ferdinand moving into central defence and Joe Leslie coming into midfield. Unfortunately, Woking’s lead didn’t last long. Caught napping by a quickly-taken corner, Dallas showed his finishing ability once again as he managed to flick Shields’s near-post ball into the net in the 60th minute.

Although one feared that Weymouth would quickly go on to put themselves in a winning position, Woking looked reasonably comfortable for the following twenty minutes or so and, indeed, put together a few decent attacks themselves, with Leslie and Freeman both showing up well. But such chances as there were still fell Weymouth’s way, with Diarra deflecting a McQuoid effort to safety and then just managing to stretch a leg out to avert another threat on goal.

In the 84th minute Mensah headed a good chance over before Dowse brought on another Academy player, Selim Saied, for his debut in what proved to be a lively cameo appearance, with one fine run producing a corner. That led to a Cooper shot, with Ferdinand nearly getting his foot in front of the keeper.

But the experienced McQuoid then produced a moment of great skill. Watching a chipped ball come over his right shoulder, he volleyed superbly past Ross to put the Terras 3-2 up in the 89th minute.

Woking tried to press forward but, inevitably, left themselves even more exposed at the back. McQuoid got behind the defence on the right and slipped the ball across to Shields, who couldn’t miss from a couple of yards out to make the score 4-2 to Weymouth. So, within the space of a few minutes, the Cards’ hopes of at least coming away with a 2-2 draw had been dashed and, instead, they had to face the huge disappointment of yet another unforgiving scoreline.

If there were any bright spots for the Cards, they lay mainly in the performances of their younger players, who all acquitted themselves well in their varying amounts of time on the pitch. Leo Hamblin had a very steady game at left-back, and Joe Leslie and Selim Saied both produced some memorable moments. It was good, too, to see the side score two fine goals through Cooper and Ashford.

Dowse will have his work cut out, though, in putting a side together for Monday’s encounter at Dagenham and Redbridge and helping the players to overcome the inevitable lack of confidence that ensues from such a dreadful run of results.

Woking: Craig Ross, Leo Hamblin, Moussa Diarra, Ben Gerring (Joe Leslie 53), Kyran Lofthouse, Kane Ferdinand, Charlie Cooper, John Freeman, Paul Hodges (Selim Saied 85), Sam Ashford (Sam Dalby 73), Zach Robinson

Unused subs: Mark Smith, Sam Evans

Goalscorers: Charlie Cooper 31, Sam Ashford 47

Booked: Charlie Cooper, Paul Hodges, Leo Hamblin

Weymouth: Ross, Camp, McCarthy, Harfield, Brooks (McQuoid 56), Morgan, Mensah, Robinson, Worman (Ngalo 90), Dallas (Murray 70), Shields

Unused subs: Dickson, Fonkeu

Goalscorers: Dallas 44 and 61, McQuoid 89, Shields 90

Booked: Mensah, McQuoid, Dallas

My Woking MOTM: Leo Hamblin (pictured) – a very steady and mature performance from a promising young player

Referee: Tom Bishop

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