Laithwaite Independent Financial Advisers

The Gulls steal all three points

Tim Framp
5:25pm, Sun 17th Apr 2022
Woking 0 Torquay United 1
Vanarama National League
15th April 2022

On an unseasonably warm Good Friday, 3344 filled out all four sides of the Laithwaite Community Stadium to see Darren Sarll’s first home game in charge of The Cards.

With Rohan Ince still suspended, the new Woking manager named an unchanged line-up following a narrow away defeat to Halifax the previous weekend. After a creditable performance at The Shay Stadium against a side riding high in the league, there was optimism inside the stadium that a first home match for the new management team would also provide a first home win.

The opening 15 minutes of the game was an even affair, with the balance of play marginally in Torquay’s favour, neither side offered significant attacking threat. Torquay’s first chance of the day came after 4 minutes with Stephen Duke-McKenna firing over from the right. Woking managed to fashion one opportunity for Nwabuokei on the 10 minute mark after Effiong, in the middle of the Torquay half, managed to head on to Johnson’ his headed through ball on the edge of the area looked like it might present Nwabuokei with a chance as he burst into the area, but an onrushing Macdonald in the Torquay goal gathered before it could amount to anything.

On 17 minutes Effiong was hauled down by Torquay number 31 Joe Lewis, just outside the left corner of the Torquay box. Lewis deserved his yellow card and it gave Kretzschmar the opportunity to line up a free-kick in a dangerous area. He opted to float a ball to the back post, but in the end it drifted past the back post and into touch. As the game progressed, it was hard not to feel that Effiong was becoming isolated up front, with little support from the men in midfield.

Tyreke tussles for the ball
Tyreke tussles for the ball
David Holmes

The Gulls, gaining the momentum, began ramping up the pressure as Woking found it increasingly difficult to clear their lines. On the 19th minute, Torquay made that pressure count. Ben Wynter, Torquay’s number 2 took a seemingly innocuous throw mid way inside the Torquay half. Duke McKenna returned the ball to him allowing Wynter to play a lofted pass over the Woking back line. With more than a hint of offside, former Woking man Armani Little, turned McNerney and was clean through. Not needing Connor Lemonheigh-Evans who’d also managed to evade the attention of Woking’s backline, Little had the freedom of the Woking penalty area and was able to smash the ball past Ross, finding the top left corner of the Woking goal.

Woking continued to toil, whilst Torquay buoyed by their goal, appeared to have the game well under control. A moment which seemed to sum up the half for Woking came in the 25th minute. After a period of head tennis between the two teams Jermaine Anderson got hold of a loose ball just inside the Torquay half. He played the ball Tyreke Johnson and space opened up in front of him. But, in the end his left-footed shot from 20 yards was wild spun off well wide of the Torquay goal.

As normal time played out, without really threatening Ross’s goal Torquay continued to look the better of the two sides. Torquay managed to break on one occasion, prompting a block from Longe-King after Lemonheigh-Evans was played in by the goalscorer, Little. Woking’s most presentable chance came after 39 minutes. Casey, battling down the Woking Left, managed to evade one challenge and break forward, playing in Johnson, who made for the byline before whipping in a cross. The ball found Kretzschmar at the back post, but the tight angle meant he could only find the side netting with his volleyed shot.

Four minutes were shown on the assistant’s board at the end of the half and Woking appeared to find a level of fluency they’d lacked for the preceding 45. But there was no change to the scoreline as the teams headed in at 0-1.

Half-time: Woking 0 Torquay United 1

Sarll had clearly decided things weren’t working as he’d hoped and opted to bring on Jamar Loza in place of Nwabuokei for the second half. Woking started the half brightly, with a more attacking outlook and better interplay, between Woking’s midfield and forward line. On 49 minutes, there was a brief moment of concern as Max Kretzschmar, picked up a cut to the head and was forced off briefly for some medical attention and a shirt change. Woking were forced to defend a Torquay corner with 10 men but were fortunate as it came to nothing. Shortly afterward, Casey’s push on Lemonheigh-Evans on the right didn’t escape the referee’s attention, but Dean Moxey’s free kick was easily gathered by Ross.

53 minutes on the clock and Longe-King released Johnson down the Woking right. Johnson looked sharp as he allowed the ball to run across his body before evading the challenge of Dan Martin. He beat his man again on the edge of the box, before his left footed cross cum shot drifted over The Gulls’ bar. Two minutes later Moxey picked up a yellow for a cynical foul on Oakley on the Woking right, immediately followed by a booking for Martin.

Sarll sought to further influence proceedings on 64 minutes, throwing on Nicke Kabamba in place of Oakley. Within a minute Kabamba was heading a gilt edged chance against the bar. Johnson received the ball from Longe-King on the right and cut inside, before floating a cross towards Effiong at the back post, 12 yards out. His header found Kabamba in the middle of the goal, just 5 yards out. His header beat Macdonald, but couldn’t beat the bar. The resultant corner, whipped in by Johnson found the head of Kretzschmar, who could only direct his header wide.

Woking continued to threaten, as Johnson broke away down the right on 66 minutes, but found his low cross blocked before Longe-King headed his corner over. The referee had his card out again, first for Joe McNerney on 77 minutes and again for Torquay’s Duke McKenna on 78. Changes for both sides followed as Torquay’s Duke-McKenna is replaced by Opi Edwards and former Spurs man Jack Roles replaced Anderson on 80 and 82 minutes respectively. Another good chance arrived in the 85th minute as Loza took control, advanced down the left and into the box, squaring for Effiong, whose disappointing shot flew wide.

Jack Roles quickly grew into the game and looked bright on the ball, looking like a man hoping to win a starting spot. With less than 3 minutes of normal time remaining his managed a nice looking curling shot which was palmed out by Torquay’s ‘keeper. 89 minutes and another chance for Woking as Loza’s cross from the left from the left is met by the head of Kabamba, but he can’t get a clean contact.

Against the run of play, the final big chance went to Torquay in the 5th minute of added time. After a mix up between the eventual man of the match, Josh Casey and Roles on the Woking left, Armani Little escaped down the flank and played in Lemonheigh-Evans on the edge of the Woking area, for what looked for all the world like the goal which would bury Woking. Craig Ross, sensing the danger, came rushing out and saved with his leg to keep Woking in the match. But with just 2 minutes of injury time remaining and despite sustained pressure, Torquay held out for the win.

Darren Sarll will be frustrated to have seen his charges fall to a second successive defeat. Woking looked like a side needing just one goal to give them the momentum to go on an win the game, but as time pressed on, The Cards were missing the necessary inspiration and quality to make their pressure count. Ultimately, Sarll’s men were victims of their slow start to the game and without the need to fight a relegation or playoff battle, these players will no doubt need to use the rest of the season to impress their new manager before he decides who he will be relying on next season.

Woking: 13 Craig Ross, 3 Josh Casey (C), 4 Tom Champion, 5 Joe McNerney, 8 Solomon Nwabuokei (7 Jamar Loza 46’), 9 Inih Effiong, 10 Max Kretzschmar, 11 Tyreke Johnson, 14 George Oakley (18 Nicke Kabamba 64’), 22, David Longe-King, 23, Jermaine Anderson (20 Jack Roles 82’)

Unused subs: 6 Moussa Diarra, 16 Louie Annesley

Bookings: McNerney 77’

Torquay United: 37 Shaun Macdonald, 2 Ben Wynter, 3 Dan Martin, 7 Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 8 Asa Hall (C), 9 Danny Wright, 10 Armani Little, 14 Chiori Johnson (16 Keelan O’Connell 90+2’), 15 Stephen Duke-McKenna (27 Opi Edwards 80’), 21 Dean Moxey, 31 Joe Lewis

Unused subs: 5 Ali Omar, 19 Klaudi Lolos, 29 Joe Felix

Goals: Little 19’

Bookings: Lewis 17’, Moxey 56’, Martin 56’, Duke-McKenna 78’, Wynter 89’

Referee: Greg Rollason

Attendance: 3,344

Sponsor’s Man of the Match: Josh Casey

Thank you to our Match Sponsor Paul Connett Builders Ltd. You can check them out here

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