7:30pm - FridayFri 24th JulyJul 2015
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 1562

0 - 2


Pompey next in line for Cards

Brian Caffarey
9:06pm, Wed 22nd Jul 2015
Woking v Portsmouth
Pre-season friendly
7.30pm on Friday 24 July 2015

A good crowd is expected at Kingfield on Friday evening for this attractive pre-season friendly against a very well-supported Pompey side. The Cards will be hoping to come up with another performance of the kind that saw them beat another League 2 side, Oxford United, 1-0 on Tuesday night in an encouraging display. Don’t forget that the kick-off is at 7.30pm.


The Cards looked a useful side in the making on Tuesday evening. Garry Hill played what must be virtually his strongest side for the first hour, with Brian Saah the only player not already on Woking’s books. His partnership with Ismail Yakubu and Mark Ricketts in a three-man central defence was one of several positive features of the evening, keeping the Oxford forwards largely at bay and allowing Jake Caprice and especially Chris Arthur to bomb forward as wing backs. In midfield Keiran Murtagh looked as though he was able and willing to take on the mantle of midfield maestro, while the versatile Joey Jones and the elusive, quick-footed John Goddard offered excellent support. Up front, Scott Rendell provided some useful lay-offs and Gez Sole took up intelligent positions.

Although by all accounts the various trialists did not over-impress at Staines in the Cards’ 3-2 defeat last weekend, on Tuesday evening strikers Alex Smith and Charles Banya and wide man Evans Kouassi all showed glimpses and sometimes more of what they can do. Godfrey Poku, one of Garry’s summer signings, demonstrated again that he will be an industrious cog in midfield.


Pompey will be coming to Kingfield with an encouraging midweek 2-1 home win over League One side Coventry City under their belt. Teenage striker, Conor Chaplin, scored the opener to add to the two he grabbed in Portsmouth’s previous 3-2 win at Gosport Borough. Before that Pompey had drawn 1-1 at Havant and Waterlooville in their opening friendly, followed by another 1-1 draw at Bognor.

Among familiar faces in Pompey’s squad are Jayden Stockley, Matt Tubbs and keeper Michael Poke.


Adults £10
Concessions £5

There is an attractive pre-match offer in the Geoff Chapple Lounge: see the news item dated 10 July for more details.


The remaining pre-season friendlies are:

Tuesday 28 July (7.45pm) – Woking v Leyton Orient
Saturday 1 August (3pm) – St Albans City v Woking

The Cards start their league programme on Saturday 8 August with an away trip to newly-relegated Tranmere Rovers, followed by two home games: against Bromley on Tuesday 11 August and against Altrincham on Saturday 15 August.

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don’t forget the fans’ forum at 7.30pm on Thursday 30 July.

Pompey prove a tougher test

Brian Caffarey
10:39am, Sat 25th Jul 2015
Woking 0 Portsmouth 2
Pre-season friendly
24 July 2015

This was a useful outing for Garry Hill’s squad against opposition who showed, especially in the first half, considerably more quality and desire than Oxford United had midweek and which put the Woking defence under a fair amount of pressure. Portsmouth’s first half dominance was rewarded with two goals before the break but the introduction of Keiran Murtagh and John Goddard immediately afterwards – with the visitors also perhaps taking their foot off the pedal somewhat – produced an even second-half contest.

The weather was more like November than July, the pitch – which played remarkably well – having been soaked by virtually incessant heavy rain all day and there was a distinct chill in the air.

Garry Hill made four changes from the starting XI against Oxford United, with Nick Hamann replacing Jake Cole in goal, Godfrey Poku coming in for Murtagh, and Charles Banya and Alex Smith taking over from Gez Sole and Goddard.

The visitors started brightly, creating several early chances, all falling to Gary Roberts, who came closest with a free-kick which went narrowly wide. The Cards responded in the 10th minute with a superb run and cross from Jake Caprice which threatened to produce an own goal. Portsmouth were soon back on the offensive, moving the ball nicely into space, with teenage striker Conor Chaplin frequently threatening to break through. Although Mark Ricketts managed to effect some judicious tackles, the lively Chaplin (just the sort of player we could do with up front!) went close with a snap shot before hitting the angle of post and bar. He followed this up by beating Hamann to a through pass but the ball did not carry and was cleared a few feet from the line.

Chris Arthur briefly halted Pompey’s progress with a dangerous cross, which was headed away, and then the pacy Smith and Banya worked well to create another promising attack. But Poku blazed horribly wide after Banya’s shot had been blocked and Arthur’s free-kick was also well off target.

Portsmouth deservedly took the lead in the 28th minute when Gareth Evans made a defence-splitting run in the right channel, thumping the ball decisively past Hamann from outside the area.

The Woking defence came under some sustained pressure, with Joey Jones hacking the ball off the line, before, in the 32nd minute, the visitors added a second goal, Matt Clarke heading home despite Hamann’s attentions.

Portsmouth continued to look the more dangerous side till the break, stretching the Woking defence with some intelligent running and passing, but without creating any clear-cut chances to add to their goal tally.

Half-time: Woking 0 Portsmouth 2

It was no surprise to see the introduction of Murtagh and Goddard since the Cards had not been able to gain much control in midfield in the first half, thereby putting additional pressure on the defence. Cole also came on for Hamann.

Woking immediately looked a better-balanced side. Goddard was especially prominent in the early exchanges, registering three attempts on goal, the first of which was well saved, low down, by the Portsmouth keeper, Brian Murphy.

More changes followed in the 58th minute, with Gez Sole coming on for the hard-working Charles Banya and Kouassi Evans replacing Caprice. Kouassi proceeded to impress with several quick, determined runs down the right flank and some decent crosses into the box.

Jones stung Murphy’s hands with a fierce drive before, at the other end, Cole thwarted Chaplin and then made a smart stop from Evans. The latter went close again in the 71st minute as he rose above three stationary defenders to plant a header over the bar.

Garry Hill’s final throw of the dice came in the 75th minute when he brought on Reece Beckles for Ricketts, with the side switching to a 4-4-2 formation.

Murphy needed two attempts to hold a stinging shot from Kouassi, who was soon in the action again with another strong run down the right.

As the game moved into the final ten minutes, Chaplin shot well wide for the visitors before Roberts went closer with a well-struck effort from a low cross.

The Cards were very unlucky not to grab a consolation goal with virtually the last kick of the game. Goddard nut-megged a Pompey defender on the right of the visitors’ penalty area before pulling the ball back to Rendell, whose instinctive shot struck the post before being cleared, with the referee’s whistle being blown immediately afterwards.

It seems doubtful if Garry Hill and Steve Thompson learned anything new from this encounter but it did confirm a few things, notably how reliant the side is likely to be on Murtagh and Goddard for midfield creativity and the need for a sharper cutting edge up front. But there were positives, too, in the way the Cards stuck to their task in a testing first half and in the manner in which they matched the visitors after the break.

The Cards’ next game is against Leyton Orient on Tuesday evening.

Woking: Nick Hamann (Jake Cole 46), Jake Caprice (Evans Kouassi 58), Chris Arthur, Mark Ricketts (Reece Beckles 75), Ismail Yakubu, Brian Saah, Joey Jones, Godfrey Poku (Keiran Murtagh 46), Scott Rendell, Charles Banya (Giuseppe Sole 58), Alex Smith (John Goddard 46)

Portsmouth: Brian Murphy, Enda Stevens, Frank van der Struijk, Christian Burgess (Adam Webster 83), Michael Doyle, Gary Roberts, Kal Naismith (Ben Close 73), Gareth Evans, Matt Clarke, Conor Chaplin (Brandon Haundstrup 83)

Unused subs: Paul Jones, Paul Robinson, Danny Hollands, Benn Davies

Attendance: 1562

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