MKJ Group
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 14th JanuaryJan 2017
Plainmoor | Att: 1593

Torquay
Torquay United
1 - 2

Woking
Woking

Cards need to take advantage of game in hand

Brian Caffarey
8:01pm, Wed 11th Jan 2017
Torquay United v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 14 January 2017

With only North Ferriby United also having a league game on Saturday, this match is a huge opportunity for the Cards to leap out of the bottom four, but it will take not only the commitment shown in the last two league games but also sharper finishing and more obdurate defending if Garry Hill’s side are not to suffer disappointment again on the road. The Gulls have generally been in good form recently and will be keen to avenge their earlier defeats against the Cards in the league and Emirates FA Cup this season.

WOKING

Last Saturday’s defeat at Wrexham and victories for Southport and Braintree Town on Tuesday night have left the Cards in an even more precarious position in the league table. They now sit in 22nd place, one point behind Guiseley, who occupy the last relegation slot, and two points behind Maidstone United, but with a game in hand on both. But Southport and Braintree have now pulled themselves six points clear of the Cards, though Garry Hill’s side have a game in hand on both. With only one league win on the road this season, at Maidstone United, it is critical that the Cards start to gather some points on their travels if they are to avoid the drop.

Young loanee striker, Connor Hall, made his debut at Wrexham. He was given a tough time by the Wrexham defenders and missed a couple of good chances but he seems likely to keep his place in the starting line-up, especially since Max Kretzschmar, who played up front on New Year’s Day in an interesting experiment, is apparently out for two or three weeks with a knee injury.

Charlie Carter scored both goals in Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Leatherhead in the Surrey Senior Cup.

TORQUAY UNITED

The Gulls, under inspirational player/manager Kevin Nicholson, engineered a miraculous escape from relegation last season after suffering huge financial problems. A proposed takeover fell through over the summer but a subsidiary of Gaming International has recently bought a controlling interest in the club.

On the field, Nicholson has managed to keep the Gulls clear of the relegation places, with some fine performances, including the 4-3 win and 5-5 draw against Forest Green Rovers in the Christmas/New Year ‘double header’. But the Gulls were disappointing, apparently, in their 1-0 home defeat last Saturday to Boreham Wood (Bruno Andrade scoring the winning goal). Torquay presently sit in 17th place, level on points with Braintree and Southport.

On the field, Nicholson was able to strengthen the side in the summer, presumably with money coming from the sale of captain Angus MacDonald to Barnsley for an undisclosed fee. Among the new arrivals were ex-Card Brett Williams; Sean McGinty, the ex-Aldershot defender; Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, a defender returning to the club; midfielder Damon Lathrope, also returning to Plainmoor; and Giancarlo Gallifuoco, an Australian U23 defender. Players remaining from last season include midfielder Luke Young, new captain Courtney Richards; and influential ex-Braintree winger Dan Sparkes. Lathrope, Young and Gallifuoco are all out injured at present.

Striker Nathan Blissett has just moved to Plymouth Argyle for an undisclosed fee, but Shaun Harrad has returned to the club from Wrexham. The Gulls lost striker Kieffer Moore in December, returning to Forest Green Rovers after a successful loan spell.

Striker Jamie Reid’s loan from Exeter City has been extended to the end of the season. Other loan players are defender Paul Rooney from Millwall; winger David Fitzpatrick from AFC Wimbledon; and 19-year-old striker Shaun McCoulsky from Bristol City but who was previously with Dulwich Hamlet and Walton Casuals.

GETTING THERE

Torquay United Football Club
Plainmoor
Torquay
Devon
TQ1 3PS

Official website: www.torquayunited.com

By coach

The Cards Trust is not running a coach to this game.

By car

M3, A303, A30 and M5 to Exeter. A380 to Newton Abbot (Penn Inn Roundabout). Follow signs to Torquay, past the Willows Shopping Centre, then next left at traffic lights. Follow signs for Torquay United/Plainmoor through three roundabouts. At top of hill traffic lights go straight on into Warbro Road. Ground is on the right-hand side. Away turnstiles are just off Warbro Road, down the lane next to the Gulls’ Lodge. AA estimate: three and a half hours for 170 miles.

By train

Torquay Station is about two miles from the ground.

The only realistic option, because of engineering works, is to get the 09.25 to Guildford, which, via changes at Guildford, Reading and Newton Abbot, should get you to Torquay at 12.48. Other services involve a bus journey for part of the way. On the way back you’d want to get the 17.16, which, via similar changes, should get you back to Woking at 21.25 – but a very quick exit and a taxi waiting would probably be required. Look up www.nationalrail.co.uk or www.thetrainline.com for more information.

If you’re walking from the station, turn left into Rathmore Road and follow the road down, crossing to Falkland Road. Carry on by way of Lucius Street and Tor Hill Road into Union Street. Take the St Marychurch Road and climb the hill towards Babbacombe and then take the third turning on the right into Bronshill Road. The stadium floodlights will be visible on the left after a few minutes.

ADMISSION PRICES

BRISTOW'S BENCH/AWAY SEATING
£19 (adults)
£15 (over 65 and NUS card holders)
£7 (U18s)
Free (U7 with a full paying adult)

Popside / Away Terrace

£15 (adults)
£12 (over 65 and NUS card holders)
£7 (U18s)
Free (U7 with a full paying adult)

LAST TIME OUT

Woking 2 Torquay United 1
Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round Replay
16 October 2016

The Cards finally made it through to the First Round of the Emirates FA Cup thanks to two second-half Gozie Ugwu goals. But it was a close-run thing, with the Cards’ defence under great pressure in the closing stages.

Woking had the better of the first half but Delano Sam-Yorke missed a penalty early on and then Torquay scored after Gallifuoco’s header had hit the woodwork and rebounded to Chaney, who slotted home.

But the Cards hit back early in the second half, Ugwu first sliding in to convert an excellent Jake Caprice cross and then heading home Fabio Saraiva’s cross. Nerves were shredded before the final whistle but the Cards finally squeezed through to a First Round tie at Stockport County.

Woking: Brandon Hall; Jake Caprice; Ismail Yakubu (Anthony Edgar 46); Brian Saah (Joey Jones 19); Nathan Ralph; Dennon Lewis (Frankie Sutherland 88); Charlie Carter; Keiran Murtagh; Fabio Saraiva; Gozie Ugwu; Delano Sam-Yorke

Unused subs: Luke Terry; Luke Kandi; Max Kretzschmar

Goals: Gozie Ugwu 57; 62

Torquay United: Brendan Moore; Aman Verma; Giancarlo Gallifuoco; Kevin Nicholson; Courtney Richards; Luke Young; Joe Wako (Damon Lathrope 72); Sam Chaney; Sean McGinty; Dan Sparkes (Jamie Chamberlain 85); Nathan Blissett (Brett Williams 46)

Unused subs: Jamie Robba

Goal: Sam Chaney 22

Attendance: 791

COMING UP

The Cards are at home to Tranmere Rovers on Saturday 21 January, while Gez Sole’s testimonial game is at 7pm on Tuesday 24 January.

Come on, you Cards!

A Saah of Relief for Cards

Ray Avards
12:00am, Sat 14th Jan 2017
Torquay United 1 Woking 2
Vanarama National League
14th January 2017

It was same again for The Cards, a midfield five with wingbacks and a front two of Ugwu and Hall, as the match kicked off and they faced a wind blowing down the ground towards the away end. A vital game for the Cards, with what look like even tougher fixtures to come in the next four weeks.

An uneven start with no pattern to it for either side sprang into life inside ten minutes. Nathan Ralph’s first touch from Terrell Thomas’ sweeping diagonal ball right to left, looked to have run away from him with his first touch, but the full back did not take the hint and Nathan got in behind him. A covering player was too close and between the two of them down went the Cards’ wingback in the very corner of the box. Referee Barratt had no hesitation in awarding the spot kick for a trip. Fabio Saraiva despatched the kick into the far left corner with Brendan Moore diving the other way and Woking had something to build on.

Stung, the Gulls reacted and Sparkes had Michael Poke back-pedalling to tip over an acute angled swirling left wing cross, bending viciously in under the bar.

Cards countered with Keiran Murtagh’s slalom run past three defenders from midfield to send Dennon Lewis away on the right, but his cross was deflected out of Gozie Ugwu’s reach.

Another Cards build up and Kane Ferdinand joined it on the left wing deep and his cross found its way to Lewis inside the area on the right for a fierce shot that was blocked.

Cards control in these early stages was almost undone as a Torquay build up allowed Courtney Richards to slip in Shaun Harrad, only thwarted by Poke’s rush out and dive to snatch the ball at his feet.

Untidy defending by Woking with too many defenders round the ball let in United on the right and Thomas brought down his man just outside the right hand corner of the box. United dummied the free kick for Sparkes to swing in but too near the Woking defence and when the ball ran loose Connor Hall was back helping out to hammer away.

A sign of Devonian discomfort showed when a corner kick they won on the Woking left was ballooned way over both defence and attack into midfield.

Ugwu with Hall had disrupted Torquay’s play from the back and they benefited when the No. 9 was sent away into the penalty area on his own. At a wide angle right side, his driven shot thudded into the chest and arms of Moore. More Woking pressure forced a hurried clearance for Ralph to latch onto but his shot was well high and wide.

Much travelled home right back Lathaniel Rowe-Turner was making an overlapping impact now. He was set up for a swinging cross beyond the far post and the admirable Poke took no chances by leaping to collect even though he carried the ball over the by-line. The resulting corner was never properly cleared allowing David Fitzpatrick to pick up the loose ball and fire in a shot from outside the area, Poke saving crucially low at his right hand post to concede another corner that was ultimately cleared. Another dangerous break by the Gulls was only halted on the edge of his own area by Kane Ferdinand’s decisive block tackle and then clearance

It was a corner that proved decisive moments later, but at the other end. Lewis swung it in and Brian Saah got up high at the far post. Though there seemed a slight deflection, Moore was helpless anyway in goal, as the ball nestled in the bottom of corner of his net, 0-2; shades of a late Yakubu headed winner from a corner on this ground two years ago.

United were stunned. Murtagh joined another attack, weaving in along the left by-line to feed Ugwu, whose first touch was too heavy and his shot was blocked.

Centre back Thomas surged from the back though Torquay’s midfield cover and set up Ugwu to fire across Moore forcing him the scramble the effort away from his goal.

The home side rallied as the half closed, urged on by the promptings of captain Courtney Richards, who helped open up the centre for a moment. Fitzpatrick shot but his effort was saved low down by Poke. Then Reid was played in with Poke half out and it took a strong left hand low down to deflect the shot and Brian Saah sliding in to win goal kick in a pivotal moment in the game.

Woking slept on a throw in near their left corner flag and Torquay were free in the area momentarily, but the chance was smothered.

Half Time Torquay United 0 Woking 2

Woking were not prepared to be pinned back as the second half began. Lewis away from an Ugwu interchange and just inside the area, squared his man up and shot left footed but straight into Moore’s midriff.

At the other end a deflected header from Harrad after a run down the right from Fitzpatrick disappeared across the face of the away goal.

A Saraiva free kick swung in from the left of the area was met by Brian Saah to volley well wide.

Driven on by anxious home fans Torquay were at last making more headway in the second half. Reid fed Sparkes and his dangerous low cross fizzed across the Cards goal area without a touch. Saraiva found space for Woking in a counter attack but shot straight at Moore.

Murtagh drifted through the midfield and found space inside the right hand of the home side’s area but his cross was blocked with teammates arriving for it.

Just before the hour Sam Chaney came on for new loan signing from AFC Bournemouth Jordan Lee for the Gulls. Garry Hill countered it or had his own plans by immediately sending on Charlie Carter for Nathan Ralph, requiring Fabio Saraiva to drop to wing back.

United pressurised the Woking goal and earned a series of three successive corners. From one centre back Ben Gerring had a header deflected and from another and then in a good position but under challenge, headed over.

Hall broke clear for Cards from the half way line forcing Moore to sprint from his goal and tackle. The ball ran loose with the keeper stranded up field but Saraiva shot early with too many bodies back to block it.

By now Plainmoor’s Bristow Stand was baying for a change and calling for Brett Williams to come on. So he did, replacing Harrad.

Woking were still countering when they could. Saraiva worked the ball for Ugwu who back heeled from near enough on the by-line for Charlie Carter’s low shot to be deflected just wide.

Renewed home attacks followed in the closing tem minutes. A fast Fitzpatrick break, wide right, set up Verma’s shot, stopped by a body on the edge of the Cards’ area. Luke Kandi came on for a willing, but tiring, Hall. Another move, Ugwu for Carter and a chance for Saraiva, but he could not finish.

A Rowe–Turner shot was deflected wide. Then Sparkes ignited a move and his quick one-two freed him to lay on for Williams, of course, to fire in from a few yards. It was 87 minutes on the clock and game on again. Four minutes of added time and a right wing move by United set up a deadly cross with Sparkes arriving in the goal area. Only Joey Jones sliding block saved the day as Poke may well have been beaten.

Ugwu acted as foil for Murtagh and Kandi to run down the clock at the right hand corner flag till Kandi lost the ball out for a goal kick. Moore hammered it downfield and Sean McGinty had a drive from outside the area, well over.

Woking had won, a lifeline perhaps for the Cards, as they face difficult games on paper in the next four weeks. Get down to Kingfield (The Laithwaite Stadium) for the visit of high –flying Tranmere Rovers next Saturday with more vital league points to play for.

Torquay United: Brendan Moore , Jordan Lee (Sam Chaney 57), Ben Gerring, Shaun McGinty, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, David Fitzpatrick, Courtney Richards (c), Aman Verma, Dan Sparkes, Jamie Reid, Shaun Harrad (Brett Williams 68).

Subs not used: Paul Rooney, Will Hancox, Jamie Robba.

Goal: Brett Williams (86)

Bookings: None

Woking: Michael Poke, Joey Jones, Terell Thomas, Brian Saah, Dennon Lewis, Kane Ferdinand, Keiran Murtagh (c), Fabio Saraiva, Nathan Ralph (Charlie Carter 58), Connor Hall (Luke Kandi 80), Gozie Ugwu.

Subs not used: Brandon Hall, Jake Caprice, Ismail Yakubu

Goals: Fabio Saraiva (6, penalty), Brian Saah (35)

Bookings: Keiran Murtagh

Attendance: 1,593

Referee: Wayne Barratt

My MOTM: Terell Thomas was quick and decisive at the back and ‘everybody put in a shift’, but I picked Keiran Murtagh, for his guile and control, to lay a platform for a dominant Woking display.
Torquay United LINEUP
WOKING LINEUP
1Michael Poke
16Dennon Lewis
11Nathan Ralph ('58)
3Terell Thomas
4Joey Jones
5Brian Saah
8Keiran Murtagh
14Fabio Saraiva
22Kane Ferdinand
9Gozie Ugwu
25Connor Hall ('80)
BENCH
18Brandon Hall
2Jake Caprice
6Ismail Yakubu
12Charlie Carter ('58)
21Chike Kandi ('80)

Torquay United 1 - 2 Woking (Garry Hill Interview)

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