3:00pm - MondayMon 2nd AprilApr 2018
Plainmoor | Att: 1837

Torquay United
2 - 1


Cards travel to relegation rivals for must win game

Glen Harrington
12:00am, Sun 1st Apr 2018
Torquay United vs Woking
Vanarama National League
Monday 2nd April 2018

An improved performance against league leaders Macclesfield Town on Friday was not enough to address the Cards recent slide down the table as Danny Whitaker’s late goal extended Woking’s winless run to eight matches.

There were certainly plenty of positives for the home side to take from their 3-2 defeat against the Silkmen, where goals from Charlie Carter and Reece Grego-Cox had the hosts on the verge of a deserved point, but a late lapse in concentration allowed John Askey’s side to take advantage with the result leaving the Cards just three points clear of the bottom four. Anthony Limbrick’s side are now in 19th place, with Barrow and Solihull Moors heading the chasing pack, whilst the former still has two games in hand; both sides also have a better goal difference than the Cards, so whilst our fate is still in our own hands, we desperately need to start picking up points.

Perennial strugglers Torquay have had another tough season. The Seagulls have never placed higher than 13th since relegation from the Football League in 2014, and have twice survived after spending much of the season in the bottom four. Gary Owers is the man tasked with pulling off the third successive ‘great escape’ after taking over the manager’s role from Kevin Nicholson late last year and, whilst he has enjoyed some success, he appears to have an even tougher task on his hands than his predecessor. United have 34 points from 39 games thus far, seven adrift of safety with seven games remaining, and know that victory over the Cards is virtually a necessity if they are to have any hope of extending their stay in the National League.

Both teams know that only a win will do when they meet at Plainmoor; so make the trip if you possibly can to support the team and cheer them on to an overdue win! Torquay have also organised a bucket collection for Woking midfielder Damon Lathrope to take place at the game and we hope that everyone will give generously.

Woking Team News

The Cards were boosted by the returns of Louis Ramsay and Jordan Wynter to the starting line-up against Macclesfield. Limbrick will be left to mull over whether to stick with the same back four or to recall either Matt Young, likely resulting in a move to centre-back for Wynter, or Richard Orlu. Nathan Ralph, who missed out against Town, could also strengthen the Woking backline if fit.

It was pleasing to see Chez Isaac back in the Woking line-up on Friday alongside Carter and Kane Ferdinand. If the Cards don’t want to stick with that trio then they could choose to push Joey Jones further up the pitch, or to sacrifice on of their midfield three in favour of another striker, which worked to good effect against Macclesfield.

Anthony Cook and Regan Charles-Cook, who recovered impressively quickly from the injury he picked up against Leyton Orient, started on Saturday alongside Reece Grego-Cox – who returned from international duty with the Republic of Ireland Under-21 side. He could be joined up front by Louie Theophanous who caused Macclesfield some problems from the bench on Friday.

Torquay Team News

The Seagulls are in decent form, taking seven points from their last three games, including wins over Leyton Orient and, last time out, a 2-0 win over Chester.

Against the Blues they lined up with Vincent Dorel in goal, a French keeper signed last year from Plymouth Argyle; a back three of former Aldershot defender Sean McGinty, veteran centre-back Josh Gowling, formerly of Grimsby and Kidderminster, and new signing Conrad Balatoni, who was last with Falkirk; in midfield key man Luke Young was partnered by Bristol City loanee Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, while out wide were Aaron Barnes, on loan from Colchester United, and former Cheltenham full-back Liam Davis; the front three consisted of two more loanees, Cardiff City’s Rhys Healey and Dagenham’s Elliott Romain, alongside former Woking frontman Brett Williams, who has recently re-joined the club after a short spell with Bromley.

Their options from the bench include forwards Jamie Reid and Ruairi Keating, experienced midfielder Yan Klukowski, who is back from a loan spell with Kidderminster, defender Michee Efete who is on loan from Norwich City, and reserve goalkeeper Ryan Clarke.

Last Time Out

Woking 4-1 Torquay United (Monday 28 August 2017 – Vanarama National League)

The Cards came into the game off the back of successive defeats against Leyton Orient and Wrexham but showed no signs of a lack of confidence against their struggling visitors as they scored a comfortable victory at Kingfield. Goals from Joe Ward and Kane Ferdinand had the hosts in control before James Gray’s outrageous strike just before half-time gave the visitors a sniff of a comeback. That hope was short-lived however as Charlie Carter restored the two goal advantage and Bobson Bawling made the game safe with a stunning fourth.

On the Day

The Cards Trust will not be running a coach to this game. For those travelling directly, the ground is located on Marnham Road in Plainmoor, a short walk from Torquay town centre; the postcode is TQ1 3PS. The nearest station is Torre Station – around a 20 minute walk from the stadium. Ticket prices for the game are £15 for adults, £12 for concessions, £7 for under-18s and under-7s are free. Away fans are allocated the Bristol Street Motors Stand. Tickets can also be bought in advance via the Torquay club website.

Next Up

The Cards travel to Dagenham next Saturday ahead of their rearranged game with Maidenhead the following Tuesday. Our next home game is against FA Trophy finalists Bromley on 14th April – tickets are available now on our website.

Torquay Turn Screws On Woking

Ray Avards
12:00am, Mon 2nd Apr 2018
Torquay United 2 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
2nd April 2018

The Cards having failed to win in eight in the league, faced this vital away game at an already doomed–looking Torquay on the Devon Riviera, with mounting pressure upon them. They were to be undone by defensive error and indifference in midfield and attack yet again, despite recovering from an early set back to level at one all.

Anthony Limbrick retained the same starting line up from Good Friday’s desperate home defeat to the league leaders in the 95th minute. Home captain McGinty earned an early yellow card for sliding in on a right wing raid by Carter, in an obvious intent to make a physical mark on the game, through an opponent, early on.

In a moment of encouragement, Anthony Cook had a sudden chance on the edge of the area as the ball sat up and he half-volleyed a yard wide of the left hand post.

Ramsey stopped Connor Lemonheigh-Evans run down the right. But the ball came back down the right as the Cards failed to keep hold of it in midfield.

The resultant corner exposed the frailty at the heart of the Woking defence as Joey Jones went up at the back post, was bundled in the back, but put both hands up basketball style to give Referee Quelch the opportunity to award a penalty. Williams sent Baxter the wrong way and gestured at the Woking fans to celebrate.

Woking sought a response but Anthony Cook’s cross from the right drifted out. Then Regan Charles-Cook refused to be beaten and charged down the ball on the halfway line, which bounced kindly to set him racing away and clear. With Jerol to beat he chose to thread it between the keeper’s legs and failed, when Reece Grego-Cox seemed on hand with the goal gaping. A vital open goal chance went begging.

A training ground move saw Chez Isaac’s free kick from the halfway land on Ramsey’s head six yards out, wide of the goal area, but he could only head into the hands of Dorel.

Torquay took the initiative back and after Lemonheigh-Evans was again held up by Ramsey, worked the ball inside for left back Liam Davis to screw tamely wide from the edge of the area.

On 36 minutes a first yellow card for Woking, as Isaac held his man back to prevent a left wing break. Another Gulls’ attack building, saw Josh Staunton slide in to give away a corner. The corner was worked back and Cook conceded a free kick in a dangerous position. It was hammered into the wall by Young and after it broke to the other side of the box, McGinty tried his luck to hurry Baxter into covering his shot into the side netting . The reality for Woking, their opponents were sharper in thought, deed and physical determination.

Brett Williams fired from distance, well over goal, but then found sufficient room from a routine cross into the area with space to head over an advancing Baxter, caught in no man’s land. The ball sailed over the bar too, a huge let off for Woking.

Aaron Barnes tried to go round Ramsey but ran the ball out. Davis shot well wide again from a forward position for the home side, after Charles-Cook had arguably been caught late in the tackle, a recurring theme, as Torquay sought to out-muscle one of the few creative players of the visitors.
Louis Ramsey contrived to put two throws straight out on the left touchline, bowing to the vocal home support putting pressure upon him, it seemed. It was hardly encouraging for the second half.

Half-time: Torquay United 1 Woking 0

Woking sought to begin the second half on the front foot, but having forced a free kick out on the right it was disappointing, being hoisted high by Isaac for a goal kick.

Anthony Cook turned into space off his right wing and shot left footed straight into the midriff of Dorel. Cook earned a lecture off referee Quelch, when he could not get on a pass from his brother Regan, that was just too short, on the counter attack. Then the two of them did combine superbly for Anthony’s swinging cross to be side footed just wide on the full stretch by Regan, at the far post, with the keeper beaten. Torquay responded with a Luke Young shot cleared away by Baxter’s dive for a corner.

On the hour Louie Theophanous came on for Isaac, in an attacking move, but also created fears for midfield balance, Charlie Carter having to drop back into that role. The substitute striker did create more of a presence for Grego-Cox to combine with but had little joy himself.

Soon United made inroads down the left and Healey was through one on one for Baxter to save with his chest. They had sensed the momentum swing back to them and threw on incoming player Jamie Reid for Williams. A right wing break saw Josh Staunton flash the ball narrowly over or round his own goal to concede a corner.

The defender is a positive player though. He punted forward with enough dip to set young Grego-Cox free in a gaping hole in Torquay’s back line. Dorel’s vain rush off his line was not enough to prevent the Cards’ man chipping round him into an empty net, for 1-1.

Sadly and all too predictably on the day, the home side simply upped their game. When the young Cards’ side were caught napping by a short corner just three short minutes later, Young was played into an inviting position for him and his ability, outside the area. Not closed down nearly quickly enough he arrowed the ball into Baxter’s top right hand corner for the goal and winner of the game.

Woking did respond with another looping ball in for their strikers to connect and an almighty scrimmage around the penalty post resulted, with at least three chances to score blocked before Torquay hacked clear. A reminder of how vulnerable the home side are, but Woking unable to make it count.

Carter impeded his man and was booked in stopping a counter attack in right midfield and United raided down the left next for Baxter to make another scrambling save at his near post for a another corner conceded. At the other end RCC turned neatly and shot straight at Dorel.

A Jones error left Barnes with a clear shooting chance and he blazed over. Ramsey ‘s foot in on halfway was too much for Quelch , who booked him on 77 minutes and Wynter’s free kick was back-headed over by Theophanous from a very difficult position.

Jason Banton arrived for Ramsey with little difference to Woking’s fortunes, Young was yellow-carded for Torquay. Baxter got exposed again in a left wing manoeuvre, but Barnes was thankfully off-side.

The Cards, to their credit in stubbornness if nothing else, then saw three cleared of the line in a minute as first left back Davis somehow cut out Theophanous, to screw the ball high over his own cross bar from practically under it and Joey Jones seemed to be denied twice from resulting corners by full backs at their goal posts.

In stoppage time Cook saw a skimming shot narrowly tipped round his post at full stretch by Dorel. Jones was hauled over as well as the Torquay card count also mounted. It had been a desperately disappointing and threadbare performance by a Woking side whose inexperience is stark. A test of the strengths of each side was also on the bench with Jon-Paul Pittman and Yan Klukowski not used by the home side.

This game away to relegation haunted Torquay United provided a true test of how far the Cards have fallen away. Below them Solihull Borough’s game at Tranmere Rovers was postponed due to the weather and Barrow had no game , but have three in hand on the Cards.

With this defeat and the manner of it, it is difficult to see how they can avoid the drop if they get caught by any of the bottom four, as on this sorry showing it looks inevitable, with the mere cushion of 3 points. No sign of the vital wins and change in form, tactics, team or players, needed now and which seems a world away.

Dagenham away is next up next Saturday but Woking have mustered just one point in 7 away days/evenings in 2018, albeit they should have won at Gateshead, instead of the point they got.

Torquay United: Vincent Dorel, Aaron Barnes, Conrad Balotoni, Sean McGinty (c), Liam Davis, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans , Luke Young, Elliott Romain, Josh Gowling, Rhys Healey, Brett Williams (Jamie Reid 61).

Unused substitutes: Ryan Clarke, Michee Efete, Yan Klukowski , Jon-Paul Pittman

Goals: Williams 16 pen, Lemonheigh-Evans 68

Booked: McGinty, Young, Barnes.

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Jordan Wynter, Joey Jones, Josh Staunton, Louis Ramsey, (Jason Banton 81), Kane Ferdinand, Chez Isaac, (Louie Theophanous 60), Anthony Cook, Charlie Carter, Regan Charles-Cook, Reece Grego-Cox.

Unused substitutes: Sam Mason, Matt Young, Fabio Saraiva.

Goal: Reece Grego-Cox 65

Booked: Chez Isaac, Charlie Carter, Louis Ramsey.

Referee: Adrian Quelch

Attendance: 1,837

My Woking MOTM: Nathan Baxter. As if ever a goalkeeper deserved a defensive shield it is this young man for his heroics again in the second half, to try to keep Woking alive.
Torquay United LINEUP
30Vincent Dorel
5Sean McGinty
26Conrad Balatoni
6Josh Gowling
21Aaron Barnes
8Luke Young
29Connor Lemonheigh-Evans
3Liam Davis
39Brett Williams ('61)
28Rhys Healey
22Elliott Romain
1Ryan Clarke
2Michee Efete
18Yan Klukowski
9Jon-Paul Pittman
19Jamie Reid ('61)
1Nathan Baxter
15Jordan Wynter
2Louis Ramsay ('81)
5Josh Staunton
4Joey Jones
8Chez Isaac ('60)
22Kane Ferdinand
12Charlie Carter
23Anthony Cook
11Regan Charles-Cook
20Reece Grego-Cox
18Sam Mason
21Matt Young
14Fabio Saraiva
10Jason Banton ('81)
9Louie Theophanous ('60)

Torquay United 2 - 1 Woking (Anthony Limbrick Interview)

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