MKJ Group
12:00pm - SaturdaySat 14th JulyJul 2018

Spelthorne Sports
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Cards travel to Spelthorne and Sutton for pre-season double header

Glen Harrington
12:00am, Fri 13th Jul 2018
Spelthorne Sports vs Woking,
followed by Sutton United vs Woking
Pre-Season Friendlies
Saturday 14th July 2018

The Cards play pre-season games three and four on Saturday as they make consecutive short journeys to minnows Spelthorne Sports and long-time National League and National League South rivals Sutton United.

Alan Dowson’s side have one win and one defeat to show from their first two weeks of pre-season with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Fleet Town followed by a 3-1 defeat to League One side AFC Wimbledon in Giuseppe Sole’s appreciation match. Trialist Paul Hodges scored the Cards’ consolation against the Dons and he will likely be amongst those looking to impress again this weekend alongside the already contracted players.


Dowse had 19 players in his squad on Tuesday evening, in addition to Sole, with nine trialists on display. Only two of those trialists, former Sutton full-back Dan Spence and ex-Hull City striker Greg Luer, started the game. The Cards lined up with Sam Mason in goal, deputising for Berti Schotterl, a back four of Spence, new signing Josh Casey, Ian Gayle and Jack Cook, a midfield of Fabio Saraiva and Nathan Collier, with Luer, Sole and Nicky Wheeler playing behind Duane Ofori-Acheampong.

In addition to Declan Appau, making his first appearance since January after his comeback from injury, and academy goalkeeper Peter Arnold, substitutes included former Reading striker Nic Bignall, last with Hungerford; experienced forward Chris Dickson, a former Ghana international who has been a regular scorer for Chelmsford City in recent seasons; highly-rated Hartley Wintney midfielder Hodges, scorer on Tuesday; giant German Brandon Diau, who can play both centre-back and up front; midfielder James Dale, a regular in the Scottish leagues with Forfar and Brechin; Kofi Halliday, a former Aldershot youth team striker who has spent time in Sweden; and Samson Maagbe, a winger last with Kettering Town.

Charlie Wassmer and Christian Jolley were still not fit to start on Tuesday following their play-off run with Hampton and Richmond whilst Reggie Young was away with his family. The latter, at least, should be back to play some part on Saturday.

Spelthorne Sports and Sutton United

Woking’s first friendly of the day, starting at midday, is against ninth tier side Spelthorne, who finished tenth in the Combined Counties Premier League last season, some 47 points behind champions, and our near neighbours, Westfield – who we face in just under two weeks’ time.

Kicking off at the earlier time of 1.30pm, the Cards then take on familiar foes in Sutton United, who will provide a stern test for Dowse’s side after only missing out on promotion from the National League through the play-offs last season. The U’s have been familiar opponents for Woking during both their time in National League South and the National League over the last decade and there will be few surprises when the two teams lock horns again on Saturday at Gander Green Lane.

Sutton, managed by Paul Doswell, scored an impressive 2-0 win over newly promoted League One side Coventry City last weekend and the Cards will need to be at their best to get a result. The Sutton squad includes a number of familiar names, including ex-Woking players Aswad Thomas and Ross Lafayette. New signings thus far include former Forest Green Rovers duo Dale Bennett and Charlie Clough, but generally they look to be keeping the core of last season’s successful squad together, no doubt in the hope of challenging at the top end of the table once again.

Please get along to see one of the games if you can and cheer on the team ahead of England’s match with Belgium which kicks off later in the day.

Cards defeat Spelthorne courtesy of two fantastic free-kicks

Emma Louise
3:45pm, Sat 14th Jul 2018
Spelthorne Sports 0 - Woking 2
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 14th July 2018

The sun was beating down on the pitch as Spelthorne got the friendly underway. Woking showed their dominance within the first two minutes, when a shot on target by Appau forced a save by the Spelthorne keeper. Within a minute Jolley had also had a shot saved, and a minute later Reggie Young shot just wide of the net.

The first fifteen minutes of play were spattered with Woking corners, many of which leading to attempts on goal, including a couple of close ones by Diau.

In the sixteenth minute the ball hit the back of the net via the head of Ofori-Acheampong, which was, unfortunately, disallowed for a foul on the keeper.

Woking fans were confused when a shot by Reggie Young was finger-tipped away by the Spelthorne keeper, yet the home side were awarded the goal kick.

Mid-way through the first half Woking had their second goal disallowed, when the referee called offside on the strike made by Ofori-Acheampong, playing off a goalkeeper’s parry.

Again, the Cards were pushing forward, and a header by captain Wassmer was disallowed for a foul on the defender.

Whilst Woking began to feel the pressure, Spelthorne made their push forwards, and Sam Mason was pressured into making a spectacular double save, despite Woking fans’ shouts of offside.

The remainder of the first half was a consistent push from both teams on goal, with Woking hitting the bar, and shots going wide, whilst Spelthorne played directly into Mason’s safe hands. The half time whistle was a welcome reprieve from what was becoming a rather intensive game.

Half-Time: Spelthorne Sports 0 – Woking 0

At half time Woking made three changes, using all the available players on the bench to rest the players returning from injury. Spelthorne surprised all of the away fans by bringing out not only a full new team, but in different coloured kits! With Dowse leaving at half time for Woking’s other match, Jolley, with his coaching experience, stood in on the touch line. Wassmer leaving the pitch left Declan Appau as captain for the remainder of the game.

In the 46th minute Spelthorne gave away a free kick in a dangerous area, and with a strong and decisive foot, Appau sent it straight into the top corner of the goal.

Declan Appau opens the scoring for Woking

Woking gave away a free kick themselves within three minutes, but were lucky to have Spelthorne fire above the bar. In the 54th minute Diau went down with a groin injury. Despite trying to walk it off, within a couple of minutes it was clear he would not be able to continue playing. With no other subs available, Woking were forced to drop to ten men.

From that point the match seemed to be much more in Woking’s hands. Some incredibly strong midfield play by Hester-Cook, and some lovely pushes forward by Young and Halliday made Woking look a threatening side.

A Spelthorne push forced another strong save from Sam Mason, who was clearly on his best form today. For the next few minutes, the teams traded shots, with Mason being made to show what he was made of, and with some Woking forwards shooting too far wide.

In the 83rd minute Woking won another free kick in a strong position, which was skilfully put away without question by Halliday.

Whilst Woking defended their clean sheet hard, with their ten remaining men, Spelthorne continued to push, with Mason having to make saves right up until the final minute of play.

Whilst perhaps this was not as strong a result as some fans may have been hoping for, the Cards showed a lot of promise for the season to come, with some brilliant work from many players, and some nicely worked set plays.

Woking First Half: 1. Sam Mason, 2. Dan Choules, 3. Eoin Kirwan, 4. Declan Appau, 5 Charlie Wassmer (C), 6 Brandon Diau, 7 Christian Jolley, 8 Charlie Hester-Cook, 9 Duane Ofori-Acheampong, 10, Kofi Halliday, 11. Reggie Young

Woking Second Half: 1. Sam Mason, 2. Dan Choules, 3. Eoin Kirwan, 4. Declan Appau (C), 6 Brandon Diau, 8 Charlie Hester-Cook, 10, Kofi Halliday, 11. Reggie Young, 12. Billy Mountague, 14. Luke King, 17. Ibby Akanbi

Unused subs: -

Goals: Appau 46’, Halliday 84’

Bookings: N/A

Man of the Match: My man of the match was Kofi Halliday (pictured), his pace created plenty of opportunities, and his determination on the ball shone through.

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