Cards Unable To Salvage Draw Against Salford
12:00am, Sat 21st Jul 2018
Woking 0 Salford City 1
Saturday 21st July 2018
Hot off the back of Wednesday night's encouraging display against Chelsea U23's, Woking faced another stern test on Saturday afternoon in the shape of Salford City, the penultimate pre-season home game for The Cards. The opposition had made the footballing headlines in the past few days, the transfer of Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney (not featured in the squad today due to not getting international clearance) sparking much debate about the size of investment the well-known board are making as they aim to get out of the National League Premier at the first time of asking.
The recent heatwave of the past few weeks showed no signs of letting up as the sun beat down hard on the Laithwaite, harshening the fitness test for the players. Dowse made a few changes to the side that started the game Wednesday night, with Jack Cook, Greg Luer, Max Kretzschmar and Duane Ofori-Acheampong making way for Dan Spence, Paul Hodges, Fabio Saraiva and Jake Hyde respectively, lining up in the same 4-4-1-1 formation. In front of a decent, similar sized crowd to Wednesday night, the Cards unfortunately suffered a reverse of the score line, going down 0-1 to a Carl Piergianni header 12 minutes from time.
The game started in lively fashion, Woking creating the first chance of the game within a couple of minutes, a cushioned chest on the edge of box from Saraiva laying off for Hyde to drag his shot wide of the target. A minute later Salford had the first of several set pieces which would bother Woking throughout the game, a well delivered corner from Danny Lloyd headed by centre back Carl Piergianni, cleared off the goal line.
The game went back and forth quite evenly in the opening 10 minutes but Salford started getting more of a foothold on the game thereafter, winning the midfield battles with endeavour, starting to force Woking into surrendering possession a bit too easily. Through the lively Lloyd, dropping deep, instigating play and making good runs into the box, Salford carved out a few half-chances, Lloyd having a couple blocked, Danny Whitehead dragging one wide.
Woking then went close through Nick Wheeler in the 19th minute, a great ball from Christian Jolley finding him on the left side of the penalty area, he managed to force a save from the goalkeeper, attempting a lob with the goalkeeper not knowing whether to stick or twist. Wheeler kept the attack alive and was then unlucky with his subsequent effort, poking the ball beyond the committed keeper from a tight angle but not managing to get enough pace on the ball, the Salford defence stopping the ball right on the goal line.
Shortly after, Lloyd won a free kick 25 yards from goal and proceeded to take it, bringing out a really good save from Berti Schotterl, getting down well to his right-hand side. Former Peterborough United man Lloyd tested Schotterl again 5 minutes later heading a Ibou Touray cross from the left, the German goalkeeper again saving well to his right.
Whilst not testing the Salford goalkeeper Woking were continually getting success down the Salford left side throughout the half, Wheeler and Josh Casey a perpetual threat showing continuity from Wednesday night, linking well with Saravia and Hyde outside the box. Jolley, who had been delivering good balls from midfield out the towards the left channel, picked up an injury and was substituted by Dowse on 37 minutes, replaced by Declan Appau.
Salford finished the half underlining the threat they had carried throughout from set pieces, two deliveries from Lloyd resulting in headers from Salford skipper Liam Hogan, both narrowly clearing the crossbar. In open play the Woking backline had put in a largely solid display, marshalled confidently by Ian Gayle and Nathan Collier, dealing with the constant threat of Lloyd and physicality of Devante Rodney well. The last moment of action in the first half went to Woking, Wheeler again down that left whipping a ball across the box begging for some kind of contact, Hodges looking to keep the attack alive but not getting the ball beyond the first blue shirt on the right side.
Half Time: Woking 0 Salford City 0
Dowse made just the one change at the break, Kretzschmar coming on for Wheeler, Wokingâ€™s most potent attacking threat in the first 45. For Salford, Rodney came off and Rory Gaffney came on.
The second half began at a similar pace to the start of the first and with similar end to end action inside the opening few minutes. Appau did well to break up Salford possession in the middle of the park, feeding Kretzschmar whose work down the left earnt a corner. From the resulting defence of the corner, Salford broke rapidly, the ball reaching Lloyd down the Woking right, Casey doing well to stem the attack and shield the ball away in the penalty area.
On 56 minutes Woking made a double substitution, Hyde and Saraiva coming off for Ofori-Acheampong and Reggie Young. It wasn't long before Young's presence was felt; a great block from Appau led to a counter attack where Young managed to beat a couple of defenders, forcing a corner. Salford responded immediately with a big hoof upfield from Piergianni met first time on the volley by Gaffney, producing a good save from Schotterl. The resulting corner was headed marginally wide by Piergianni.
On 61 minutes the Woking double-subs linked for a half-chance, Young released down the left side, cutting back a ball to the edge of the six-yard box, but then just stolen from the toes of Acheampong by the hands of the goalkeeper. In the 65th minute, changes occurred for both sides - Greg Luer on for Hodges for Woking, and Jake Beesley and Nick Haughton replacing Lloyd and Antony Dudley for Salford. Not long after, following a clumsy challenge by Kane Ferdinand just outside the left of the penalty area, Haughton went for a â€˜Toni Kroos 95th minuteâ€™ style free kick, just averting the right post with his effort. Another double sub followed for Salford in the 71st minute as Danny Whitehead and Scott Wiseman left the field, replaced by Mark Shelton and John Smith.
With about a quarter of an hour left and Salford still enjoying more of the ball on balance, Lois Maynard really coming to the fore as a midfield presence. Woking continued to look lively down the left side, Kretzschmar and Young exchanging a one-two, the latter returning the ball with flair, a tidy flick warmly appreciated by the home support, allowing Kretzschmar to progress and get a cross off. Casey then again penetrated down the left, standing a ball up to the back post but a comfortable catch for the goalkeeper. Up the other end Woking didn't react quick enough to a ball breaking on the outside of the box, cueing up a fine strike by John Smith, excellently saved by Schotterl, showing agility to get a hand to his top left corner.
Salford managed to break the deadlock shortly after in the 78th minute. Tracking back, Young was harshly adjudged to barge over Gaffney, giving away a free kick to the right of the penalty area. As had been threatened throughout the afternoon, Tom Walker whipped in a good delivery and Piergianni rose well to header the ball in. Just after the goal, Jack Cook came on for Casey. Woking, looking for a response to going behind, then carved out their best chance of the second half; Young and Kretzschmar combined well again down the left, the resulting cross from Kretzschmar finding the head of Luer who nodded just off target.
For the last ten minutes the game slightly opened up, Salford peppered the Woking goal with speculative chances from range: Maynard with a chest and volley saved by Schotterl, Haughton with a powerful effort just averting 'top bins' on the keeperâ€™s right and Shelton clearing the crossbar. Woking tried to make more direct inroads through Acheampong who despite holding the ball up well and winning 50/50's, could not present any real goal threat. Dowse was forced into a change in the last moments of the game, Charlie Hester-Cook coming on for Appau who had gone down holding his left foot following a collision.
Looking to build from Wednesday's game against Chelsea, the cards again demonstrated good composure at the back today with the central partnership of Gayle and Collier looking assured and confident, the goalkeeper producing some really fine saves and Casey again demonstrating his full back qualities at both ends of the pitch. Some great endeavour down the left and at times quick, sound retention of the ball in midfield. The lack of cutting edge and lack of troubling the Salford goalkeeper, in tandem with the threat of set pieces today will be the things to look at going forward. That said, it's clear to see Salford will be a tough nut to crack next season, their own back four looking really strong, and with proven football league quality in the likes of Whitehead and Lloyd showing their class today, it will be interesting to see just how far they go next campaign. From Woking's point of view what better an opportunity to get back on track than playing over the road (literally) in a few day's time against Westfield.
Woking: 1 Berti Schotterl, 2 Dan Spence, 3 Josh Casey (17 Jack Cook 78'), 4 Ian Gayle (C), 5 Nathan Collier, 6 Kane Ferdinand, 7 Paul Hodges (12 Greg Luer 65'), 8 Christian Jolley (20 Declan Appau 37', Jak), 9 Jake Hyde (14 Duane Ofori-Acheampong 56'), 10 Fabio Saraiva (15 Reggie Young 56'), 11 Nick Wheeler (18 Max Kretzschmar 45')
Unused Subs: 13 Sam Mason (GK)
Salford City: Chris Neal, Scott Wiseman (Mark Shelton 71'), Liam Hogan (c), Ibou Touray, Lois Maynard, Danny Lloyd (Jake Beesley 65'), Danny Whitehead (John Smith 71'), Devante Rodney (Rory Gaffney 45'), Carl Piergianni, Tom Walker, Antony Dudley (Nick Haughton 65')
Unused subs: Max Crocome (GK), Jake Lawlor, Gus Mafuta
Goals: Carl Piergianni 78'
Referee: Daniel Simpson (no cards issued to either side)
Man of the Match: Reggie Young, continuing the good work started by Nicky Wheeler in the first half, the young man put smiles on faces with his pace, trickery and endeavour in the second half and was most likely to create a goal scoring opportunity.