Woking News & Mail
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 4th AugustAug 2018
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East Thurrock United
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Cards begin National League South campaign at Rookery Hill

Glen Harrington
12:00am, Fri 3rd Aug 2018
East Thurrock United vs Woking
National League South
Saturday 4th August

After nine encouraging pre-season friendlies, comprising five wins, two draws and two defeats, the Cards finally begin their National League South campaign this coming Saturday as they travel to East Thurrock United.

Despite selecting a predominately second-string eleven, also comprising a number of trialists, Alan Dowson’s side were comfortable in defeating Farnborough 2-0 on Tuesday evening – Reggie Young and trialist Bradley Simms scoring the goals. It will certainly be a very different side which lines up in Essex but it will be interesting to see whether any of Young, Greg Luer or Paul Hodges in particular has done enough to earn a starting spot.

The Rocks were promoted to the sixth tier of English football in 2016, beating Dulwich Hamlet in the Isthmian League Premier Division play-off final, and have since finished 13th and 15th in their two seasons in the division. Last year they got 50 points from their 42 games – eight clear of the bottom three – but notably conceded 84 goals, with only relegated Whitehawk letting in more.

The Cards will certainly be hoping to make a statement of intent to justify their position amongst the favourites for promotion so get along if you can to support the team and cheer them on to success!

Woking Team News

Dowse, supported by assistants Martin Tyler and Ian Dyer, look to have put together a very competitive squad ahead of the new season and the trio will certainly have some interesting decisions to make ahead of Saturday’s opener.

German goalkeeper Berti Schotterl, who starred for Dartford during the second-half of last season, looks likely to start in goal ahead of academy graduate Sam Mason. The duo have shared the gloves during pre-season but the more experienced man is primed to get the nod. At the back, Nathan Collier and Josh Casey – two players Dowse knows well from former club Hampton and Richmond – seem the obvious choices in the two full-back positions, with Jack Cook and Ian Gayle set to be the preferred centre-back partnership with Charlie Wassmer still on the way back to full fitness.

In midfield, Dowse will be hoping that Christian Jolley is fit to start alongside Kane Ferdinand, with another academy graduate Declan Appau waiting in the wings to step in if he doesn’t make it. Max Kretzschmar should make his first competitive Woking appearance since the final day of the 2016/17 season after impressing in pre-season and will likely play in the number ten role, although Fabio Saraiva and Paul Hodges will also be looking to fill that spot.

Out wide, Nicky Wheeler should take one of the two places, but the second is very much up for grabs with Hodges and Reggie Young hoping to start, as well as one of the three forwards who could play slightly out of position to accommodate a teammate. Jake Hyde, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Greg Luer are all pushing for a starting spot and all have drifted out wide at times during pre-season.

East Thurrock United Team News

The Rocks, managed by John Coventry, have the goals of last year’s National League South top scorer Sam Higgins to call upon. The striker found the net 25 times last season, three ahead of Dartford’s Alfie Pavey and Havant’s Jason Prior, and made the decision to stay with the club this summer.

The other very notable name in United’s squad is defender Paul Konchesky, the former England international who has played for the likes of West Ham, Fulham and Liverpool during his club career, but was with Billericay Town last year.

Last Time Out

Woking 2-0 East Thurrock United (FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round – 2003/04 season)

The Cards needed a replay to defeat East Thurrock after a 1-1 draw in the original fixture at Rookery Hill. Woking went on to reach the second round, beating Histon 3-1 in round one, before losing 3-0 at home to Kidderminster. For the Rocks it was the furthest they had ever reached in the competition at the time – a record which stood until 2011/12.

On the Day

Rookery Hill can be found in Corringham and the postcode is SS17 9LB. It is around an hour and a quarter from the Laithwaite Community Stadium. The nearest stations are Stanford-le-hope or Basildon, both on the Fenchurch Street to Southend line. Ticket prices are £13 for adults, £6 for an OAP or student and £3 for Under 16s. A group of two adults and two children can also purchase a ‘family ticket’ for £25 – although the group does all need to be related.

Next Up

The Cards play consecutive home games on Tuesday evening, against St Albans City, and then on Saturday afternoon against Oxford City. For many this will be the first opportunity to see the new team in action so come along if you can and cheer on the team.

Dramatic Last Minute Penalty Goal in Season Opener

Ryan Hill
12:00am, Sat 4th Aug 2018
East Thurrock United 0 Woking 1
Vanarama National League South
Saturday 4th August 2018

The new look Woking side started life in the Conference South on a radiant afternoon in Essex and there was a good following for Dowse’s first game at the helm. The playing surface was understandably quite hard given the heat of late and Woking were missing a few. Ofori-Acheampong wasn’t risked given a reported groin tweak and Jack Cook didn’t make the bench, as was expected.
The ‘Rocks’ had a couple of their own absentees; Sam Higgins (star striker from last season) had to get married and their manager attended also, a perfectly reasonable arrangement for the first day of the season

The early exchanges saw Woking struggle to get a hold of the game and the Cards fans were quietened as East Thurrock dominated the ball. Their two imposing centre backs and their debutant Paul Konchesky were dealing with the somewhat isolated Hyde with relative ease. Hyde was energetic however and chased down a wayward back pass to the Rocks keeper which unsettled their defence somewhat. The first clear chance fell for Hyde in the 12th minute following a through ball from Saraiva. He was clear of the last man and his shot bobbled past the left post; he will have felt he should have done better.

A notable feature of the first half was long throws into the box from East Thurrock’s Harry Lee; one of these followed a period of header ping pong between the sides and was almost bundled over the line but Schotterl managed to keep it out despite the home crowd's protestations that the ball had crept in.

Hyde was diligently chasing lofted balls up to him from the Woking defence and he was called up by the referee a few times for challenging for the ball which seemed harsh. The East Thurrock defence was well versed in the art of grappling and dealt with the aerial exchanges without consternation.

Around the 30 minute mark Woking were starting to get the ball on the floor and move it around with a little more fluency. Saraiva mistouched during one of these moves and put it a late challenge resulting in a booking. Space was starting to open up and East Thurrock’s number 9 took a speculative lofted shot after winning the ball from a dalliance by Collier, which floated over the bar but was a bit of a scare for the Cards.

Towards the end of the half Woking were getting a lot of crosses in from the left from Casey and Wheeler but were unable to capitalise; it was a shame Ofori-Acheampong wasn’t on the field as his aerial presence would have been very handy!

The last action of the half saw a counter attack from East Thurrock from a Woking corner; Tom Derry was through on the Woking goal and there was a robust coming together between him and Schotterl just outside the Woking box with Collier almost sandwiched between them. A foul was given against Derry but there was no malice on his part and the half time whistle was blown shortly after.

It was a frustrating first half for Woking who for the most part were mirroring East Thurrock’s aerial tactics; Jolley and Ferdinand had struggled to get a hold of the ball and notwithstanding Hyde’s vigorous running and harrying, he would have benefitted from some extra support. Neither keeper really had anything notable to contend with.

Half-time: East Thurrock United 0 Woking 0

Reggie Young came on for Saraiva and went on the left wing; this position was filled by Wheeler in the first half with Saraiva at number ten. Wheeler went onto the right and Kretzschmar moved into a central role. The heat was clearly having an effect as space was starting to open up and both teams started to show more endeavour. East Thurrock’s right back got free in an advanced position on the right wing early on and had an unconvincing effort easily dealt with by Schotterl.

Reggie Young really showed his pedigree with a deft touch from a throw, through which he bamboozled his marker on the left wing and progressed the play, nothing came of it but was a sign of things to come from him. His willingness to take the ball and run at the defence looked to galvanise those around him and Woking’s play became livelier.

East Thurrock persisted with the long throw-ins but there was less of these to contend with in the second half as Woking looked to play on the floor more with less misplaced hopeful passes. Woking were winning more and more corners but struggling to make these count; a few were too close to the opposition’s keeper and the others dealt with by their enforcing centre halves.

Kane Ferdinand was having an increasing influence with his range of passing; Jolley, however, generally had an afternoon to forget and was subbed towards the end when Khinda-John came on. At the 60 minute mark East Thurrock substituted their centre forward with a like replacement and not long after Marlow had a hopeful long range attempt on the Woking goal which passed over the bar.

Paul Hodges came on for Wheeler and added to the spirited attacking play from Woking, giving a good ball from the right for Hyde whose shot was collected by the keeper. This period saw an instance of great combination play between Casey and Young, Young put a ball across which was gathered by Ferdinand at the edge of the box, his first effort was blocked by a defender, it came back to him and his second attempt was again thwarted by a last ditch block off the line by another defender.

Woking were really putting the pressure on, Young looking confident and assured and it felt a goal was due. The East Thurrock players were trying to kill the game at this point and looked to be settling for a draw. Kretzschmar put a dangerous free kick into the box from the right which was controlled by Kane- let on to Young on the left who pulled back to Kretzschmar in the box whose shot was again cleared off the line!

Heading up to the 90 minute mark, Kretzschmar zipped a well weighted ball through the defence for Young to run onto. He managed to round the keeper but his angle to goal was too acute; he played a ball back for Hyde who did not connect cleanly and the chance was gone.

Into stoppage time and Casey played a ball down the left wing for Young who brilliantly knocked it past their left back and burnt him for pace; he passed him and was heading into the box before being fouled by a nudge from the said left back and Woking were awarded a penalty. This was a somewhat soft penalty but it cannot be said that it was undeserved given the general run of play in the second half.

It took an age for this penalty to be taken as the East Thurrock players were protesting furiously and holding up the proceedings. Konchesky went as far to kick the ball off the spot and was subsequently booked; a player of his experience should know better than to resort to such unsavoury divertive actions. East Thurrock’s captain, Burns, was also booked for dissent. Following all this Kretzschmar stepped up to confidently blast the ball into the roof of the net, just to left of centre of the keeper who dived the other way. Cue jubilant scenes with fans and players celebrating as one and the final whistle coming shortly after.

Max fires home the winner from the penalty spot (pic: David Holmes)

In the end it was a fair result as Woking dominated the second half and could have had a few extra goals if the finishing was more composed. The first half was not a good display from the Cards, as Dowse noted in his post-match interview and Woking will need to reproduce the second half display on a consistent basis to meet expectations this season. Attention now turns to St. Albans at home on Tuesday night and the Cards will be hoping for another victory to keep the good start going.

Woking: Berti Schotterl, Dan Spence, Josh Casey, Christian Jolley (Kiran Khinda-John 80’), Ian Gayle, Nathan Collier, Max Kretzschmar, Kane Ferdinand, Jake Hyde, Fabio Saraiva (Reggie Young 45’), Nick Wheeler (Paul Hodges 68’).

Unused subs: Greg Luer, Sam Mason.

Goals: Kretzschmar 97’

Bookings: Saraiva 30’

East Thurrock United: Jack Giddens, Danny Harris, Tom Stephen, Paul Konchesky, Lee Burns, Ryan Scott, Ben Marlow, Harry Lee, Danilo Orsi-Dadamo (Gabe Kellum 76’), Tom Derry, Albert Levett (Jack Simmons 60’).

Unused subs: Lewis Knight, Sammy Knott

Goals: None

Bookings: Konchesky 95’, Lee Burns 95’

Referee: Wayne Cartmel

Attendance: 532

Man of the Match: Reggie Young, made a real difference as a half time substitute. His nifty touches and direct running throughout caused all sorts of problems for the opposition and won the penalty at the death which sealed victory.
East Thurrock United LINEUP
1Jack Giddens
2Danny Harris
3Thomas Stephen
4Paul Konchesky
5Lee Burns
6Ryan Scott
7Ben Marlow
8Harry Lee
9Danilo Orsi-Dadomo ('77)
10Tom Derry
11Albert Levett ('61)
12Jack Simmons ('61)
14Lewis Knight
15Gabriel Kellum ('77)
16Sammy Knott
1Berti Schotterl
2Daniel Spence
3Josh Casey
4Christian Jolley
5Ian Gayle
6Nathan Collier
7Max Kretzschmar
8Kane Ferdinand
9Jake Hyde
10Fabio Saraiva ('46)
11Nicky Wheeler ('68)
12Reggie Young ('46)
14Paul Hodges ('68)
15Kiran Khinda-John
16Greg Luer
18Sam Mason

East Thurrock United 0 - 1 Woking | Dowse Interview

East Thurrock United 0 - 1 Woking | Nathan Collier Interview

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