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Wycombe Wanderers

Cards look to continue unbeaten start to pre-season against Football League opposition

Glen Harrington
8:44pm, Sun 14th Jul 2019
Woking vs Wycombe Wanderers
Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday 16th July

The Cards will no doubt be very happy with how they’ve started pre-season after Tuesday’s comfortable 3-1 win over Badshot Lead was backed up by a hugely encouraging 1-1 draw against a strong Oxford United side at the Laithwaite Community Stadium on Saturday.

League One side Oxford brought a team littered with talented players, including experienced goalkeeper Simon Eastwood, Tarique Fosu, a recent addition from Charlton Athletic, Liverpool academy graduate Cameron Brannagan, and talented goalscoring midfielder James Henry, but the home side held their own and deservedly claimed a draw when Jake Hyde’s second-half header cancelled out the opening goal from Elliott Frear.

Manager Alan Dowson will now be expecting his team to produce a similar performance against another League One side – with Wycombe Wanderers the visitors this coming Tuesday.


Dowse made a number of changes on Saturday from the team which had played against Badshot, when 22 different players were used, with a reduced squad of 19 which included just two trialists, along with new signing Shaun Donnellan – who officially completed his move after the game. The former West Bromwich Albion, Yeovil Town and Maidstone United midfielder will be battling the likes of Godfrey Poku, supremely impressive against Oxford, and Kane Ferdinand for a starting place over the course of the upcoming season.

The Cards started the game against the U’s with Craig Ross in goal, a defensive quartet of Jack Cook, Josh Casey, Manny Parry and Ben Gerring, sitting behind a midfield of Poku, Donnellan and Max Kretzschmar, whilst Hyde and Dave Tarpey played alongside a trialist up front. As he predicted in his interview on Friday, Dowse held off on his changes until the final half an hour of the game, introducing the likes of Ferdinand, Sam Howes, Nathan Collier, Moussa Diarra, Jack Skinner, academy defender Joe Morrison, and the returning Paul Hodges, along with the second trialist. Those players who only took part in the final stages of the game are expected to start on Tuesday.

Wycombe Wanderers

The Chairboys, managed by long-serving former player Gareth Ainsworth – with the club in some capacity since 2009 and head coach since 2012 – enjoyed a successful first season back in League One last year, their first at that level since 2011/12, finishing 17th, also marking the first time they have avoided relegation from the third tier since 2002/03. Despite a nervy campaign which saw them flirt with the bottom four for much of the campaign they eventually finished three points clear in a congested bottom-half of the table.

Their squad includes several familiar names and chief among them is striker Adebayo Akinfenwa, now 37, who has finished as the club’s top scorer during each of the last three seasons. They also have a number of other players to look out for, including former Dagenham, Peterborough and Brighton forward Craig Mackail-Smith, ex-Egypt international defender Adam El-Abd, and new signing Alex Pattison, who has recently joined the club after being released by Middlesbrough.

On the Day

Ticket prices are £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and £3 for under-16s. Tickets are available online in advance or on the day at the turnstiles.

Cards impress against League One Chairboys

William Bewsey
12:00am, Tue 16th Jul 2019
Woking 2 Wycombe Wanderers 3
Pre Season Friendly
16th July 2019

The Cards were just edged out by a strong Wycombe side, who finished 17th in League One and boasted notable players such as Adebayo Akinfenwa, so Alan Dowson and his team knew that this would be a tough test. The Woking team was much changed from the team who started against Oxford United on Saturday, in what appeared to be a 4-4-2 formation, with Sam Howes replacing Craig Ross in goal, Nathan Collier at right back in place of Jack Cook, Manny Parry keeping his place at centre back along with Moussa Diarra (pictured above), who replaced Ben Gerring, Poku keeping his place at the heart of midfield, along with new signing Shaun Donnellan who also started against Oxford. Dave Tarpey and Max Kretzschmar made way for academy graduate Jack Skinner, along with Jake Hyde making way for Trialist #9, with Trialist #11 being given a second start.

A percentage of the gate receipts from this match went to the Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation, in honour of the late Justin Edinburgh, who sadly passed away in June. So before any action could begin, a minute’s applause rang around Kingfield, with both sets of players and the officials huddling on the centre circle.

As the game began, it was evident that the Cards were looking to start well, as after just 2 minutes, Trialist #11 found himself some space to run with the ball on the left hand side after good work from Skinner, and he arrowed a shot from 15 yards that just missed the top right corner. The Cards maintained this momentum as, moments later, a good corner from Skinner found the towering head of Diarra, but the French defender was just unable to get underneath it, and it rose just over the bar.

The Cards continued to have the experimental Wycombe team on the ropes, again good work from Skinner was almost rewarded, as his cross deflected off the Wycombe defender and smacked the base of the post.

However, despite all this early Woking pressure, it was Wycombe who struck the first blow after 15 minutes. An inch perfect ball from the Trialist RB found Alex Samuel unmarked, and he put the ball well out of the reach of Howes into the bottom corner.

But the Wycombe lead would only last nine minutes, as a brilliant and skillful run from the Trialist #11 led to a clumsy challenge from the Wycombe defender. The referee did not hesitate in pointing to the spot. The Trialist #11 took the penalty that he had earned, and despite Yates in the Wycombe goal getting a hand to it, the ball trickled into the bottom right corner.

Woking continued to press Wycombe, mainly due to the tireless Godfrey Poku in midfield, and this time it was Trialist #9 who got in behind the Wycombe defence. He showed good pace to charge down the right hand side, but his wayward shot flew over the bar and high into the Leslie Gosden. Chances kept coming, with a brilliant first-time cross from Collier just a tad high for Skinner, but there was a scare for Howes in the Woking goal. His clearance was charged down, and found its way to Nick Freeman, who managed to force a smart stop from Howes, who recovered well from his mistake.

Woking’s crossing in the match was second to none, and yet again a great free kick from Casey found a towering defender, but Manny Parry just couldn’t get underneath it. However, a brilliant move in the 40th minute saw the ball reach Casey on the left hand side, and his superb looping cross found the Trialist #11 at the back post, who put the ball into the back of the net, and the Cards had completed the turnaround.

Half-time: Woking 2 Wycombe Wanderers 1

Both teams made half-time changes, with four trialists and Jason McCarthy on for Wycombe in place of Bloomfield, two trialists, Freeman and the goalscorer Samuel, with Josh Casey being replaced by academy player Joe Morrison for Woking.

After 58 minutes, a good cross from Jason McCarthy found the head of a trialist centre back, and his header was brilliantly guided past the outstretched dive of Howes into the top corner.

More changes followed for both sides, with Gape, Pattison, Allsop, Trialist and Adebayo Akinfenwa all getting a runout, and Woking replaced the two trialists, Collier, Skinner and Parry with Gerring, Hyde, Cook, Tarpey and Kretzschmar. The Cards were still showing good intent, with Donnellan just firing over after good build up play between Hodges and Tarpey. Tarpey was showing exactly what he has to offer, looking back to his best as he and Hodges continued their partnership that was evident last season when Tarpey was on loan at Woking.

With less than ten minutes to go, a free kick was won by Woking near the halfway line. Max Kretzschmar spotted Allsop in goal off his line, and a brilliant effort that had all of Kingfield watching was well dealt with by Allsop, as he managed to tip the audacious effort onto the bar. It would have been an incredible goal against his former club. With time running out, Tarpey and Hodges unlocked the Wycombe defence, and forced a corner. The delivery from Kretzschmar found Cook unmarked in the box, but his free header went wide, and he might have expected better.

In the 89th minute, a free kick from Allsop was headed on by Akinfenwa, and despite a save from Ross, the rebound fell straight to the striker, who finished calmly to win the game for Wycombe.

It finished 3-2 to the Chairboys, and Woking can consider themselves very unlucky to lose the game. The Cards more than matched their opponents, and showed positive signs ahead of their Northern double header, when they face Salford City on Friday and Dunston UTS on Saturday. Manager Alan Dowson will be pleased with the performance, as his side were constantly pressing Wycombe and showed some brilliant attacking football at times.

Woking: 1 Sam Howes (13 Craig Ross 65’), 2 Nathan Collier (17 Jack Cook 65’), 3 Josh Casey (19 Joe Morrison 45’), 4 Godfrey Poku, 5 Manny Parry (15 Ben Gerring 65’), 6 Moussa Diarra, 7 Jack Skinner (12 Dave Tarpey 65’), 16 Shaun Donellan, 9 Trialist (18 Jake Hyde 65’), 10 Paul Hodges, 11 Trialist (14 Max Kretzschmar 65’)

Unused subs: 8 Kane Ferdinand

Goals: Trialist 23’, Trialist 40’

Wycombe Wanderers Cameron Yates (Ryan Allsop 75’), Trialist (Dominic Gape 65’), Trialist (Trialist 45’), Trialist (Jason McCarthy 45’), Trialist (Alex Pattison 65’), Trialist (Trialist 56’) , Trialist, Matt Bloomfield (Trialist 45’), Nick Freeman (Trialist 45’), Alex Samuel (Trialist 45’), Craig Mackail-Smith (Adebayo Akinfenwa 65’)

Goals: Samuel 15’, Trialist 58’, Akinfenwa 89’

Referee: Sunny Gill

Attendance: 660

Man of the Match: Trialist #11 impressed with his two goals, but Godfrey Poku stood out as a player who throws himself into challenges, is determined in winning the ball and was key to the high pressing that helped start many attacks and he didn’t lose a midfield battle in the whole match.

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