Woking 2 Portsmouth 4
30th July 2019
Wokingâ€™s pre-season schedule came to an end with a generally encouraging 4-2 defeat to likely League One promotion contenders Portsmouth at Kingfield. Brett Pitman opened the scoring for the away side with a penalty, and added a second with a neatly taken free kick. Oli Hawkins slotted home a third before Manny Parry pulled one back for the Cards on the stroke of half time. After the break, Hawkins restored the 3-goal advantage for the home side before Moussa Diarra headed Wokingâ€™s second from a corner shortly before the final whistle.
At a wet and breezy Kingfield, the Cards lined up in a 5-3-2 formation, with Sam Howes starting ahead of Craig Ross in goal. Ben Gerring, Manny Parry and Moussa Diarra lined up at centre back, flanked by Jack Cook and skipper Josh Casey at right back and left back respectively. Shaun Donnellan and Godfrey Poku anchored the midfield behind the more advanced Kane Ferdinand. Dave Tarpey and Jake Hyde were paired together in attack.
With Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett selecting a far stronger team than had appeared at Aldershot a week earlier, the Cards fell behind as soon as the 3rd minute. Pompey broke down the right and a cross found club captain Brett Pitman, who was (perhaps controversially)
adjudged to have been fouled by Diarra. Pitman picked himself off the turf to strike home the penalty confidently, low down to Howesâ€™ right.
In the 13th minute, Portsmouth doubled their advantage. Gerring left a high ball forward, allowing Oli Hawkins to nip in behind the Cards defence, Howes eventually bringing Hawkins down a few yards outside the penalty area. Pitman coolly placed the resulting free kick beyond Howesâ€™ reach.
After a spell of Woking pressure, including a Josh Casey corner which was easily claimed by keeper Alex Bass, the Cards fell 3-0 behind. Poku was dispossessed in the middle of the park, with Pompey able to work the ball out to the right, where James Bolton crossed for Oli Hawkins to tap home.
Wokingâ€™s first real effort on goal came in the 26th minute, when Donnellan broke forward and unleashed a shot which took a slight deflection before being safely gathered by Bass in the Portsmouth goal. From this point onwards, the Cards began to get more a foothold in the game, with Tarpey in particular causing the away defence problems without overly troubling the Pompey keeper.
However, in the 45th minute Woking got the goal their endeavour deserved. Good play from Hyde won the Cards a free kick, which Casey lofted in towards Howesâ€™ goal. A scramble in the box ensued; fortunately for the home side Manny Parry was able to find the crucial touch past the helpless Pompey keeper. Referee Charlie Brakespearâ€™s half time whistle followed shortly after, leaving the Woking players going into the break on a high.
Half-time: Woking 1 Portsmouth 3
Manny Parry touches the ball home from close range; pic: David Holmes
Dowse made 3 changes at the half time interval. Craig Ross replaced Howes in goal, Collier replaced Cook at right back and Max Kretzschmar replaced Poku. Kretzschmar went into the attacking midfield role, with Ferdinand dropping into the deeper midfield role vacated by Poku. Kenny Jackett chose to make no changes, remaining with the strong first team XI and keeping his youth team substitutes on the bench.
Whether it be due to the half time changes or the goal on the stroke of half time, Woking began to play with more vigour. In the 47th minute, Tarpey twisted and turned his way into the box, winning a corner, which was punched away. Back came the Cards, and in the 56th minute Josh Casey lofted another free kick into the Portsmouth box. The ball pinballed around on the edge of the box, before being cleared, however a lovely ball back in behind the defence saw Hyde momentarily break free. Unfortunately, his shot was well blocked by Haji Mnoga. The resulting corner was a dangerous one to the back post, though Gerring was unable to get over it enough and headed over.
Woking continued to have far more of the game than they did in the first half, without being able to create any more clear-cut chances. In the 65th minute, Dowse changed things, bringing on 3 trialists for Gerring, Tarpey and Donnellan, and a couple of minutes later these changes almost paid immediate dividends. Trialist #18 found himself some space on edge of the box, and curled a rasping shot which unfortunately was just slightly wide of the top corner.
After Hawkins flashed a dangerous shot past Craig Rossâ€™s far past, Paul Hodges replaced the hard-working Jake Hyde in the 79th minute. Almost immediately, Kretzschmar found himself a yard of space inside the box, however his effort to the far post was cleared.
As the clock ticked by into the final ten minutes, Diarra made an excellent last-ditch tackle on Pitman after he looked to be clear on goal, however in the 83rd minute Portsmouth did add a fourth. Hawkins played the ball to Pitman, who in turn crossed it back across goal for Hawkins to use all of his 6 ft 5 frame to slide the ball home at the back post.
Leon Pitman replaced Josh Flint for Pompey in the 88th minute as time looked to be running out for Woking to get the goal which would put more a fair reflection on the score line. The Cards, however, had other ideas. Hodges flicked a long ball onto Kretzschmar, who won a corner. Kretzschmar himself swung it in the near post, finding Diarra to place a lovely glancing header into the back of the net.
The final whistle blew shortly after. Dowse will have been happy to get a good final pre-season workout against a Portsmouth side with copious amounts of football league experience. The players perhaps took a little while to get to grips with Portsmouthâ€™s high level of passing and movement, and saw themselves go 3-0 down to Pompeyâ€™s first 3 shots on goal. However, from this point on, it was a more even contest and the playerâ€™s work-rate and tenacity to pressure the opposition players never dropped. This was especially evident in the second half. Dave Tarpey looked very sharp until he was taken off, no doubt with Saturdayâ€™s trip to Dagenham in mind, and Josh Casey was as reliable as ever. It was pleasing to see two goals from set-pieces, no doubt a key area that Dowse is looking at for goals this season. The trialists didnâ€™t have an enormous amount of time to impose themselves on the game, however #17 and #18 looked threatening on occasion. Almost certainly, Dowse will still be on the lookout for a creative midfielder and another striker, as the Cards gear up for their first game back in the top flight in non-league football after a one-year absence.
1 Sam Howes (Craig Ross 46), 2 Jack Cook (Nathan Collier 46), 3 Josh Casey, 4 Manny Parry, 5 Ben Gerring (Trialist 65), 6 Moussa Diarra, 7 Dave Tarpey (Trialist 65), 8 Kane Ferdinand, 9 Jake Hyde (Paul Hodges 79), 14 Godfrey Poku (Max Kretzschmar 46), 16 Shaun Donnellan (Trialist 65)
Jack Skinner, Joe Morrison
Parry 44â€™, Diarra 89â€™
1 Alex Bass, 4 Richard Brindley, 8 Brett Pitman, 9 Oli Hawkins, 11 Josh Flint (Leon Maloney 88), 13 James Bolton, 14 Andy Cannon, 16 Haji Mnoga, 31 Matt Casey, 33 Ben Close, 38 Brandon Haunstrup
Leon Pitman, Alfie Stanley, Ethan Robb, Harry Kavanagh, Joe Hancott
Pitman 2â€™, 13â€™, Hawkins, 19â€™, 83â€™
Reporterâ€™s Man of the Match: Dave Tarpey
. Looked very sharp and caused Portsmouthâ€™s defenders many problems even when he didnâ€™t have a lot to feed off in the first half.