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Injury-hit Cards face stern test against unbeaten Bromley

Glen Harrington
10:06pm, Mon 23rd Sep 2019
Bromley vs Woking
Vanarama National League
Tuesday 24th September 2019

Woking travel to National League leaders Bromley on Tuesday evening as they look to overtake their hosts and return to the top of the table.

It’s been a challenging month for the Cards who extended a run of four successive draws with a point away to struggling Chorley on Saturday. It could have been worse too for Alan Dowson’s side who had to come from behind through Dave Tarpey and saw Ben Gerring sent off late on ahead of a frantic finish. An injury to winger Tyreke Johnson, who has been highly impressive since joining on loan from Southampton this summer, also won’t have done much to improve the mood in the Woking camp ahead of what is undoubtedly the team’s toughest test of the season so far. Despite problems with injuries and now suspensions, the Cards will take solace in the fact that their record-breaking unbeaten run has now reached double figures, whilst an eleventh game without defeat on Tuesday could see the team take another significant step towards establishing themselves at this level.

Bromley, managed by former Woking midfielder and captain Neil Smith, have enjoyed an equally impressive start to the new season – winning seven and drawing five of their opening 12 games – with Saturday’s 2-1 win over Notts County seeing them reach the head of the table for the first time. The Lilywhites have been particularly impressive at Hayes Lane where they have won four and drawn two of their first six games. Only Torquay and AFC Fylde have come away from Greater London with any points to show – drawing 3-3 and 2-2 respectively. They have, however, only kept three clean sheets so far this season and have conceded at least once in each of their last six matches – conceding two more in total than the Cards with the same number of goals scored.

It should be another great game this week and one that certainly promises goals! So please make the relatively short journey if you can and cheer on the team.

Woking Team News

Dowse will be forced to rotate his squad on Tuesday as injuries, fitness and suspensions come into play. At the back, Gerring will definitely be absent as he starts a three-match ban for his sending off against Chorley; Manny Parry, the natural replacement, could also be touch and go after colliding with the goalpost in the dying seconds of Saturday’s match. Should he not be available then Dowse will be left to choose between either Nathan Collier, Jack Cook – who could move inside from right-back – or Shaun Donnellan, fit again, who has been utilised in defensive positions at former club Maidstone. Captain Josh Casey will also needs to be careful as he is one yellow card away from a suspension.

In midfield, Godfrey Poku has also picked up four yellow cards so far this season, but should be available to continue alongside Kane Ferdinand. The boss also has new signing Christ Tiehi available should he want to add another defensive option – the Ivory Coast youth international officially joined the club on Monday following a successful trial. He was also one of the scorers in last week’s friendly win over Millwall’s Under-23 side.

Further forward, Max Kretzschmar is back as well, and could provide some much-needed attacking flair in the absence of Johnson, as well as Tarpey and Jake Hyde, who are unlikely to be risked on the artificial surface. Paul Hodges and the returning Jamar Loza will also be in the frame to start.

Bromley Team News

There are a number of names in the Bromley team who will be familiar to Woking fans – including one former Card, defender Chris Bush, as well as several other veterans of the non-league scene.

Against Notts County, Smith started with former Dagenham and Barnet keeper Mark Cousins in goal, with a defence made up of Joe Kizzi, one of the standout players for Billericay Town last season, Bush, Marc-Anthony Okoye, part of the Braintree Town promotion winning team of two seasons ago, and Sam Wood, who is in his second spell with the club following time in the Football League with Brentford and Wycombe Wanderers, as well as a year at Eastleigh.

In midfield was Frankie Raymond, a graduate of the Reading youth system who has also played at Eastbourne and Dagenham, Luke Coulson, who has impressed at the past for Eastleigh and Ebbsfleet, Billy Bingham, a summer addition from Football League side Gillingham, and Alfie Doughty who joined the club on loan from Charlton Athletic earlier this month. Up front was the dangerous Michael Cheek, who has had time at Dagenham, Ebbsfleet and Braintree, as well as Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, signed permanently from Charlton this summer and scorer of five goals already this season.

Substitutes on the day included club captain Jack Holland, Michael Klass, on loan from Southend United, Adrian Clifton, who excelled for Maidenhead United over the last two years, England C international Josh Rees who returned to the club this summer after a year with Gillingham, and recent loan signing Shawn McCoulsky, who scored the winning goal against Notts on his debut after joining from Forest Green Rovers.

Last Time Out

Woking 0-2 Bromley – National League (14th April 2018)

In the game which all but consigned Woking to relegation to the National League South, the Cards managed little more than a meek surrender against their superior opponents, who completed a routine double over their desperately disappointing hosts – matching the scoreline from the reverse fixture back in October. Jordan Higgs and Roger Johnson scored the goals either side of half-time whilst the home side had on loan goalkeeper Nathan Baxter to thank for keeping the damage to a minimum.

On the Day

The ground can be found on Hayes Lane; the postcode is BR2 9EF – a drive of around one hour from the Laithwaite Community Stadium. Bromley South Railway Station is located around a mile away from the ground. It is served by trains from London Victoria. It is around a 15-20-minute walk. On exiting the main entrance, turn left and walk down the High Street.

There is still room on the supporters’ coach which is running for the game and leaves from the ground at 4.30pm. Those travelling are requested to park in the Rear Car Park behind the KRE Stand as there will be no parking available in the front car park due to Sheerwater’s home match also taking place. Those looking to attend should contact Adam Bowyer ( or call the club shop for more information.

Ticket prices are £18 for adults, £12 for concessions, £10 for students (aged 16-21) and £5 for under-16s. Tickets can also be bought online via the Bromley website for a discount – the offer remains open until 6.30pm on the night of the game.

Next Up

The Cards have consecutive home matches coming up as we take on Boreham Wood this coming Saturday followed by a match with Wrexham seven days later.

Ravens Have Cheek to End Cards Unbeaten Run

Dan Stobbart
12:00am, Tue 24th Sep 2019
Bromley 1 Woking 0
Vanarama National League
24th September 2019

Woking's ten-game unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of league leaders Bromley in a game were a patched-together Cards side showed much tenacity and spirit to match up to their opponents but were ultimately undone by a performance from the home side that improved as the game went on. A Michael Cheek goal towards the end of the first half was enough to see 'The Ravens' move four points clear at the top and extend their own unbeaten run, with the Cards still in third place despite defeat.

Dowse had to make several changes to the side that drew at Chorley on Saturday, with Nathan Collier, Manny Parry, Shaun Donnellan, Max Kretzschmar and Jamar Loza (making his first start) coming into the side. The absentees were Ben Gerring, who began his suspension, Tyreke Johnson, ruled out by injury, with Toby Edser, Dave Tarpey and Jake Hyde also making way, the latter two omitted from the matchday squad due to the playing surface. Reverting to a 5-3-2 formation, Collier joined Manny Parry and Moussa Diarra in the centre of defence, as Kretzschmar played in behind Loza who was up top. Midfielder Christ Tiehi, signed on Monday following asuccessful trial, was on the bench.

On a cool evening, where the heavy rain showers of earlier stayed away, both sides started with intent in a quick-fire opening five minutes. Kretzschmar fed Loza down the right-hand side, and one-on-one with the goalkeeper he attempted a dink over but it was blocked out for a corner. The resulting delivery from Josh Casey found Jack Cook at the back stick but his headed effort was denied, another corner given and then inadvertently another chance, the ball hitting a couple of bodies and deflecting just wide of target.

Straight up the other end, Luke Coulson struck a half-volley from the edge of the area, palmed out by Craig Ross, who was forced into another save from the subsequent ball back in, keeping out Joe Kizzi's header.

For the opening half-hour the game continued to seesaw, albeit at a calmer tempo. Loza was leading the line well for the Cards despite being in an unfamiliar position, stretching the defence with his pace, and was supported well by Kretzschmar and Kane Ferdinand, a succession of through balls from the pair not quite leading to end product for the man recently returning to the club.

A slick Kretzschmar dummy near the half-way line allowed a forward pass to find Shaun Donnellan, who produced a nicely measured cross-field pass from the right, reached an advancing Josh Casey, who squandered a good opportunity by side footing over from close range.

The Cards had further opportunities around the half-hour mark, Loza profiting from an uncharacteristic lapse by Bromley skipper Marc-Anthony Okoye and bending a shot just wide of the far post. Kretzschmar then had a 25-yard free kick find the target but caught comfortably by Mark Cousins. Loza would then find the side netting from a tight angle after a couple of knock-ons found him at the back post.

In spite of the Cards having the better chances, Bromley did see more of the ball through the half and in the run up to the interval enjoyed spells of good possession, the lively Coulson starting to cause problems having switched flanks from right to left. Capitalising on this positive period, Bromley took the lead in the 38th minute, a Billy Bingham strike cut through the middle of the defence and received a touch off of Reece Hackett-Fairchild teeing up Michael Cheek to slide home a finish just ahead of the advancing Craig Ross. The momentum continued with Hackett-Fairchild having a shot blocked a minute later, and Cheek having a header comfortably saved.

Half-Time: Bromley 1 Woking 0

The home side began the second half as they finished the first, Coulson again the main instigator, and he nearly punished a Nathan Collier slip which allowed him to get through one-on-one with Ross, but the stopper stayed big and kept the close effort at bay. Cheek re-directed the rebound toward goal but it bobbled awkwardly between Diarra and Parry and away from danger.

Dowse responded to the increased pressure with a substitution and change of formation, Christ Tiehi coming on for his debut in place of Donnellan, the set-up changing to a 4-2-3-1, with Jamar Loza moving out to his preferred left side of attack position, Nathan Collier then living up to his ultimate utility-man status and going up front. Tiehi would sit with hard-grafting Poku, allowing Ferdinand to continue supporting the front pair.

Despite the switch, Bromley were still on top, really starting to command play in the middle of the park, matching the Cards renowned physicality, winning the second balls, linking well on the edge of the area, carving out chances to extend their lead. Hackett-Fairchild was increasingly menacing cutting in from the left and struck a rising effort perilously wide of the target from 30 yards out. Craig Ross then kept his side in the contest with great diving saves to deny substitutes Shawn McCoulsky and Adrian Clifton with a deft close-range touch and well-directed header at goal respectively. He then palmed away a stinging effort from Chris Bush struck from distance.

Save for Loza trying to make inroads a few times down the attacking left, Woking had struggled to test Mark Cousins in the Bromley goal. The introduction of Toby Edser and Paul Hodges for Kretzschmar and Poku with a quarter of an hour to go served as a final roll of the dice to try rescue something from the game, but the only way the Cards seemed likely to get back into the contest was via a set piece, of which Casey put in a couple of testing deliveries, but were ultimately dealt with. Bromley hung on to see out the game and deprive Woking of points for only the second time this season.

A frustrating night for Woking as the depleted side couldn't quite keep up the endeavour and resilience demonstrated for most of the first half, falling away to a progressively better Bromley side who could have made the win more comfortable if had not been for Craig Ross, who produced some great saves throughout the game, especially the second period. Back to back games at Kingfield now follow for Woking, with a few key personnel returning to the team, the Cards will look to get back into the winning habit again on Saturday with the visit of Boreham Wood.

Bromley 1 Mark Cousins, 2 Joe Kizzi, 3 Sam Wood, 5 Marc-Anthony Okoye (c), 7 Luke Coulson (27 Shawn McCoulsky 66'), 9 Michael Cheek, 10 Billy Bingham, 13 Chris Bush, 19 Reece Hackett-Fairchild, 25 Josh Rees, 26 Alfie Doughty (17 Adrian Clifton 70')

Unused subs: 6 Jack Holland, 11 Adam Mekki, 15 Michael Klass

Goals: Cheek 38'

Woking: 13 Craig Ross, 12 Nathan Collier, 3 Josh Casey (c), 2 Jack Cook, 6 Moussa Diarra, 4 Manny Parry, 8 Kane Ferdinand, 14 Godfrey Poku (20 Toby Edser 70'), 16 Shaun Donnellan (23 Christ Tiehi 58'), 10 Max Kretzschmar (11 Paul Hodges 70'), 22 Jamar Loza

Unused subs: 1 Sam Howes, 15 Jack Skinner

Referee: Matthew Russell

Attendance: 2358 (251 Woking Fans)

Man of the Match: Craig Ross - kept the Cards in the game in the second half with some top saves.
Bromley LINEUP
1Mark Cousins
2Joe Kizzi
3Sam Wood
5Marc-Anthony Okoye
13Chris Bush
10Billy Bingham
25Josh Rees
26Alfie Doughty ('76)
7Luke Coulson ('69)
19Reeco Hackett-Fairchild
9Michael Cheek
6Jack Holland
11Adam Mekki
15Michael Klass
17Adrian Clifton ('76)
27Shawn McCoulsky ('69)
13Craig Ross
2Jack Cook
3Josh Casey
12Nathan Collier
4Manny Parry
6Moussa Diarra
16Shaun Donnellan ('60)
14Godfrey Poku ('76)
8Kane Ferdinand
10Max Kretzschmar ('76)
22Jamar Loza
1Sam Howes
23Christ Tiehi ('60)
20Toby Edser ('76)
11Paul Hodges ('76)
15Jack Skinner

Bromley 1 - 0 Woking | Dowse Interview

Bromley 1 - 0 Woking | Josh Casey Interview

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