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Cards face Shots in FA Cup derby

Glen Harrington
2:12pm, Fri 23rd Oct 2020
Aldershot Town vs Woking
Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round
Saturday 24th October 2020

After an exciting week of news off the pitch, Woking will have to turn their attention to matters back on it, as they travel the short distance to Hampshire to face local rivals Aldershot Town in this year’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round.

The Cards fine start to the season continued last Saturday as a battling performance saw Alan Dowson’s side pick up a commendable point at home to last year’s play-off contenders FC Halifax Town. In fact, the result might have been even better for the hosts, had Ben Dempsey been able to put away the best of the Woking chances, but a draw was certainly a fair result. Dowse will be hoping to see that momentum continue this weekend as he looks to secure the first derby day win of his managerial reign – after a narrow 1-0 defeat in the two side’s only meeting last season. He’ll also be hoping to improve on a disappointing FA Cup outing last season, when the Cards fell at this stage to Ebbsfleet United. That result aside, Woking’s recent record in the competition is excellent, having famously reached the third round and a tie with Premier League Watford in 2018/2019, as well as the second round in each of the previous two years, going out against Football League sides Peterborough United and Accrington Stanley respectively.

Aldershot also fell at this stage of the competition last season, losing 4-3 at Bromley, and have only advanced beyond the first round once since 2012/13, when they reached round four. They’ve had a mixed start to their National League campaign, losing back-to-back matches against Hartlepool United and Sutton United (both 2-1), before rebounding with a 5-0 win at Dover Athletic and a 2-2 draw at Eastleigh. Things would have been better for the Shots were it not for conceding late goals in all but one of their matches so far, with goals after 86, 85 and 90 minutes effectively costing them four points. They have played a game less than the Cards so far as Macclesfield Town were due to be their second opponents of the season, leaving them six points adrift of their neighbours at this early stage.

Woking – Team News

Dowse is yet to confirm the status of Woking’s five loan players – Malachi Napa, Slavi Spasov, Saul Shotton, Ben Dempsey, and Sam Cartwright – who will need permission from their parent clubs to play in this fixture. If any of them prove to be unavailable, then the boss may need to significantly rotate his side for the first time this season. However, he will be reassured by the depth of the squad he’s assembled this year, with the likes of Tyler Reid, Tommy Block and Connor Hall awaiting their chance, whilst academy players such as Jayden Wareham and Leo Hamblin have been in fine form for the club’s youth sides.

Aldershot Town – The Boss

The Shots are coached by Danny Searle, who took over ahead of last season, following the departure of Gary Waddock. Searle was expecting to be managing in National League South, but saw his side returned to the National League following the club’s late reprieve. He endured a challenging first campaign in charge but ultimately steered the club clear of the relegation places, finishing in 19th place, and of course earned the local bragging rights with his win at the Laithwaite Community Stadium. He was previously manager of Braintree Town during the 2018/19 season.

One to Watch

There are a couple of former Cards to watch out for, striker Chike Kandi and midfielder Toby Edser, whilst former Leeds United, Fulham and Aston Villa forward Ross McCormack earned plenty of headlines following his summer move. However, the one to watch is undoubtedly winger Craig Tanner. The former Reading academy graduate, who also has Football League experience from loans at AFC Wimbledon and Plymouth Argyle, signed midway through last season from Scottish Premiership side Motherwell. He scored four times in 12 appearances to help secure the Shots’ National League status and has already netted twice more this campaign.

Last Time Out

Woking 0-1 Aldershot Town – National League (6th August 2019)

The Cards were confident as they came into the game off the back of a 2-0 away win at Dagenham three days earlier, but they were wasteful in this one, as they spurned chance after chance and were burned on the counterattack. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong scored the only goal and the Shots held on to secure all three points.

Next Up

Woking are back in action on Tuesday evening when they face a trip to Boreham Wood. That’s followed swiftly by another away match at newly promoted King’s Lynn Town next Saturday.

Max speed: Kretzschmar goal eliminates neighbours and ends winning streak

Ben Musgrove
1:00am, Sat 24th Oct 2020
Aldershot Town 1 Woking 2
FA Cup
Saturday 24th October 2020

Contrary to the Sky Sports highlight reels and wistful recollections of years gone by, one of the appeals of the FA Cup is the grittiness that characterises many a tie. Aldershot manager Danny Searle suggested after the game that people want to see desire and passion “perhaps more than anything else.� It’s not about the quality of the game, but the qualities of the people that want to win it – and this afternoon delivered that in spades.

In a game played in conditions that would make a polar explorer wince, a freak goal from Max Kretzschmar would secure Woking’s first win over their local rivals since January 2016 and put to bed a streak of five successive losses against the Shots. An early goal from Mo Bettamer threatened to keep the record rolling, before debutant Josh Davison and Kretzschmar put the gloss on a determined, driven Woking performance to flip the tie in their favour.

The Woking side saw two debutants, with Davison – only announced an hour or so before kick-off – and fullback Tyler Reid making their first competitive starts for the Cards. Matt Jarvis also made his first start of the campaign. The opposition squad included a familiar face in Toby Edser, a stalwart performer for Woking in the club’s successful 18/19 season.

The first five minutes threatened to fall Woking’s way, with a couple of long Jack Cook throw-ins claimed by Mitch Walker despite a crowded box. New signing Davison also put pressure on the Shots keeper, running down a sixty-yard clearance to block a clearance.

But the first real opportunity of the game opened the scoring, and it wasn’t in Woking’s favour. Aldershot would enjoy their best spell of the tie in the first twenty minutes, with left fullback Shadrach Ogie causing problems down the Cards’ right-hand side. It was Ogie who was given the opportunity to cross following some great recycling of possession by the Aldershot midfield, and forward Mo Bettamer was the man eluding both Shotton and Cook to bundle the ball past Ross.

The Shots continued to threaten down the left-hand side without carving out clear opportunities. The 451/433 system of the home side made the most of McCormack’s hold-up play and the superb passing range of James Rowe, who dropped deep to protect his defenders while dictating much of Aldershot’s play. The Cards for their part were superb at drawing free kicks but lacked the delivery that has been a cornerstone of Woking’s good form so far this season, despite Aldershot’s inability to effectively defend them in their opening fixtures.

The early substitution of John Goddard for an injured Malachi Napa (pictured above) – with the former appearing on crutches at the end of the tie – did indicate a change in Woking’s attacking fortunes. A deflected header from Davison could’ve opened the scoring, while Charlie Cooper wasted a direct free kick from close range.

Aldershot had their turn too, with Craig Ross making great saves from Craig Tanner and Ross McCormack. McCormack, Aldershot’s highest-profile summer signing, was the second to be substituted before half-time, replaced by ex-Card Chike Kandi.

But it would be Woking who scored next, moments before half time. An Aldershot goal kick fell into midfield, with Cooper doing superbly to hold of his marker and adjust his body to an awkwardly bouncing ball. His clever header brought out the England international in Matt Jarvis, with the wide man slotting a first time through ball into Josh Davison almost in on goal. The Charlton loanee had a lot to do and did it superbly, shielding the ball from two markers before slotting past the onrushing Walker.

Josh Davison scores on his debut; pic: David Holmes

Half-time: Aldershot Town 1 Woking 1

Aldershot’s lead was nearly re-established with the first attack of the second half. Having failed to make the most of a veritable surfeit of set pieces in the first half, a long-range free kick from Craig Tanner was knocked through to substitute Chike Kandi to bullet a header past Ross – only for the goal to be ruled offside.

Following Jack Cook’s attempt do the same – bulleted past the post with Walker beaten – the game fell victim to the weather and to the evenly matched sides on the day. Possession was sacrificed in order to go long and win territory, with biblical wind and rain eliminating short passing moves and driving up the foul count. Goddard, Ben Dempsey and substitute Max Kretzschmar all picked up yellows in a fifteen-minute spell, with Kandi lucky not to see the same for a messy aerial foul on Josh Casey.

With that said, it was the Cards who began to wrestle some sort of control of the game. Barring a dangerous header from Whittingham, Aldershot wouldn’t enjoy a shot in anger in the last fifteen minutes of the tie.

And then we experienced one of those bizarre, slightly surreal FA Cup moments. A long ball from midfield picked out Max Kretzschmar on the right wing, just about ahead of his marker and attempting to burst in on goal. His headed touch, trying to bring the ball down in front of him, was clearly too close to the goalkeeper… only for both Mitch Walker to slip, and the ball to stick in the soaked turf. Walker half-rose to his feet, only to slip for a second time, and Kretzschmar was able to bullet his finish past the sprawling keeper as he attempted to recover. 1-2

Having dominated the early periods of the game only to find it slipping away from them at the death, Aldershot didn’t really recover. The introduction of Toby Edser threatened a disappointing narrative for Woking fans, but the midfielder contributed little more than a cheap yellow card with moments to go; fellow sub Franck Nouble, who terrorised some defences in pre-season, was introduced as an outball on the left wing but barely managed a touch.

In an empty stadium, the final whistle brought audible screams of delight from the Woking players, and a session of ‘handbags’ between Woking and Aldershot players and staff that absolutely represented a breach of social distancing. But that’s not what the tie will be remembered for; rather, it represents a milestone for a Woking team that, under Alan Dowson, has consistently improved and developed. The first defeat of local rivals in almost five years is indicative of that.

Woking: 13 Craig Ross; 19 Tyler Reid, 2 Jack Cook, 6 Saul Shotton, 3 Josh Casey ©; 4 Charlie Cooper, 18 Ben Dempsey, 8 Kane Ferdinand; 20 Malachi Napa (John Goddard 23’), 11 Matt Jarvis (Max Kretzschmar 60’), 25 Josh Davison (Slavi Spasov 84’)

Unused subs: 7 Dave Tarpey, 12 Nathan Collier, 21 Tommy Block, 31 Mark Smith

Goals: Davison 44’, Kretzschmar 77’

Bookings: Goddard 47’, Dempsey 59’, Kretzschmar 65’, Spasov 84’

Aldershot Town 1 Mitch Walker; 25 Shadrach Ogie, 4 Jamie Sendles-White, 6 Kodi Lyons-Foster, 2 George Fowler; 7 James Rowe (Toby Edser 82’), 8 Josh Rees, 12 Alfy Whittingham, 27 Craig Tanner (Joel Nouble 84’), 9 Mo Bettamer; 44 Ross McCormack (Chike Kandi 40’)

Unused subs: 13 Ryan Hall, 18 Reece Wylie, 23 Killian Colombie, 29 Joe Rabbetts

Goals: Bettamer 6’

Bookings: Lyons-Foster 84’, Edser 88’

Referee: James Durkin

Attendance: N/A

Man of the Match: Josh Davison. The debutant forward was a hard-working outlet for Woking at all times, winning headers he had no right to win, stealing balls from the toes of his marker and slotting home a superb equaliser borne out of hard work and composure.
Aldershot Town LINEUP
1Mitch Walker
2George Fowler
25Shadrach Ogie
4Jamie Sendles-White
6Kodi Lyons-Foster
12Alfy Whittingham ('86)
7James Rowe ('81)
8Josh Rees
27Craig Tanner
44Ross McCormack ('41)
9Mo Bettamer
13Ryan Hall
23Killian Colombie
29Joe Rabbetts
18Reece Wylie
20Toby Edser ('81)
14Joel Nouble ('86)
10Chike Kandi ('41)
13Craig Ross
19Tyler Reid
3Josh Casey
6Saul Shotton
2Jack Cook
18Ben Dempsey
4Charlie Cooper
8Kane Ferdinand
20Malachi Napa ('26)
11Matt Jarvis ('60)
25Josh Davison ('85)
31Mark Smith
12Nathan Collier
21Tommy Block
10Max Kretzschmar ('60)
22John Goddard ('26)
7Dave Tarpey
14Slavi Spasov ('85)

Aldershot Town 1-2 Woking | Dowse Interview

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