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3:00pm - SaturdaySat 30th JanuaryJan 2021
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Stockport County
Stockport County

Cards looking to upset high-flying Stockport

Glen Harrington
9:08am, Sat 30th Jan 2021
Woking vs Stockport County
Vanarama National League
Saturday 30th January 2021

The Cards start an unenviably tough run of fixtures, which also includes two trips to second-place Sutton United and hosting league leaders Torquay United, when they take on fifth-place Stockport County in the National League on Saturday.

Woking may not have recorded victory against Bromley on Tuesday, but it certainly will have felt like it to many associated with the Cards, as 17-year-old striker Jayden Wareham scored his first senior goals for the club, bagging a late brace to secure a 2-2 draw. It also ended a run of four league games without a goal, dating back to the win over Hartlepool United in mid-December. Despite their respective league positions, the Cards will be quietly confident of causing an upset against Stockport, having chalked up four wins and a draw in the five previous meetings between the two clubs.

Stockport have had, on paper at least, a great start to the season with 28 points from their first 16 games. The two teams directly above them, Hartlepool, and Altrincham, have played two and four games more respectively and only have two extra points. Sutton are three points ahead of the Hatters having played the same number of games, whilst Torquay are a further nine points down the road, albeit having played three games more. Despite their good form, expectations were sky-high at Edgley Park this season, and that gap to the top has been enough to see long-serving manager Jim Gannon depart. New manager Simon Rusk takes charge of his first game today.

Woking – Team News

Dowse will be hoping that captain Josh Casey is fit to return, after missing Tuesday’s game with a shoulder injury, sustained during the home draw with Maidenhead United. If he is available, it looks likely that the boss will have a straight choice between Kyran Lofthouse, deployed as an auxiliary left-back on Tuesday, and Jack Cook for who misses out, with the Ben Gerring – Moussa Diarra centre-back pairing now having been restored. Further forward, fans will be intrigued to see whether Jayden Wareham will be rewarded with his first National League start, or whether the Cards will continue with the one-man forward line led by Jonté Smith. Malachi Napa will be pushing for a first start in his second-spell with the club after another impressive cameo on Tuesday.

Stockport County – The Boss

Today marks Simon Rusk’s first game in senior football management. He has spent the last six years as the Under-23 coach at Brighton & Hove Albion, where he has enjoyed great success, including winning promotion to the top division of Premier League 2, and reaching the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy. As a player, he made over 250 Football League and National League appearances, playing for Boston United, York City, and Crawley Town, twice winning the non-league’s top division. He was forced to retire due to injury in 2011 at the age of 29.

One to Watch

Midfielder John Rooney is without a doubt one of the National League’s most feared players. The younger brother of former England captain Wayne, John started his career with Macclesfield Town, before moving to the MLS with New York Red Bulls. But it was at Chester where he really started to establish himself, before spells with Wrexham, Guiseley, and Barrow, with whom he won promotion to the Football League last season. He has scored 10 goals in all competitions this season, including in the draw with Boreham Wood last weekend.

Last Time Out

Woking 1-1 Stockport County – National League (22nd February 2020

Two goals inside the opening 10 minutes saw the two clubs share the points at the Laithwaite Community Stadium. Danny Lloyd opened the scoring after five minutes, only for Alex Wall to equalise five minutes later. Both sides pushed for a winner, but the game ended level. In the reverse fixture, the Cards won 3-1 at Edgley Park, thanks to a brace from Jake Hyde and a goal from Dave Tarpey. Frank Mulhern scored the late consolation.

Next Up

The Cards have a double header with Sutton United, playing in the FA Trophy next Saturday before the league game three days later. Both games are away from home.

in association with LV BET

Cards outclassed by Hatters

Brian Caffarey
6:29pm, Sat 30th Jan 2021
Woking 1 Stockport County 4
Vanarama National League
30 January 2021

The Cards were outclassed by a rampant Stockport County side this afternoon, who were being led for the first time by former Brighton and HA U23 manager, Simon Rusk. Woking got off to the worst possible start, conceding the opening goal with less than three minutes on the clock. Thereafter, it was virtually one-way traffic in the first half as a very experienced and accomplished Hatters side enjoyed nearly all the possession, adding further goals from John Rooney and Macauley Southam-Hales before half-time. The Cards pulled a goal back shortly after the break through Moussa Diarra, the only real threat to County’s defence, but any hopes of a revival were snuffed out by a fine finish by Alex Reid in the 65th minute.

The sad news of John Mortimore’s death was marked by one-minute’s applause before the game. What a shame that Woking fans were not present to mark the passing of one of the Club’s greatest-ever players, whose astonishing career encompassed being capped as an England Amateur International and notching over 250 games for Chelsea before going on to successfully manage Benfica.

Woking’s team sheet included a few surprises, with Tyler Reid making his first appearance for some months, Tommy Block coming into midfield and 17-year-old Jayden Wareham deservedly being given his first start, alongside Jonte Smith, after his two midweek goals at Bromley. Charlie Cooper and Max Kretzschmar moved to the bench, with no place in the sixteen for Ben Dempsey. With Josh Casey still injured, Dowse switched to a central defensive three of Ben Gerring, Diarra and Jack Cook, with Reid and Kyran Lofthouse as wing backs.

The new defensive formation foundered immediately. Gerring couldn’t prevent Ryan Croasdale from getting in a low cross, which Connor Jennings, arriving unnoticed at the back post, turned in.

County proceeded to play with supreme confidence, passing the ball around adroitly in spite of a pitch which rapidly cut up as a result of the recent heavy rain. Woking found themselves chasing shadows, rarely able to lay a glove on their opponents. John Rooney almost caught Craig Ross out with a long-range chip in the 10th minute before Wareham, who impressed on the few occasions he was able to get on the ball, headed wide, with the assistant referee nevertheless flagging for offside.

Woking continued to look vulnerable, especially on the flanks, where Gerring and Cook found it hard to keep pace with the lively Mark Kitching and Croasdale. A Gerring error led to a good save by Ross with his legs. The Woking keeper then had to parry away a Jennings effort after the County striker turned inside Cook.

Midway through the first half Diarra managed to get on the end of a John Goddard free-kick but Reid, following up, mishit his attempted shot.

By now Woking had switched to a more conventional 4-4-2, with Cook at right back and Reid pushed into midfield, where Kane Ferdinand and Tommy Block had been struggling. County ought to have doubled their lead on 33 minutes when Kitching again outpaced Gerring to put in a fine cross, which Alex Reid could only head down into the ground and up into Ross’s hands. But Woking’s hopes of getting to half-time without suffering more damage were dashed a few minutes later. Kitching, outpacing Cook this time, pulled back a superb cross, which Rooney fired low into the corner, giving Ross no chance.

County continued to pile on the pressure, with Ross parrying away a Rooney free-kick and saving a shot from Reid. In added time Kitching escaped down the Woking right once more, firing in a cross, which was initially missed but then rammed home by Macauley Southam-Hales in spite of desperate attempts to block by the Woking defence.

Half-time: Woking 0 Stockport County 3

It was no surprise to see Dowse make a change at half-time, with Matt Jarvis replacing Reid. The Cards started quite brightly, winning a couple of free-kicks and then two corners, from the second of which Diarra rose superbly to head in to make the score 1-3. Might this signal an unlikely come-back? Briefly, hopes rose as Slavi Spasov came on for Smith and Gerring almost got on the end of a Diarra flick-on.

But Woking’s goalscorer then blotted his copybook at the other end with a poor defensive header which allowed Jennings to play in Reid, who finished sharply past Ross in the 65th minute to restore County’s three-goal cushion.

There was now no real prospect of Woking getting back into the game but they looked less shell-shocked than in the first half, with Jarvis appearing to steady the ship somewhat on the right flank and Cook defending well. It was the latter who headed wide as Jarvis dinked the ball in shortly after County had scored.

But it was Stockport who continued to look the more likely side to add to their goal tally. A quick break from a Woking corner saw Rooney fire wide in the 77th minute. Shortly afterwards substitute Jordan Williams sliced through the Woking rearguard only to shoot wide of Ross’s far post.

Woking at least managed to force a few more corners in the remaining period and, on the stroke of full-time, produced a neat interchange between Jarvis and Cook, with the latter’s shot requiring a rare save from the County keeper. But that was as good as it got before the referee blew the final whistle on a very disappointing afternoon for Woking players, fans and management. In truth, the difference in class looked huge on this showing and, if Stockport continue to play this well, they will surely reinforce their challenge for promotion.

Woking: Craig Ross, Kyran Lofthouse, Ben Gerring, Moussa Diarra, Jack Cook, Tyler Reid (Matt Jarvis 46), Kane Ferdinand, Tommy Block, John Goddard (Malachi Napa 74), Jayden Wareham, Jonte Smith (Slavi Spasov 55)

Unused subs: Charlie Cooper, Max Kretzschmar
Goal: Moussa Diarra 52

Booked: Tyler Reid, Moussa Diarra

Stockport County: Ben Hinchcliffe, Sam Minihan, Liam Hogan, Lois Maynard, John Rooney (Ash Palmer 85), Connor Jennings, Mark Kitching, Jordan Keane, Macauley Southam-Hales (Richie Bennett 68), Ryan Croasdale, Alex Reid (Jordan Williams 78)

Unused subs: Joshua Barnes, Jamie Stott

Goals: Connor Jennings 3, John Rooney 37, Macauley Southam-Hales 45, Alex Reid 65

Booked: Jordan Keane

My Woking MOTM: Jack Cook (pictured), caught out once or twice for pace, but a generally solid performance on a day when few Woking players impressed

Referee: Scott Tallis
13Craig Ross
19Tyler Reid ('46)
16Kyran Lofthouse
2Jack Cook
5Ben Gerring
6Moussa Diarra
21Tommy Block
8Kane Ferdinand
22John Goddard ('74)
23Jayden Wareham
9Jonté Smith ('55)
4Charlie Cooper
10Max Kretzschmar
11Matt Jarvis ('46)
20Malach Napa ('74)
14Slavi Spasov ('55)
Stockport County LINEUP
1Ben Hinchliffe
2Sam Minihan
14Mark Kitching
4Liam Hogan
16Jordan Keane
17Macauley Southam-Hales ('68)
6Lois Maynard
8John Rooney ('85)
18Ryan Croasdale
10Connor Jennings
19Alex Reid ('78)
21Josh Barnes
5Ash Palmer ('85)
15Jamie Stott
11Jordan Williams ('78)
9Richie Bennett ('68)

Woking 1-4 Stockport County | Dowse Interview

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