3:00pm - SaturdaySat 31st JulyJul 2021
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 1005

4 - 3

Chelsea U23s
Chelsea U23s

Cards looking for settled team in final home friendly

Glen Harrington
7:27pm, Thu 29th Jul 2021
Woking vs Chelsea U23s
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 31st July 2021

Woking take another step towards the start of a new National League season on Saturday when they host Chelsea’s Under-23s at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.

Alan Dowson’s team made in two wins out of three for pre-season on Tuesday evening when they defeated League One side AFC Wimbledon by one goal to nil, with new signing Tahvon Campbell coming off the substitutes bench to score the solitary strike midway through the second-half. Dowse continued to rotate and experiment with his new look team, starting with a 5-3-2 formation with Tom Champion dropping into defence alongside Joe McNerney and Moussa Diarra, before reverting to the more tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 in the second-half, with Campbell and one of two trialists on the night brought on to play in the more advanced wide positions. And ultimately it was Campbell who made the difference, scoring with a well-placed header from Inih Effiong’s cross.

After using 22 players in each of the first two pre-season games – the loss to West Bromwich Albion and the victory over Sheerwater – Tuesday represented a significant step forward in the Cards’ preparations, with many players featuring for over an hour and several players completing the full 90 minutes for the first time. Only two unsigned players featured along with two of the quartet of academy graduates – Leo Hamblin and Selim Saied – who were both late substitutes. Academy stopper Callum Backhurst was also on the bench. Dowse and his team will certainly be encouraged by what they saw against a side both higher in the pyramid and further along in their preparations for the new campaign, whilst the result furthers anticipation amongst the returning supporters.

Chelsea have a sizeable squad and will undoubtedly send a strong side on Saturday. Their Under-23 squad most notably includes former Woking striker Jayden Wareham, an academy graduate who scored a memorable brace in the comeback draw with Bromley last season, alongside his exploits in the club’s FA Youth Cup run. Other players who could feature include defender Sam McClelland, who made his international debut for Northern Ireland last month, and England youth-team midfielder George McEachran, younger brother of former Chelsea and Brentford player, Josh. One player who won’t be featuring is former Woking Player of the Year, goalkeeper Nathan Baxter, who is now on loan at newly promoted Championship side Hull City.#


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Cards come back from 3 down to win with superb second half performance

Justin Burns
8:32pm, Sun 1st Aug 2021
Woking 4 Chelsea U23s 3
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 31st July 2021

The Cards continued their strong pre-season with a third consecutive win, as they made a sensational comeback from three nil at half-time to beat Chelsea U23s at Laithwaite Community Stadium.

Dowse set Woking up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and made two changes from the 1-0 win over League One side Wimbledon on Tuesday. Tahvon Campbell came into the side on the right side of the attack in place of Inih Effiong, who dropped to the bench and Craig Ross returned between the sticks.

Chelsea U23s lined up with a familiar name in Jayden Wareham, who left the Cards in the summer and signed for Chelsea on a two-year deal and a starting side that also included Kenedy on the left wing, who spent last season on loan with Granada in La Liga.

The Cards got off to a terrible start as Wareham scored after 22 seconds after being put through on goal and dispatched a powerful right footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner.

The cards nearly equalised in the 7th minute when Ince drove forward before it came out to Casey who moved forward nicely before putting in a teasing cross from the left where Campbell expertly flicked a header that had the visitors’ giant keeper Lucas Bergstrom scrambling, but his effort struck the base of the left-hand post.

Chelsea U23s nearly made it two a minute later but Ross made a superb save from Wareham’s effort from no more than six yards out to keep the score at 1-0. However, it was 2-0 in the 16th minute after Kenedy’s free kick hit the wall and fell kindly to Thierno Ballo 12 yards out and he swept it home past Ross.

The game was getting away from the cards and it was nearly 3-0, but Ross made another great point blank save from Wareham in the 19th minute who hit a powerful volley from close range. The young forward was lively upfront on his return to the Laithwaite.

The Cards were gaining more possession and the impressive Campbell then nearly pulled a goal back for the Cards in the 22nd minute when he backed into his marker inside the penalty area on the left and fired towards goal, but his shot was deflected wide.

Campbell then teed up Max Kretzschmar in the 25th minute who tried his luck from 20 yards out but his left footed effort from range went just over the crossbar.

Woking then had a great chance in the 41st minute when Casey drove forward and put a pin point cross in from the left to the unmarked Oakley, who placed a header from 10 yards out just wide of the left post.

A few minutes later Kretzschmar’s free-kick was turned over the bar, and from the resulting corner on the right the Cards hit the woodwork for a second time when Oakley’s glancing header hit the bar as they laid siege to the visitor’s goal.

It was 3-0 in the blink of an eye in the 45th minute and the game looked dead and buried as Chelsea U23s showed their quality when Armando Broja placed caressed a delightful side footed finish with his left foot into the bottom left-hand corner, giving Ross no chance.

Half-time: Woking 0 Chelsea U23 3

The Cards started the second half with intent as they looked to get back into the game.

The trialist who had made some positive runs, made a surging run that was well cleared and from the resulting Casey corner from the right, Moussa Diarra rose the highest to head home and make it 3-1 in the 51st minute despite an attempted clearance off the line.

It was nearly 3-2 a minute later after great work from the trialist down the left who found Campbell whose right foot drive just failed to find the corner as the Chelsea defence was at sixes and sevens.

Woking were then denied what looked a clear penalty after Bashir Humphreys seemed to handle a cross in the box from the trialist, but he waved play on to the disgust of the Cards players and faithful. It was all Woking in the second half as they pushed for a second.

Wareham who had had a good game and was a threat up front, got a great ovation when he was taken off in the 61st minute for George Nunn.

In the 65th minute the Cards made it 3-2 as Campbell deservedly got on to the scoresheet when he backed into his marked before turning and powering in a right footed effort high into the net at the near post giving the keeper no chance.

The Cards just kept on coming and it was nearly level in the 72nd minute when Effiong crossed from the right and found McNerney at the back post, who just failed to find the right corner with his header back across goal.

The equaliser finally came in the 75th minute after Woking then won a penalty as Casey was fouled in the area by Josh Brooking after racing on to Effiong’s flicked header and Kretzschmar stepped up and buried a right-footed effort past Bergstrom into the left-hand corner to make it 3-3.

Chelsea had been non-existent in the second half and there was no surprise when it was 4-3 to Woking in the 82nd minute. Substitute Effiong who had come on for Oakley in the 55th minute, drove forward and crashed a shot into the corner from the edge of the box off the inside of the left post to complete the turnaround.

He shoots, he scores. Inih Effiong with the winner
He shoots, he scores. Inih Effiong with the winner
David Holmes

The victory was no more than the Cards deserved as they totally bossed the second half but it was some comeback and pleasing to see the firepower in the squad ahead of the new season after they struggled for goals last season. Campbell, Oakley and Effiong all look astute signings and will offer a lot, while at the back they look more solid with the addition of Joe McNerney.

Woking next take on Farnborough away on Tuesday which is one of three more pre-season friendlies before the National League opener away to Wealdstone.

Woking: 13 Craig Ross (1 Mark Smith 69’), 2 Kyran Lofthouse, 3 Josh Casey, 4 Tom Champion (8 Solomon Nwabuokei 55’), 6 Moussa Diarra, 5 Joe McNerney, 24 Rohan Ince, 10 Max Kretzschmar, 14 George Oakley (9 Inih Effiong 55’), 19 Tahvon Campbell (25 Leo Hamblin 85’), Trialist (7 Jamar Loza 69’)

Unused subs: Nathan Collier

Goals: Diarra 51’, Campbell 65’, Kretzschmar (p) 75’, Effiong 82’

Chelsea U23s: 1 Lucas Bergstrom, 2 Thomas, 3 Alfie Gilchrist, 4 Matt Miazga, 5 Bashir Humphreys, 6 Xavier Simons (18 Ryan 75’), 7 Jayden Wareham (16 George Nunn 61’), 8 Thierno Ballo, 9 Armando Broja (19 Jude Soonsup-Bell 69’), 10 Harvey Vale (17 Ben Elliott 66’), 11 Kenedy (15 Josh Brooking 45’)

Unused subs: 12 Smith, 13 Wardy, 14 Jili

Goals: Wareham 1’, Ballo 17’, Broja 45’

Booked: Thomas 56’

Attendance: 1005

Man of the Match: Tahvon Campbell – a constant menace up front and caused all kinds of problems with his close control and sharp turns and deservedly got on the scoresheet. He looks a great signing for the Cards.

Joe McNerney Interview

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