Dover Athletic 1 Woking 4
Vanarama National League
Monday 18th April 2022
A conclusive and comfortable scoreline and performance secured the three points on the road to cease the run of defeats, as Sarll’s men return to winning ways. This result was the perfect way to pay respects to and remembrance for club legend Andy Turner, who we sadly lost this weekend, after doing so much for the club he loved.
With Sarll seeing this final run in as a squad assessment period, changes were anticipated and so they came, with there being six in total. At the back Mark Smith came in between the sticks for the rested Craig Ross, with Moussa Diarra coming back in for Champion. Rohan Ince returned from suspension and up top, Jamar Loza and Nicke Kabamba returned to the starting XI, along with Jack Roles, who earned a starting berth having impressed last time out against Torquay. Nwabuokei, Effiong, Oakley and Anderson all dropped to the bench.
Whilst contending with a tricky playing surface, it was clear right from the whistle that Sarll had asked his team to be on the front foot, with an early flurry of corner coming within the first 5 minutes. Soon after, the pressure told, with a deep throw in from the right propelled into the box, presenting Max Kretzschmar with a shooting chance. This was blocked, followed up by a scramble between Rohan Ince and Dover’s Henry Woods, who got the final touch before the ball hit the net to take the visitors ahead.
The Cards’ back four, bolstered by the return of Diarra, had a comfortable first period, withstanding only half chances from the hosts; these mainly came via Wilkinson and the somewhat lively Gyasi. However, astute tracking back and marksmanship meant Smith wasn’t ever truly tested. At the other end Johnson, Kretzschmar and Roles proffered strong linkup play that saw Johnson and Kretschmar shoot wide.
Nicke Kabamba grew into the game as he took his starting chance well and provided further joined up attacking with his fellow front men. In the 26th minute another Woking attack driven by Kretzschmar had the defence and shot stopper Andre committed, meaning his coolly played pass found Kabamba in space. Woking’s number 18 couldn’t miss and finished into an open goal, to claim his second of the season.
The final five minutes saw attacks at both ends, Loza worked himself neatly into the box, squared the ball across on his left foot, but couldn’t reach Johnson who was waiting on the far post for a certain goal, only to be intercepted 4 yards out and pushed away to safety by Myles Judd. Seconds later, Dover worked their first real attack of the half down the left, aided by McNerney letting the ball over bounce, as well as Gyasi to get the wrong side of him. He made it into the Woking box, went down, appealed to the man in the middle Lloyd Wood, but failed in earning a penalty; instead, he clocked up a yellow card for simulation and a Woking free kick.
Half-time: Dover Athletic 0 Woking 2
The second 45 commenced in much the same way as the first, as Andy Hessenthaler’s doubtlessly earnest team talk to his Dover side went out of the window thanks to plenty of attacking prowess from the visitors. After further pacy attacks from Loza, Roles and Max continuing to keep the home side’s backline busy, just before the 50th minute mark Tyreke Johnson charged through the middle, knocking it out left to Loza, who hit the by-line, drilled it across goal for Kabamba to claim his second of the game, at the far post.
This period of play really highlighted the visiting frontline proved far too much for The Whites, who simply couldn’t handle them.
Minutes later, Woking struck on a counterattack, leading to there being 5 attackers to one Dover defender. Roles with the ball tried to cut inside but couldn’t make the pass reach a teammate to capitalise. The ensuing play led to a corner in front of the travelling support, Johnson took it from the right, it floated over to the back post targeting the potent head of Diarra, which after being parried, fell to David Longe-King who finished conclusively in the top left corner with power on his left boot.
Around the hour mark substitutes began to change the flow and threat in the game and changes on both sides saw feet coming off gas somewhat. This may well have led to what could have been perceived complacency following slightly sloppy Woking defending whilst holding a high line permitted substitute George Nikaj to run at them and slot home on his left foot from the edge of the box, despite Mark Smith’s efforts to close him down.
The final ten minutes provided chances to hit five for Woking to match last season’s score in this fixture firstly courtesy of Roles who floated a cross in from the left for Anderson who got a powerful head to the ball, only for Andre to get a hand to it and tip over for a corner. This was followed by a terrific chance for Kabamba to claim his hat-trick, when Nwaboukei’s strong run at the defence allowed him to thread it through to Kabamba, thwarted only by Daniele Collinge who cleared from off the goal line.
Darren Sarll will have been very happy to have got this performance and goal tally from a changed side, which rose to his challenge. It provides a good base to work on for the final four fixtures of the season and with their next fixture being in front of the BT cameras, they’ll be confident to continue in this manner next time up against promotion-chasing Wrexham.
44 Alexis Andre Jr, 23 Daniele Collinge, 16 Harry Ransom (39 George Nikaj 77’), 6 Jake Goodman, 30 Myles Judd, 32 Arianit Krasniqi, 18 Henry Woods, 2 Will Moses (35 Jack Nelson, 46’) , 28 Luke Wilkinson (14 Marshall Wratten, 60’), 29 Luke Baptiste, 33 Michael Gyasi
1 Josh Bexon, 24 Harrison Byford
Gyasi 44’, Ransom 76’, Judd 88’
1 Mark Smith, 3 Josh Casey ©, 5 Joe McNerney, 6 Moussa Diarra, 7 Jamar Loza, 10 Max Kretzschmar (8 Solomon Nwabuokei, 70’), 11 Tyreke Johnson, 18 Nicke Kabamba, 20 Jack Roles, 22 David Longe-King (16 Louie Annesley, 77’), 24 Rohan Ince (23 Jermaine Anderson, 57’)
9 Inih Effiong, 14 George Oakley
Woods (OG) 6’, Kabamba 26’, 48’, Longe-King 55’
Man of the Match: Nicke Kabamba
: Having impressed the boss off the bench in previous matches, he grabbed his chance with today’s starting position and demonstrated his threat and true goal scoring ability courtesy of his strong positional play in attack.